About CSUS

Centre for the Study of the United States

The Centre for the Study of the United States (CSUS) represents the largest collection of U.S.-focused scholars in Canada, as well as the greatest concentration of U.S. expertise in Canada’s history. With over 60 faculty affiliates, we have an unprecedented strength in U.S. expertise and in American Studies, both institutionally and nationally. CSUS and American Studies bridge the social sciences and the humanities in three major areas of activity: undergraduate teaching, research, and programming for the University community and beyond.

Housed in the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, CSUS was established in 1999 to build and promote the University’s resources in American Studies and U.S.-focused research and teaching. Our vision is to build on its position as the nation’s premier site of interdisciplinary U.S.-focused research, teaching, and public programming. We bridge the social sciences and the humanities in our work, as well as collaborate closely with scholars in law, business, and public policy. In addition to bridging the social sciences and the humanities, we balance a focus on the U.S. as an object of study with transnational, comparative, and international approaches.

In addition to its vibrant interdisciplinary undergraduate program in American Studies, the Centre boasts many exciting activities such as our graduate student research colloquium; scholarly research talks by academics from all over the world (including our F. Ross Johnson/Connaught Distinguished Speaker Series); the F. Ross Johnson/Connaught Distinguished Visitor in American Studies, who spends three weeks on campus and teaches an intensive ‘sprint’ course each year; internships and fellowships; and at least one annual conference. Our undergraduate students also produce a journal of undergraduate research, published annually. For more information about these activities, please navigate the menu tabs above and items to your right.


How To Donate to CSUS

If you would like to make a charitable donation to the Centre for the Study of the United States and/or the American Studies Program, please go to the link below for additional information. Your donation will help CSUS to continue its important role of educating informed citizens who contribute to national and international discussions on our neighbour south of the border.



How To Find Us

The Centre for the Study of the United States administrative offices are located in Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, at the corner of Devonshire Place and Hoskin Avenue.

[ view map ]

email: csus@utoronto.ca


Nicholas Sammond
Director, Centre for the Study of the United States and American Studies Undergraduate Program
Associate Professor, Cinema Studies Institute, University of Toronto
Ph.D.: University of California

Professor Sammond studies the cultural history and political economy of popular film and media. He teaches courses on film and media history, animation, comedy, media and childhood. At the graduate level, he teaches courses on cinema and culture, media and racial formation, media archaeology, and film theory. Prof Sammond’s newest book, Birth of an Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation (Duke University Press, 2015) explores the historical relationship between blackface minstrelsy and the origins of the American animation industry. Prof Sammond has also created the Early Animation Wiki, a research tool developed in collaboration with AnimationResources.org, and an animation research station in the Innis College Library that offers access to thousands of rare film shorts, original artwork, and biographical and bibliographic information on animators and animation studios.

Mio Otsuka 
Events and Program Coordinator 
Centre for the Study of the United States and American Studies Undergraduate Program

Alexandra Rahr
CSUS Bissell-Heyd Lecturer
Centre for the Study of the United States and American Studies Undergraduate Program
Ph.D.: University of Toronto

Alexandra Rahr is CSUS’s inaugural Bissell-Heyd Lecturer in American Studies. She teaches the Centre’s core classes, and in addition has recently offered courses on protest movements, extreme weather, populism in the age of Trump and epidemics and disease culture. A co-founder of the Environmental Humanities Network – an interdisciplinary forum for environmental humanities teaching and research – Dr Rahr has also co-convened symposia on environmental remediation and the science and art of climate change. She’s currently completing a book proposal – ‘Shelter from the Storm: Asylum in American Disaster Narratives’ – which re-examines settler accounts of extreme weather and normative disaster imaginaries.

Tahseen Shams
CSUS Bissell-Heyd Research Fellow (2020-21)

Governance Structure:

  • The CSUS Program Committee consists of Americanist faculty members from the University of Toronto who meet with the CSUS Director twice per year to discuss CSUS programming and the undergraduate American Studies program. The composition of the committee is determined by the CSUS Director.

2020-21 CSUS Program Committee members:
Nic Sammond (Chair, CSUS Director)
Alexandra Rahr (American Studies Bissell-Heyd Lecturer)
Shari Eli (Economics)
Alice Maurice (English)
Matt Farish (Geography) – On Leave
Max Mishler (History)
Jordan Bear (History of Art)
Lance McCready (OISE)
Emily Gilbert (Canadian Studies)
Jooyoung Lee (Sociology)
Gillian Hamilton (Economics)
Uahikea Maile (Political Science)
David Pettinicchio (Sociology)
Jason Spicer (Geography)
Lauren Cramer (Cinema Studies)
Thy Phu (Arts, Culture, and Media)
Aisha Assan-Lebbe (American Studies Student Rep)
Mio Otsuka (CSUS Program Coordinator / Minutes-taker)

  • The CSUS Director reports to the Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, Michael Sabia.

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