American Cultural Studies pursues the interdisciplinary analysis of cultural processes, both past and present. While it focuses on the United States, it situates the U.S. in a wider transnational context. ACS explores the various ways that institutions, values and practices shape, maintain, and challenge relations of power.
Such discussion interrogate realities and discourses that have been deemed natural in order to expose their socially contingent character. ACS courses are designed to elucidate what has been rendered socially invisible. By design, American Cultural Studies students are grounded in African American Studies and critical theory. Furthermore their foundation in critical race theory enables them to apply these methods of inquiry to the study of several ethnicities that constitutes the body politic. Studies interrogate the meaning of belonging, privilege, and exclusion. In 2022 the American Cultural Studies department formally changed it's name to American Studies.