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Ursula Rothrock
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
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American studies celebrates 60 years at KU

Tue, 09/17/2013

LAWRENCE – Sixty years after Chancellor Deane Malott called for a new academic program to “cut across the existing departmental and group barriers,” the Department of American Studies celebrates its history at the University of Kansas.

The weeklong 60th anniversary event, Reflecting Forward, celebrates the department’s accomplishments while exploring the critical issues of tomorrow. Reflecting Forward will provide public events including distinguished speakers, film screenings and open discussions. These free events will be hosted Monday, Sept. 23, through Friday, Sept. 27.

"We are thrilled to have this opportunity to honor our past, and to remind the campus and the community of the important, exciting and diverse scholarship that our students and faculty engage in every day," said Henry Bial, chair of the Department of American Studies.

David Roediger, the Kendrick C. Babcock Professor of History at the University of Illinois, will be the event’s keynote speaker. Roediger is a leading writer on race and ethnicity. His will deliver the keynote address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the Alderson Auditorium of the Kansas Union. The event is free and open to the public. The lecture is also sponsored by the Office of the Provost as part of the Bold Aspirations Lecture Series.

The department expects to welcome back alumni to the Lawrence campus as part of Reflecting Forward. Alumni will join in discussions, events and receptions hosted by American Studies.

A full list of events is available here.

During the 1953-1954 academic year, KU introduced the American civilization major as part of the call to strengthen the liberal arts education at the university. That major was the beginning of what became the American studies department at KU. Since then the Department of American Studies has been an interdisciplinary mainstay at KU focusing on community, identity and social justice in American culture, politics and society.

The Department of American Studies is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which encourages learning without boundaries in its more than 50 departments, programs and centers. Through innovative research and teaching, the College emphasizes interdisciplinary education, global awareness and experiential learning. The College is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit.



Take a peek at the events that transpired over the course of last year. We'll be posting more photos as we get closer to ringing in 2015. Stay tuned! What was your favorite moment? Tell us in the comments and share the photos that matter to you. #RockChalk
#exploreKU at our beloved Marvin Hall. (insta: sydstuder) http://t.co/6oFI0JF54p
Curiosity sparks KU paleontologist Chris Beard’s quest for man’s ancient cousins When he’s not scrutinizing ancient primate fossils in his KU lab, world-renowned paleontologist Chris Beard (http://bit.ly/1w3TQSj) is out stalking human evolutionary ancestors in remote corners of Libya, Turkey, China, Myanmar, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Egypt, Tunisia, or Kenya. Beard, who came to KU as a Foundation Distinguished Professor, has a passion for being out in the middle of nowhere and making a discovery — “There’s nothing better than that. It’s fabulous.”


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times