Undergraduate Course Inventory

American Studies

Introduction to American Studies
CAS AM 200 (4 credits)
An exploration of the multi-faceted themes of American society and culture in selected historical periods using a variety of approaches to interpret such topics as American art, literature, politics, material culture, and the mass media. Required of majors and minors. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.

What’s Boston?
CAS AM 202 (4 credits)
What’s Boston? explores Boston’s complex urban and natural world. University faculty share cutting-edge research, focusing on Boston as a PLACE and a guiding IDEA, introducing the perspectives of disparate scholarly disciplines. Discover where you stand and where you might go! No prerequisites. This course welcomes first-year students and is open to all BU undergraduates.

American Arts and Society
CAS AM 250 (4 credits)
Investigates key issues and themes in American arts and letters, typically offered in the Spring. Topic changes by semester and have previously included:

Perspectives on the American Experience
CAS AM 301 (4 credits)
American history and society as viewed by those who made it, typically offered in the Fall. Topic changes by semester and have included:

Surfing and American Culture
CAS AM 363 (4 credits)
The history of the sport of surfing , tracing the cultural, technological, and economic aspects of its transformation from a Polynesian folkway to a global multi-billion dollar economic force.  Thematic emphasis on questions of American diversity and identity. 

Material Culture
CAS AM 367 (4 credits)
Introduction to the theory and practice of the interdisciplinary study of material culture, which includes everything we make and use, from food and clothing to art and buildings. Topic for Fall 2013: American Folk Art. Course explores the range of objects, created from the seventeenth century to the present, known as American Folk Art. Also offered as CAS AH 367.

American Folk Art
CAS AM 369 (4 Credits)
Explores the objects that collectors and museums identify as “American Folk Art”; examines how this label developed throughout the 20th century; familiarizes students with major collections and genres including painting, sculpture, textiles, and other media. Also offered as AH 369.

Seeing and Reading Boston: 1630-Present
CAS AM 371 (4 credits)
Historical exploration of Boston’s art, architecture, and literature. With frequent walking tours in and around the city, students confront specific neighborhoods that also appear in the literature. Independent research leading to a class presentation and final paper. This course covers the same material as was previously offered under the title of Art and Architecture in Boston, 1630 to the Present. Typically offered in the Summer.

American Buildings & Landscapes
CAS AM 385 (4 Credits)
This class provides an introductory analytic survey of American buildings and landscapes within their historical and cultural contexts. Students examine forces which have shaped the American built environment. Topics range from Indian mounds to commercial strips; Spanish missions to skyscrapers. Also offered as AH 385.

Special Topics in American Studies
CAS AM 501 (4 credits)
Previous topics have included:

Special Topics in American Studies
CAS AM 502 (4 credits)
Previous Topics have included:

The American South in History, Literature, and Film
CAS AM 505 (4 Credits)
This course explores the American South through literature, film, and other sources. Considers what, if anything, has been distinctive about the Southern experience and how a variety of Americans have imagined the region over time. Also offered as HI 505.

Senior Independent Work
CAS AM 401, 402
Prerequisite: consent of Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Directed Study
CAS AM 491, 492
Prerequisite: consent of Director of Undergraduate Studies

Preservation Studies

Internships in Public History
CAS AM 313 (4 credits)
Students undertake supervised work in Boston-area institutions dedicated to the public presentation of America’s past. Students meet with the instructor to discuss themes in public history theory and practice that, together with the internship experience and related readings, inform a final research project and class presentation. Also offered as CAS HI 313.

Housing America
CAS AM 376 (4 credits)
What do dwellings say about the diversity of American experience? For over four centuries and across a continent, wealth and poverty, family and community, taste and technology have all shaped the meaning of home. Illustrated lecturers supplemented by field trips. Also offered as CAS AH 376.

New England Cultural Landscapes
CAS AM 524 (4 credits)
Examines the historic forces that have shaped the distinctive regional landscapes of New England and catalogues the changing forms that make up those landscapes. Also offered as CAS AH 525.

Places of Memory: Historic Preservation Theory and Practice
CAS AM 546 (4 credits)
Covers key aspects of the history, theory, and practice of historic preservation. Preservation is discussed in the context of cultural history and the changing relationship between existing buildings and landscapes and attitudes toward history, memory, invented tradition, and place. Also offered as CAS AH 546 and CAS HI 546.

Boston Architectural and Community History Workshop
CAS AM 555 (4 credits)
This course focuses on class readings, lectures, and research on a single neighborhood or community in Boston (or Greater Boston). Greatest emphasis is on using primary sources– land titles and deeds, building permits, fire insurance atlases and other maps. There are both group and individual research projects. Also offered as CAS AH 554 and CAS HI 569.

Affiliated Programs

Students in the American Studies Program also take courses in other departments with affiliated faculty. Some of the courses commonly taken by students are listed below. For a detailed course list for each department, please consult the Undergraduate Bulletin.
African American Studies
History of Art & Architecture
Film & Television
Political Science
Women’s & Gender Studies