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The History of the Program

The Related Studies Program in American Culture began in 1943 as a cooperative effort of the departments of History, English, and Political Science, as well as the departments of Economics, Sociology, and Anthropology. The major organizer and creator of the program was English professor Helen Lockwood, who served as the first chair of the Committee of American Culture Advisors, which informally ran the program. Students were free to choose courses from a list of approved classes and were required to distribute their classes among the participating departments. The number of students in the program ranged from three to 14 over the next several years. In 1957, as a part of the general movement in academia away from multidisciplinary study, the program was eliminated.

In 1972 the program re-emerged as a multidisciplinary Program in the Changing American Culture due to the efforts of English professor John Christie. The new program used faculty from various departments of the college to teach courses offered under the specific auspices of the program, including a seminar in American Culture, Special Studies courses, a senior project and colloquium, and an "Issues for the Seventies" lecture series. A panel of advisors and a steering committee administered the program. In 1976 the program changed its title to the American Culture Program; it has added a number of courses since its revival.