The United States is Australia's single most important economic partner: The US is also the largest investor in Australia. Australia and the United States concluded a Free Trade Agreement in 2005 which is likely to result in a higher degree of economic integration between the two nations. United States is Australia's most important strategic partner. High level intelligence sharing is a defining feature of the Australian-American alliance. By any standards, the United States is an important society to understand, regardless of your major or field of interest.
The United States is also one of the world's most "multi" multi-cultural societies. A population of over 300 million - making the US the third largest nation in the world in terms of population - is split into a bewildering array of races, ethnicities and identities. California - the largest state in the US and itself the world's sixth largest economy - has no majority culture: it is a state of minorities. If you want to understand how a multi-cultural society works and functions, the United States is again an obvious model.
This is not to mention American music, film and literature which are the focus of several topics in the American Studies teaching program. There is the Civil War to reckon with in the past and major elections every two years to contemplate and understand. All of these topics, and much more, are caught in American Studies at Flinders.
Career orientation and graduate profile
A graduate in American Studies should be prepared for a career in public administration, private enterprise, or education. They will have an advantage in any commercial or public sector activity where a knowledge of American attitudes and assumptions is of value to an employer.
A graduate in American Studies will have knowledge of the cultural distinctiveness and regional diversity of the United States which will be valuable in any commercial or public service activity with an engagement with the United States.
A graduate in American Studies will be sensitive to racial and ethnic tensions in the United States, which will enhance the effectiveness of any non-American seeking to establish linkages with organizations and special interest groups in the United States.
A graduate in American Studies will have a grasp of the operations of the American political system at the federal, state and local level, which would be valuable for a graduate working in the media, or in either the private or the public sector.
A graduating student should leave the program with a basic knowledge of:
- The political and regional geography of the United States
- The workings of the American political system, especially at the national level
- The major themes in the historical evolution of the United States over the past century
- The scale and social significance of the United States as an industrial economy
- Selected aspects of cultural development in the United States
- The extent to which the United States as a culture is both similar and different to Australia
A graduate should also have developed:
- An enhanced capacity for investigation, evaluation, and reporting of findings
- A respect for the value of social data and a willingness to locate and use it effectively