The African American scholar Dr. Cornel West calls America a "monument to the genius of ordinary men and women," a place where "hope becomes capacity."
America, Dr. West says, is always changing, always becoming. The American Culture and Literature Department at Bilkent agrees that "America" is not a single thing.
To some, it refers exclusively to the United States. To others, it refers to the Americas as a hemisphere.
To others still it recalls the original indigenous peoples of America. Our study of "America" invites students to see
diversity as one of Americas greatest strengths. As a result of its geographical, ideological and cultural diversity,
and because of its influence on much of the world, the study of America can be relevant for all of usno matter where we come from.
Throughout the world at this very moment, young people are watching the same videos on YouTube, listening to the same music on their
Apple iPods, and downloading the latest Hollywood movies. U.S trade agreements and foreign policy for better of for worse have global
ramifications that eclipse those of other nations.
The Department of American Culture and Literature at Bilkent University invites students to engage "America" broadly and comparatively, studying U.S. history, politics, literature, culture, and media from a variety of perspectives. In so doing, our department aims to provide students with the special skills needed for succeeding in an increasingly interconnected world. Consent and dissent, accommodation and struggle, community and difference, free market ideology versus increased inequality: these critical issues are at the heart of American Studies in the twenty-first century. Yet, these are issues that go beyond U.S. bordersto study American Culture and Literature is indeed to address global concerns.
As is the case with American Studies Departments in North America and Western Europe, the Department of American Culture and Literature at Bilkent University covers a wide, interdisciplinary range of literary, economic, cultural, political, social and historical issues. Our courses demand a large amount of reading and writing in English, thereby assuring that our graduates leave the department with a fluency in English not matched by other academic disciplines. But beyond this, our courses provide our students with the clear analytical and critical thinking required to navigate their personal and professional worlds.
The diversity of topics offered, and the skills acquired through such study, provide a gateway into many other disciplines. Our students have gone on to graduate study all over the world, often with scholarships, in areas such as History, Business, International Relations, Theatre, Sociology, Political Science, and Cultural Studies. But studying American Culture and Literature at the undergraduate level doesnt only prepare students for an academic career. Graduates of our department currently work in business, media, marketing, tourism, and government. Employers have recognized that a degree from American Culture and Literature creates a highly-skilled and highly-motivated employee.
"America" continues to change and defy simple categorization. Our students will not be taught a single definition of "America." Instead, graduates of American Culture and Literature will end up defining "America" for themselves.
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