American Studies News

The Declaration of Independence. The United States Constitution. Temple University. What do they all have in common? Each calls Philadelphia home, and the birthplace of the nation is the perfect setting for students to pursue American Studies degrees. The study of America is the study of us, and we’re not even close to finished making new headlines. As our students continue learning about the moments that gave birth to this great nation and saw it grow, they’ll continue America’s tale here at Temple and wherever they go next. Read their stories below and please contact us if you have an American Studies story of your own you think we should tell.

Logan Circle during the Pope's visit to Philadelphia in 1979.

American Studies major Angela Indik found some hidden gems this summer interning with the Philadelphia City Archives to research the 1979 visit of Pope John Paul II.

Students consider Eastern State Penitentiary’s haunted attraction

This semester, Seth Bruggeman, assistant professor of history and American studies, is sending his students to prison — to the Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP) Historic Site, that is.

There his students will get a first-hand look at a common problem faced by museums and historic sites across the country: How to offer historically accurate representations of the past while at the same time engaging with their audience and staying financially afloat.

On the fate of the USS Olympia

American Studies professor Seth Bruggeman was interviewed by WHYY's Newsworks about the future of the USS Olympia, an 1895 warship that's been docked in Philadelphia for almost 50 years. He notes that the USS Olympia has held a special place in local tourism -- not simply by tourists, but rather by everyday community members: