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American Studies alumni "era tour" kick off - February 7th, 7pm

Plan on joining us for the first of a series of Alumni Panels for American Studies Majors on February 7th at 7pm via zoom.  A panel of American Studies graduates from the 2020s "Era" will be sharing their insights and experiences since leaving NU.  They will also discuss some of the creative and academic work they have worked out outside of their jobs.  2022 Alum Jack Jordan is spearheading this exciting event.



alumni Rhaina cohen February 28th 6pm - Trienens Forum

Join American Studies alum Rhaina Cohen, class sof 2014, as she shares about her new book  The Other Significant Others, and discusses her career path since leaving Northwestern.  A light dinner will follow.  Co-sponsored by Medill and Department of Psychology.



Alumni Discussion with Rebecca schieber

October 10,  7-8pm (zoom)

Rebecca graduated Northwestern University in 2015, majoring in American Studies and Political Science.  Throughout college, she spent the school year volunteering on the Dold for Congress campaign north of Evanston and summer interning in D.C. for Republican groups and conservative think tanks.

Rebecca now lives in D.C. and leads Targeted Victory's General Consulting Division, running some of the most competitive campaigns in the country and focusing on electing a new generation of moderate Republicans. In 2020, she led multiple winning Congressional races, including Young Kim (CA-40) and Michelle Steel’s (CA-45) upset wins against incumbent Democrats. She prides herself in embracing cutting edge, modern campaign tactics to win seats that the national media writes-off, and in 2022 she successfully defended 2 of the 18 Republican-held seats that Biden won. This cycle, she is leading multiple Senate and Congressional campaigns and her firm is running digital programs for consequential races across the country, including Tim Scott for President. 

Before joining Targeted Victory, she worked on a variety of public affairs campaigns for corporations and associations looking to expand their grassroots impact in D.C. She got her start in politics serving as Carly Fiorina’s bodywoman during her presidential campaign and as a Field Director for Senator Pat Toomey's 2016 election. 



American Studies 2023 seniors 






Alumni discussion and dinner with josh Levin 

AMST class of 2012

may 18th 6-7pm AMST Lounge

Joshua Levin is a Staff Attorney in the Criminal Legal System & Policing Project at the ACLU of Illinois. He represents individuals and community organizations in civil rights cases that seek transformational changes to policing in Illinois. In particular, he fights to end the deep-rooted racism, brutality, and lack of accountability in the Chicago Police Department. Prior to joining the ACLU, Joshua was a litigation associate at Jenner & Block, where he represented clients in trial and appellate courts, in matters involving complex issues of statutory and constitutional law. Joshua clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. He received his JD from Yale Law School (‘15) and his BA in American Studies and History from Northwestern University (‘12). 



Professor Connie y. chiang (Bowdoin college) "environmental justice denied:  Japanese American testimonies and the campaign for redress"

April 19, 4pm Kresge Seminar #2351

This presentation examines Japanese American redress, a campaign that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s in which Japanese Americans pushed for a formal apology and monetary compensation from the federal government for their unjust incarceration during World War II. It hones in on a critical element of the redress campaign: the 1981 hearings held by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). During the hearings, Japanese Americans testified to the economic losses and emotional traumas of incarceration, but many testimonies were also infused with stories of environmental inequities. While Japanese American redress was fundamentally a fight for justice, it was also a fight for environmental justice. Japanese Americans’ losses and suffering did not unfold in an environmental vacuum. Instead, they were deeply embedded in the landscapes left behind and the landscapes where they spent the war.

Born in the Struggle Film Viewing and Discussion with Film Maker Dr. Kamasi Hill and Professor KB Dennis Meade February 13 at 7pm


Raising the floor film viewing and discussion with film maker  January 31 at 6pm


The city of Evanston has just implemented a guaranteed income program!  Please come to learn more about Universal Basic Income and how it has worked in other communities.  Also featuring a "sneak preview" of the film "Nixon's Reversal," the bizarre story of Richard Nixon's brief flirtation with guaranteed income.


Alumni Career Discussion about Reproductive Freedom and Gender Equity on November 28th, 2022 with American Studies alumni, Sarah Lipton-Lubet 


American Studies Majors had a unique opportunity to hear from American Studies Alum, Sarah Lipton-Lubet (class of 2002), Executive Director of Take Back the Court on Monday, November 28th.  Professor Kate Masur will join in the discussion as well.

For the better part of the last two decades, Sarah has been an advocate for reproductive freedom, gender equity and progressive change. Most recently, she served as Vice President for Reproductive Health and Rights at the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she led a skilled team in designing and implementing a bold vision for advancing access to abortion through legislative and regulatory advocacy, public education and culture change. Previously, through roles at the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Reproductive Rights, Natural Resources Defense Council and Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, Sarah worked to advance the rights of pregnant workers, push back against religious refusals, and promote government accountability. Working against the right-wing takeover of the courts has been a cornerstone of her career.

Sarah graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University with a BA in American studies and earned her JD from Yale Law School. She clerked for the Honorable Nancy Gertner of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the Honorable Richard Paez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

other events





We had a great Fall Quarter outing to the city to learn more about the Summer Riots of 1919 in Chicago.  Students went to the DuSable Black History Museum and then saw the 1919 production at Steppenwolf Theatre followed by a dinner and talk back with Professors Boyle and Cadava.  We are looking forward to our next outing winter quarter.



Spring QUarter 2022 Seminar for Majors Project

Professor Robert Orsi's Spring Quarter Seminar for Majors class, titled "An Emerging Guidebook to Apocalyptic Living," produced a "zine" that can be viewed here.  The seven students in the class decided to embark on a group project that would present to readers outside the classroom some of the ideas and terms discussed over the weeks about the urgent times we live in, especially concerning the threat of climate disaster.  Some of the ideas and terms came from books read and included in the "zine" are brief discussions of each of the course readings; others, the students and Professor Orsi came up with in the course of their conversations.  There was a genuine desire among the students to both register this moment in time, within the history of the climate crisis, and to leave a document for incoming classes of American Studies students with the idea that future majors may want to pick up the conversation for themselves and move it beyond where it was left.  The "zine" ends with searching reflections on grief and hope by each of the students. 


Fulbright Scholar

Keerti Gopal, class of 2021 is in Taiwan as a Fulbright Scholar.  Read more about her here.




Colloquium on Ethnicity and Diaspora November 2021

November 12, 2021


Care & Migration: A Critical Conversation
With Noelle K. Brigden (Marquette University) and Andrea J. Pitts (UNC-Charlotte).
November 19, 2021
5:00 pm CST via Zoom:

This year, the Colloquium on Ethnicity and Diaspora (CED) presents: "Care: As Keyword and Praxis." This year-long speaker series will focus on exploring care as a category of analysis across domestic and global topics. As we enter the second full academic year amidst a global health crisis, inequalities of race, gender/sexuality, labor and nation remain acute. Increasing public attention to border security, policing, and climate change have instigated robust calls for care and mutual aid across governments, institutions, businesses, communities, and individuals. As care becomes a placeholder for signaling moral and ethical commitments and practices, this year’s Colloquium for Ethnicity and Diaspora will interrogate care as a key concept and technology across varied social and political formations.

Panelists will draw from their own research to engage in conversation around the questions raised by this year’s theme, such as: What rhetorical, ideological, and affective work does care as a concept and praxis evokes? How do systems of race, capital, gender, and sexuality operate through notions and material practices of care? How can care be deployed toward both liberatory and oppressive ends and how do scholars and activists navigate such risks?

Join us as we welcome these scholars and begin grappling with these pressing lines of inquiry.

CO-SPONSORED BY: Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities | African American Studies | American Studies | Anthropology | English | Center for African American History | Critical Theory Cluster | History | Philosophy | The Sexualities Project at Northwestern | Latino and Latina Studies Program | Department of Spanish and Portuguese
For questions, please contact:

Cordelia Rizzo,

Candice Merritt,

Colloquium on Ethnicity and Diaspora April 2021

April 29, 2021

Colloquium on Ethnicity and Diaspora (CED) - Spring 2021

April 29, 2021
5:15 pm CST via Zoom
Register here:

For the CED's ongoing conversation series on crises of global health, climate, and systemic racial injustice, Northwestern alum Dr. LaCharles Ward, postdoctoral fellow at University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication, will talk with Faheem Majeed, artist, curator, and nonprofit administrator who creates works that focus on institutional critique and community collaboration. Janet Dees (Block Museum of Art) will moderate.

Co-sponsored by Northwestern's Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, Black Arts Initiative, Center for African American History, Center for Global Culture and Communication, African American Studies, American Studies, Art History, Critical Theory Cluster, English, Gender and Sexuality Studies, History, Latina and Latino Studies, Radio/Television/Film, Religious Studies, Rhetoric and Public Culture, Screen Cultures, Sociology, The Graduate School, and Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences

Environmental Policy and Culture Talk

April 29, 2021


May 18, 2021
3:00 pm CST
Register here:

Indigenizing and Decolonizing Environmental Justice
Dina Gilio-Whitaker, Indigenous Author and Activist

Presented by Northwestern's Program in Environmental Policy and Culture and co-sponsored by American Studies, Religious Studies, Institute for Policy Research, Global Health Studies, Anthropology, Medill School of Journalism, Institute for Sustainability and Energy, Center for Race and Ethnic Studies, Environmental Sciences, and Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience.

Edmund Perry Lecture 2021

April 29, 2021

The 2021 Edmund Perry Lecture

May 3, 2021
7:00 pm CST via Zoom
Register here:

White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America
Dr. Anthea Butler, Associate Professor of Religion, University of Pennsylvania

Presented by Northwestern's Religious Studies, American Studies, Political Science, and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Law in Motion Lecture 2021

April 29, 2021

The 2021 Law in Motion Lecture

May 13, 2021
4:00 pm CST via Zoom
Register here:

Fighting to Win: The Roles of Lawyering and Law Reform in Liberation Struggles
Dean Spade, Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law; creator of the mutual aid toolkit at; and author of Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next)

Presented by Northwestern's Center for Legal Studies, American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Political Science, the Sexualities Project at Northwestern, and Sociology

Nonprofit and policy alumni career discussesion April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

An informal panel with recent American Studies grads will highlight their career paths working in the realms of policy, nonprofit organizations, and NGOs. The event is geared to current American Studies majors and will feature discussion and Q&A with the alumni. The panelists are:

sarah-logan-168x210.pngSarah Logan '13.  As a senior communications officer on the Global Policy and Advocacy team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Chief of Staff for the Gates Policy Initiative, a 501(c)(4) focused on federal lobbying efforts to support global health and development, Sarah manages public affairs strategies for the foundation and directs outreach with federal officials, including the White House, Congress, and federal agencies. She previously served at the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a senior advisor in the office of public affairs, coordinating Treasury's private sector engagement and external communications. She came to the Treasury Department after working in scheduling and advance at the Obama for America headquarters in Chicago.  

christina-powers-168x210.jpgChristina Powers '13.  In her role as the Global Director of Data & Impact at Generation, Christina leads a team dedicated to advancing the organization's research; evaluation; and data collection, management, and analysis efforts. Prior to Generation, Christina worked in management consulting at McKinsey & Company, where she also helped launch McKinsey Academy, the firm's global hub for client leadership development and capability-building. Christina began her career working with multiple early-stage education technology initiatives—including K-12 media production at Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and online learning programs at higher education institutions such as George Washington University and the University of California, Berkeley. 

parv-santhosh-kumar-168x210.pngParvathi "Parv" Santhosh-Kumar '10. At StriveTogether, Parv leads the implementation of a range of capability-building strategies to accelerate better and more equitable outcomes toward economic mobility across the Cradle to Career Network. She also serves as managing director for StriveTogether’s Chicago office. Before joining the team, Parv served as associate director of education policy and programs in the Office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. She developed and implemented action plans aligned with top priorities from cradle to career, including launching Chicago City of Learning, managing the mayor’s $36 million commitment to expanding early learning and supporting the incubation of Thrive Chicago, a StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network member.

Alumni panel discusses careers in Media and Journalism on January 5, 2021

January 5, 2021

American Studies alumni working in the fields of Media and Journalism will share their career trajectories, followed by Q&A and discussion with current American Studies majors. Articles/podcasts from each alum will be pre-circulated. The panelists:

Rhaina Cohen headshotRhaina Cohen '14 is a producer and editor of narrative podcasts at NPR, working across the shows Embedded, Rough Translation, and Invisibilia. She previously covered the social sciences as a producer for the podcast Hidden Brain and worked for ABC News' This Week With George Stephanopoulos. She periodically writes for other outlets, including The Atlantic and The Washington Post. Prior to entering audio journalism, Rhaina completed a master's in comparative social policy at Oxford, where she was a Marshall Scholar.

Selected work:

In the Heat of the Moment: How Intense Emotions Transform Us, Hidden Brain podcast

What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Center of Life?, article in The Atlantic

Carl Ganter headshotJ. Carl Ganter '87, Medill '91 is an award-winning journalist, reporter, and broadcaster (and former photojournalist for Time, Rolling Stone, and National Geographic). He co-founded Circle of Blue, the nonprofit news and science organization that reports on the world’s freshwater crises. His American Studies thesis was "Lives in Rust—East Chicago: A City in the Shadow of Steel,” which, over three years, documented the decline of the nation’s most industrialized city. As a Medill grad student, his master's project helped exonerate David Dowaliby, who had been wrongfully convicted of murder. He has served as vice-chairman of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Water Security and received the Rockefeller Foundation Centennial Innovation Award.

Selected work:

Circle of Blue website

Water Crises Are a Top Global Risk, article on The World Economic Forum website

Joe Neff headshotJoe Neff '82 is an investigative reporter at The Marshall Project, a nonprofit newsroom that covers criminal justice and immigration. He previously worked at The News & Observer of Raleigh, NC and the Associated Press. He was a Pulitzer finalist; his journalism prizes include the Robert F. Kennedy, the Molly Ivins, the Sigma Delta Chi, and many others.


Selected work:

Writing for the The Marshall Project

You can also find his greatest newspaper hits here


American Studies alumna Amanda Litman, co-founder of Run for Something, in conversation with program founder Carl Smith on October 19, 2020

October 13, 2020

In a targeted event for American Studies majors, program alumna Amanda Litman '12 will join Carl Smith, founder of the American Studies Program, for a conversation about political activism, the 2020 U.S. general election, and the role of Litman's American Studies training in life since college. 

Amanda Litman worked for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and later co-founded the organization Run for Something. In 2018, she was named to the Politico 50 list of politics influencers, and she was one of Fortune magazine's 2020 40 Under 40 in government and politics. She wrote her American Studies senior project on advertisements for female political candidates.

Carl Smith is Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and Professor of History, Emeritus, at Northwestern. His most recent book is Chicago's Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City. 

Northwestern Responds to COVID-19

March 11, 2020

In response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, President Schapiro announces sweeping changes for Spring Quarter 2020. Spring Break extended for one week, Classes to Begin on Monday, April 6th.  Read the full letter from President Schapiro.

2020 AMST Informational Session

February 12, 2020
Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 

Each winter quarter the Program in American Studies hosts an informational session for prospective students. First and Second year undergraduates curious about what makes American Studies so unique are invited to speak to current AMST majors to learn about the major's requirements, the senior thesis process, and the collaborative academic community. This year, the informational session was held immediately subsequent to the quarterly group advising session so that prospective majors could meet current majors from across all three years.

Roe at the Goodman Theatre

February 2, 2020

"You didn’t give a damn about Roe the person—all you cared about was Roe the case!”

        -Norma, Act II, Scene II

American Studies students and Gender and Sexuality Studies students attended a production of the play Roe at The Goodman Theatre in the Chicago Loop. At dinner beforehand there were many discussions about the history and cultural significance of the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling when Amy Partridge, who was teaching a course on reproductive rights, and several other professors provided context and personal perspectives on a policy debate which has galvanized American politics for decades.


AMST goes to see Harriet

November 4, 2019
Monday, November 11th, 2019 

Students, accompanied by Professor Kate Masur, saw the biopic of Harriet Tubman entitled "Harriet" at the local movie theater. Afterwards, students gathered at a local establishment to discuss the historical themes of the film and compared it to other ways the topic has been handled in popular media.

Welcome Back party for Academic Year 2019-20

October 2, 2019

Welcome Back! Come enjoy a light dinner with the Program in American Studies. Meet the new students, share your stories about your summer, eat some food, and help welcome Professor Shana Bernstein as the new Director: Wednesday, October 2nd 2019  |  5:30pm - 7:00pm.