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.
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.