As a final requirement in lieu of a thesis, the University will sponsor each semester
an institute meeting for one day on a topic central to American Studies. Candidates
for degree are expected to attend and participate. A portion of the comprehensive
exam will be devoted to the issues addressed in the two institutes held during the
year of matriculation.
Typical topics for these semester institutes: The Puritan Origins of American Constitutionalism;
Religion in America; The Bill of Rights; Literature and the American Founding; Natural
Rights and the Constitution; Is the American Regime Necessarily Capitalist?; Hawthorne's
America; Melville's Quarrel With His Country; Tocqueville's Democracy, Jefferson versus
Hamilton; Slavery, the Progressivists; the Wilsonian Revolution; Contemporary Thought
on the Founding; Equality: Then and Now; American Dramatists; Liberty: Then and Now;
William Faulkner; the Anti-Federalists; the Southern Dissent; Willmoore Kendall on
the American Political Tradition; John Dewey and American Education.