Having finished my dissertation in American Studies at Purdue University, I definitely want to give the American Studies Program and the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue some credit for funding my amazing research and networking opportunities that have arisen from the $10,000 Global Synergy Grant I received to attend the 2015 World Expo in Milan.  Since then I’ve been able to integrate transnational American food histories and projects into my courses, and present my own research on critical food studies at academic conferences and my own symposium at Purdue University – Global Food: Local Perspectives.

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American Studies is the basis for this exploration of food, identity, and nationality. American Studies is a tricky-to-define discipline, consumed with core issues of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, ability, etc. that foreground a much larger analysis of what it means to be American anywhere at any time in the context of certain power relations. I still struggle to define the discipline because it is every issue, every debate, every passion, bound within a critique and analysis of power, all at once.

Purdue’s American Studies program describes itself in the following way:

American Studies is the interdisciplinary study of America as a place, a political and social idea, a set of values and traditions and a people. Through the program, you will have opportunities to examine America through the diversity of its idea, texts, objects, institutions, practices, and histories as well as complex social and political relationships. American Studies offers you the freedom to create an academic path that fits your interests and goals by choosing classes within a framework of required courses and a concentration area. Furthermore, you will have opportunities to showcase your work and meet internationally-known scholars through a student-organized academic conference.

If you’d like to know more about Purdue’s American Studies program, check it out:  In addition, the flagship national association, the American Studies Association, can be found here:

If you want to know more about my perspective on American Studies as told through transnational American food histories, follow along with this blog! And follow my food snaps on Instagram @keralovell.