Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
OnderwijsOpleidingenBacheloropleidingenAmerican Studies
Header image American Studies

American Studies

Research Approach and Themes

The research carried out by the Department of American Studies, by and large, mirrors the main concentrations in our educational agenda. At the heart of our research efforts, and hence of our curriculum, are three separate themes:

  • Early American culture and history
  • Contemporary socio-political issues
  • Popular culture and media studies

Given the nature of American Studies, the key distinguishing feature of our research as well as in our teaching is that it is truly interdisciplinary in approach in which the individual researchers actively work across different disciplines and methodologies as opposed to, for example, research on American topics carried out in the History Department, which would generally reflect historical approaches only.

The same is true for our teaching agenda: individual teachers are required to be versatile in more than one discipline as all major survey courses combine a range of disciplinary areas, approaches, methodologies, and data sets. Aligned with our teaching practices, our research is generally problem-driven as well as theory-driven. That is to say, we explore specific issues that are controversial, contested, or under-investigated, and then seek to resolve these issues through the generalization of our findings, incorporating elements associated with both the structure and the process of the phenomena we study. Among the themes we are currently exploring are:

  • Contemporary migration and mobility issues in the Americas
  • Alliance cultures in the modern media landscape
  • Cultural memory and popular culture
  • Circum-Atlantic reconstructions the era of the eighteenth-century Revolutions
  • Transnational perspectives on the idea of “America” and the Americas (both in historical and contemporary contexts)

Research Team and Projects

Within the Department of American Studies, research is facilitated by five senior researchers and four PhD students. Please visit the Faculty Roster and the Faculty Projects sections of the Departmental website to view a listing of current American Studies faculty members and their individual research initiatives.

  • Testimonial van

    I fell in love with the U.S. and its (political) culture

  • Testimonial van

    You do not pay for your degree; you are expected to earn it.

    The choice to study in Groningen was not easy, but it was a decision that has changed my life and moulded me into an ambitious, active, and adaptable student. I wanted to experience something very different to what many of my peers would experience. I have developed into a more independent student and grown very mature at a young age through my time in Groningen.

    Academic and personal supports for international students at the University of Groningen have only developed and improved since I first arrived in 2012. From the International Student Office to monthly faculty borrels (a term you will become familiar with and happy to hear after hard day’s work) to the endlessly friendly and approachable staff members, your exciting new educational journey will be made more manageable and enjoyable throughout your time as a student.

    However, you are still expected to be independent and innovative. By paying considerably less tuition fees than the average university student in the United Kingdom, you will sometimes feel the pressures to give more of yourself in your studies, and you will soon realise why the University of Groningen remains one of the top universities in the world: do not let the relatively low grade admission requirements fool you. The dropout or failure rate in my course, for instance, is high. You do not pay for your degree; you are expected to earn it. In the long-term, however, this is hugely beneficial, and something that employers will greatly appreciate.

    Read more about Daniel and his student life in Groningen.

  • Testimonial van Meike Robaard

    The program has changed my perspective on the world around me

    What brought me to Groningen was both its atmosphere, which immediately made me feel at home, and the interdisciplinary program that American Studies offers. The program allows me to combine many of my interests, such as art, sociology, history and cultural theory. The courses challenge me to ask questions, be critical, and to think creatively. Through discussions with fellow students and instructors, lectures and readings, American Studies in many ways has changed my perspective on the world around me. Additionally to American Studies, I got the opportunity to start the Honours Program in Philosophy, which I think will be a great addition. Studying American Studies has both deepened my understanding of phenomena, as well as broadened my horizon.

    – Meike Robaard
  • Testimonial van David Romkes

    A variety of new ideas and theories

    ‘American Studies is being given a set of tools and finding out which one you can work with best. Because of its diverse and interdisciplinary program, American Studies presents its students a range of topics that require different methods to approach. By going through all the courses and exploring the different subjects, you will find what approach works best for you and what area of study you want to focus on. American Studies will challenge your beliefs and open up your world to a variety of new ideas and theories that allow you to take part in ongoing academic discussion and create your own academic voice. You will find your tool and carve your own path.’

    – David Romkes
  • Testimonial van Sean Beech

    Vital skills and competences

    After my graduation I decided to move back home to the UK and seek employment. Within a month of returning I was employed with the local government in Manchester as part of a large team responsible for managing west Manchester’s social housing stock. In my role I manage a team of 8 customer facing staff who offer advice and support on effectively managing their tenancies and providing advice on housing options. The transferrable skills and generic competences I acquired during my studies have proven to be vital in making my career a success. For instance, writing effective reports, analyzing data, and considering different perspectives have been a crucial part of my role. In the future I hope to complete a Master’s program at the University of Manchester and further develop my career in Britain’s social housing sector.

    – Sean Beech
  • Testimonial van Daniëlle Feiken

    Plenty of ways to explore your interests

    One of my favorite aspects of American Studies is the flexibility of the program. You can adapt the studies to your interests by choosing research subjects and elective courses. Whether you want to write about Beyoncé’s Black Panthers homage at the Super Bowl for the “Art of Protest” course, or finish your elective course on the Constitution with a case study on Guantanamo Bay, it’s all possible! Additionally, American Studies offers a great exchange program, which allows me to study at the University of Central Florida next year.

    There are also plenty of ways outside of the studies to explore your interests. For example, I am the chairwoman of the Academic Committee of our study association EPU. Together with three other students, I organize lectures, conferences, and career events. I also get to explore my interest in public speaking by giving presentations about my studies at high schools and Open Days of the university. These are all great ways to strengthen your skills, expand your social life, and make your student experience an unforgettable one!

    – Daniëlle Feiken
  • Testimonial van Student Ambassador Megan Maartens

    What I really enjoy is that we are well taught in academic writing, which, in combination with the other knowledge I acquire during this study, will greatly improve my perspective on the world.

    About Megan

    My name is Megan Maartens and I am a second-year bachelor American Studies student. Before I started American Studies, I took a gap year during which I worked as student-assistant at the Amsterdam University of Applied sciences, took the pre-course for the school of music in Amsterdam, and traveled through New Zealand for three months. After half a year I was eager to study again, so I decided to move to Groningen and study American Studies. Even though I decided not to go to the school of music, singing and writing songs is still my passion.

    Why American Studies

    The United States have always been a part of my life because a large part of my family lives there. The first time I went to the U.S., I was impressed by how different its culture was from the Netherlands. As I grew older and went there more regularly, I started noticing the cultural differences. My social media was flooded with news about cultural events but also social issues. I had no idea how to process this information until I found American Studies. The study teaches me how current social problems came to be, but also how that particular U.S. culture has emerged in the first place. One other aspect I really enjoy is that we are well taught in academic writing, which, in combination with the other knowledge I acquire during this study, will greatly improve my perspective on the world.

    Read more about Megan Maartens and why she chose to study American Studies in Groningen!

    Questions? Send Megan an e-mail!

    – Student Ambassador Megan Maartens
printView this page in: English