Shelley Fisher Fishkin

Shelley Fisher Fishkin

Director of American Studies

I love helping students explore how a broad range of perspectives can give us insight into who we are as Americans, how the ideals that animate the Declaration of Independence relate to becoming our best selves, and how an American Studies degree can take you almost anywhere. I guide the Program as a whole, and teach “The American West,” “Mark Twain and American Culture,” "Race and American Memory,” and “Social Justice and American Literature.“ I’ve written or edited many books and articles that foreground issues of race and racism and that recover marginalized voices. As former American Studies Association President and founding editor of the Journal of Transnational American Studies, I’ve championed transnational perspectives on the field. (Want to work on the journal? Contact me!)


Judith Richardson

Program Coordinator

As an American Studies Program Coordinator, I especially enjoy getting to know majors (and prospective majors), and helping them design study plans and discover courses and other opportunities that fit their unique interests.  With fellow staff, I also play a part in event and curriculum planning for the program. As faculty, I teach a range of courses on American literature and culture, including “American Women Writers, 1850-1920,” “Tales of Three Cities: N.Y. Chicago, L.A.,” and “The Lost Generation," as well as the American Studies core courses "American Literature and Culture to 1855" and "Perspectives on American Identity."

Elizabeth Kessler

Elizabeth Kessler

Program Coordinator; Honors Coordinator

As an American Studies Program Coordinator, I am always excited to talk with students about their individual interests, discoveries, and future plans, in particular how majoring in American Studies can deepen their understanding and open up new possibilities. I also have the incredible privilege of working with American Studies honors students as they write their theses. As a lecturer, I teach courses on 20th and 21st century American visual culture, especially in relationship to science and technology. These include: “Starstuff: Space and the American Imagination,” “Silicon Valley: A Cultural History,” and several courses on American fashion. I also teach “Perspectives on American Identity,” one of the core requirements for American Studies majors and minors.

Amy Potemski

Academic Services Administrator

As Academic Services Administrator, I am happy to answer any questions about requirements for majoring and minoring in American Studies, about participating in the Honors Program, or regarding degree progress for currently declared students. To make an appointment email or go directly to

Nancy Child

Program and Finance Assistant