Social Thought & Analysis finds new home in American Culture Studies

Social Thought & Analysis (STA), an interdisciplinary degree program in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, has moved to American Culture Studies, said Henry L. “Roddy” Roediger III, Ph.D., the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and dean of academic planning in Arts & Sciences.

Created in the early 1990s to enhance integrated social science teaching and research at the university, “the program has provided an excellent undergraduate major, fostered faculty collaboration, sponsored seminars and workshops, and brought many interesting visitors to campus,” said Roediger.

These important activities will continue, he said, but in a new way, through collaborations with the American Culture Studies Program in Arts & Sciences. In the future, the university community may expect even wider representation of social science perspectives across disciplines, Roediger added.

The expansion of American Culture Studies, the emergence of International and Area Studies and the developing program in urban studies are all providing the opportunity to fulfill STA’s original mission, said John R. Bowen, Ph.D., the Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor in Arts & Sciences and chair and professor of Social Thought & Analysis.

“The merging of STA and American Culture Studies is a sign of the vitality of social science research at Washington University and the growing belief across the campus that some of the most exciting opportunities for developing new knowledge require social science methods and insights,” said Bowen.

Roediger said that the move resulted from faculty discussions last spring to broaden the scope of American Culture Studies’ offerings in the social sciences and to incorporate STA’s central role in the new scholarly profile.

In the new arrangement, STA constitutes a concentration within American Culture Studies, similar to the Immigration and Ethnic Studies track. The reconfigured program includes close collaborations with the Center for Urban Research and Public Policy and its emerging urban studies major, as well as with International and Area Studies.

“Because American Culture Studies requires an additional major in a traditional discipline, this change will also strengthen ties with academic departments and make for a truly multidisciplinary, integrated experience for students and faculty,” said Roediger.

While the transition is taking place, current STA majors will be able to fulfill their original plans, and all required STA courses will be offered until those majors have graduated, said Bowen.

Future students will have access to a wider range of resources and opportunities, with faculty and staff in American Culture Studies providing organizational and advising support. Students interested in such opportunities should contact Margaret L. Brown, Ph.D., academic coordinator for American Culture Studies, at