What does it mean?

Amer·i·can·ist – noun \-kə-nist\

:  a specialist in American culture or history

di·ver·sion – noun \də-ˈvər-zhən, dī-, -shən\

: the act of changing the direction or use of something : the act of diverting something
: something that people do because it is enjoyable, entertaining, or pleasant*
: something that takes attention away from what is happening

*DISCLAIMER: The primary use of “diversion” at The AD will emphasize the second entry above. While it is possible that blog entries might be a diversion of the first nature, and may take a tangential characteristic, it will never take away from “what is happening” – unless what is happening is boring and lame, and a diversion is necessary for the moment.

What is American Studies?

American Studies takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of American culture. In other words, an Americanist chooses to look at a variety of elements: literature, visual culture, popular trends, music, economics, history, politics, etc, to gain a broad understanding of American culture. We identify themes, patterns and trends, while continuing to recognize the essential diversity. This may seem like a daunting task, and it would be for anyone trying to place one identity or one characteristic to the entire nation. In reality, Americanists seek to find the threads (themes) that tie the nation together. The great thing about American Studies is that we are able to utilize cultural texts, symbols, performances, historical events, documents, landscapes, and artifacts as evidence in the problems we try to solve.

In this way, The Americanist Diversion cannot promise to continue one idea during the existence of the project, but will entertain an assortment of questions, problems, interests, and topics. Everything is on the table. Though, environmental humanities and the intersection of gender, race, and ethnicity is the speciality.



  1. Melinda Borrell says

    I have a degree in communications, but my field of study – how the US government portrayed race and civil rights issues to foreign audiences (1952-76). You can find it FREE on line at
    It’s 634 pages . . . . But you might find it interesting to see how the US Information Agency used film and images to set up what was “normal” for US life in the 1950s, and how the USIA evolved its portrayal of African Americans during the Civil Rights years.
    I’m friends with your Mom, Linda, and hope to keep up with what you are doing. I have been able to use my dissertation, finally, to teach African American studies at Univ. of Maryland University College, where I’m an adjunct professor of communications and teach most comm classes.

    • Sarah Ruth Wilson says

      Thanks, Melinda! Sorry in the delayed reply. It seems like your dissertation would be very helpful to me, so I will check it out down the line. Thanks, again. How do you like teaching at UM?

      • Melinda Borrell says

        I like it very much because the students are so bright and involved in interesting work or life plans. The military students also teach me a great deal.



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