American Studies was first published in 1948. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Although the immediate subject of this book is American Studies, its ultimate concern is with the broad pattern of higher education in the United States. The program of American Studies uses the materials of the American scene to advance a contemporary movement in education, and to modify a tendency of mankind to live predominantly in one of the three tenses: past, present, or future. The movement in education is an attempt to supplement, but not replace, extreme academic specialization with a synthesis of knowledge.
Mr. McDowell, who has made firsthand observation of procedures in more than thirty colleges and universities in all parts of the United States, discusses curriculums and courses in American civilization throughout the country and the American Studies program at the University of Minnesota, which is the most extensive and inclusive existing today. In summing up, he analyzes the relationship of American Studies to regional culture, national loyalty, and world society.
The book is addressed to all who are concerned with American civilization or American education, but most particularly to those concerned with both. The discussion, though dealing chiefly with the liberal arts college and the graduate school, also has relevance for the general public and for high school teachers and administrators in higher education, for college teachers of the social sciences and humanities, and for graduate students and mature undergraduates about to choose a major field or already engaged in a study of American culture.