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These dissertation abstracts are submitted to the American Studies Association by American Studies graduate programs and by recent American studies Ph.D.s. These abstracts are added to the ASA website on a continuing basis. These pages contain only abstracts of dissertations.
The ASA does not archive full dissertations. University Microfilms (UMI) should have copies of most dissertations completed in the United States available for purchase. Note: You may have to access the UMI web site through your institution’s library. For more information about American Studies programs, please consult the Guide to American Studies Resources and Directory of Graduate Programs in American Studies.
The third edition of The American Indian in Graduate Studies: A Bibliography of Theses and Dissertations is now available online. Members of the Native American community, scholars and other interested people are encouraged to use the database without charge. For more information, please visit http://education.nmsu.edu/aigs/aboutus.php.
We also conduct an annual survey of American Studies and Ethnic Studies graduate programs to gather information about recent Ph.Ds. Participating graduate programs submit names and dissertation titles of recent graduates to the ASA, and we invite these graduates to submit their dissertation abstracts to us. Only the author may send us the dissertation abstract for publication on these web pages.
If you are unable to find your dissertation listed on this site and have not sent it to us yet, you may do so at any time (see bottom of page).
A dissertation abstract needs to give a reader a sense of your argument in a very short form, no more than 250-300 words. It should begin by introducing the general area of study in which your topic intervenes and then make clear the central argument of your work in the first two sentences. It should provide a sense of the methodological approach that you use in analyzing your topic and provide a compelling yet very brief description that lets readers know why your study is worthwhile and what is distinct about it. Avoid quoting other scholars in your abstracts, providing excessive detail, and listing topics chapter by chapter. It is most important to provide an overview in a succinct fashion.
Sample dissertation abstract:
From the French Fry to the Sushi Bar: The Museum of American Food
In fall 2004, the Museum of the American Food opened on the Washington Mall to much public fanfare. The product of several decades of negotiation, the Museum aims to tell the history of the nation through the history of the American diet and its relationship to American agriculture and immigration histories. Through analysis of government proceedings, archival documents, and interviews with museum curators and staff, this dissertation investigates the complex political process through which the museum came into being, the conflicting narratives presented in its exhibitions, and, ultimately, the ways that the museum attempts to contain cultural and ethnic difference while appearing to embrace it. This dissertation argues that in its attempt to tell a multicultural history of the American diet, the museum actually reinscribes a particular narrative of American history that privileges particular traditional narratives about the American heartland. As a form of pedagogy, the museum’s exhibitions construct particular kinds of citizens with a set of regional types (through its examination of regional cuisines) and its uncritical presentation of government nutritional guidelines. This study illuminates the ways that the national museum context of the Washington Mall inevitably incorporates multiculturalism and immigrant narratives into traditional stereotypes of citizenship and nationhood.