As an interdisciplinary field of concentration, American Studies reflects the concept of general education as opposed to specialization within departments. American Studies broadens the student’s exposure to American history, American literature, and American political science. The focus is on the main currents of America’s intellectual heritage, not on the minor tributaries. The aim is a synthesis of knowledge, an intellectual process whereby the student conducts intensive study with considerable flexibility.
American Studies at Hillsdale College is not pursued in isolation from parallel influences. An interdisciplinary focus requires a concentration on the problems of diffusion and the transmission of ideas and behavior from one culture and generation to other cultures and generations. American civilization is firmly set within the context of Western civilization, with Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman roots. American Studies encourages students to recognize the roots of American order and heritage and to see the interrelationships between various disciplines in the curriculum.
“To seek for truths in history. . . distinctly is not to indulge in dreamy visions of unborn ages, or to predict the inevitability of some political domination. Rather, the truths of history, the real meanings, are to be discovered in what history can teach us about the framework of the Logos, if you will: about the significance of human existence: about the splendor and the misery of our condition. In this inquiry, there must be joined with the historical discipline certain insights of philosophy and psychology. For historical consciousness necessarily is entwined with the mystery of personal consciousness.” Russell Kirk
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