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American Studies

American Studies

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Senior Project

Every year, American Studies seniors do a collaborative capstone project for the major. This project is not simply a senior thesis. The final product may take the form of a written document but it also may be a website, an online museum exhibit, a grant proposal, a documentary film, etc. Students are required to go public with their research by presenting it to other students, faculty, and the wider community.

Recent Projects:

2014 Michael Sam and the Question of American Exceptionalism

2013 Vanderbilt the Possible: Imagining a Sustainable Campus
Students created a vision of a greener Vanderbilt in time for their 25th college reunion. This vision can be viewed here.

2011 Civil War Monuments and Memorials
Students led a road trip of Civil War sites in Middle Tennessee and created countermemorials to Confederate Memorial Hall.

2010 Dirty Little Secret: The Kingston Coal Ash Spill
Students created a documentary film in collaboration with the Vanderbilt Cinema and Media Arts program.

2009 Down But Not Out . . . Stories of the Economic Crisis
Students (in groups) created digital stories that were combined to form this video project.

2007 What’s in a Name? The Controversy over (Confederate) Memorial Hall
A short documentary film detailing the history and issues concerning the University’s decision to remove “Confederate” from the name of Confederate Memorial Hall.

2006 Hurricane Katrina: Before and After, Inside and Out
A collaborative thesis that examines the racialization of the disaster, the rhetoric of religion and social change after Katrina, post-Katrina tourism, urban renewal, and educational issues in a post-Katrina New Orleans.