Fall 2014 Courses

This schedule is subject to change.  For the most accurate information concerning other programs and departments, consult the University Class Schedule online: www.bu.edu/studentlink, as well as each department’s own website.  Graduate students may not take courses below the 500 level for credit.

American Studies

CAS AM 501 – Special Topics in American Studies: Reading Boston – Conversations About the Real and Imagined City.  Team taught by Professor William Huntting Howell (Department of English) and Professor Keith N. Morgan (Department of History of Art & Architecture). Multidisciplinary examination of Boston from Wampanoag settlement to the present. Explores how specific neighborhoods have developed and how they have been presented in literature. Includes frequent site visits around Boston. Serves as AM capstone. William Huntting Howell/Keith N. Morgan, Tuesday 2:00pm – 5:00pm.

CAS AM 546 – Places of Memory: Historic Preservation Theory and Practice. This seminar  covers key aspects of the history, theory, and practice of historic preservation. Preservation will be 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. Course scrutinizes disparate forms of preservation including natural conservation, building restoration, green urbanism, monument and memorial construction, rituals of ancestor worship, design philosophies related to additions and historic context, and strategies for rebuilding after war.  Also offered as MET UA 546. Daniel Bluestone, Tuesday 5:30pm – 8:30pm.

GRS AM 736 – Literature of American Studies. Introduction to classic problems in the interpretation of American society and culture. Required course for all first year American Studies Ph.D. students. Permission from instructor required for all non American Studies Ph.D. students. Marilyn Halter, Wednesday 1:00pm – 4:00pm.

African American Studies

CAS AA 514 –  Labor, Sexuality, and Resistance in the Afro-Atlantic.  The role of slavery in shaping the society and culture of the Afro-Atlantic world, highlighting the role of labor, the sexual economy of slave regimes, and the various strategies of resistance deployed by enslaved people. Also offered as CAS HI 584. John  Thornton, Monday 1:00pm – 4:00pm.


CAS AN 571 – Anthropology of Emotion.  Charles Lindholm, Tuesday/Thursday 2:00pm – 3:30pm.

GRS AN 709 – Boston: An Ethnographic Approach.  Merry White, Tuesday/Thursday 9:30am – 11:00am.


GRS AR 702 – Contemporary Theory in Archaeology.  Prerequisite: GRS AR701.  Explore aspects of contemporary theory in archaeology, including post-modern critiques of contemporary practice, new approaches to archaeology of ritual, personhood, identity, and the body; indigenous and public archaeology; politics and archaeology. Mary Beaudry, Tuesday 1:00pm = 4:00pm.

College of Communication – Film & Television

COM FT 529 – Michael Haneke’s Cinema of Provocation.  Roy Grundmann, Thursday 1:00pm – 5:00pm.

COM FT 533 –  The American Independent Film Movement.  A survey of cinema from the past three decades originating outside of the studio system. Though the screening list changes from semester to semester, filmmakers to be dealt with include Elaine May, Barbara Loder, John Cassavetes, Robert Kramer, Mark Rappaport, and Charles Burnett, among others. Meets with COM FT 723. Ray Carney, Friday 2:00pm – 6:00pm.

COM FT 722 –  American Masterworks.  Subjects vary with instructor. Directors include: D.W.Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, King Vidor, Frank Borzage, Victor Fleming, Howard Hawks, Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, John Huston, Elia Kazan, George Cukor, Orson Welles, Robert Altman, John Cassavetes, and Woody Allen. Permission Required. Roy Grundman, Tuesday/Thursday 9:30am – 12:30pm.

COM FT 723 – American Independent Film.  Meets with COM FT 533. Ray Carney, Friday 2:00pm – 6:00pm.

College of Fine Arts – Music & Ethnomusicology

CFA MH 820 – Pro-Seminar in Musicology and Ethnomusicology.  Required for graduate students in Musicology and Ethnomusicology. This course provides an overview of the historical development of the disciplines, explores research techniques, and introduces influential theoretical perspectives, including: empiricism, psychology, criticism, representation, gender, and globalization. Fall Semester. 4 credits. Permission required. Victor Coelho, Monday 9:30 – 12:30pm.

CFA MH 871 – Special Topics in Ethnomusicology.  Case study of specifically defined areas in the forefront of ethnomusicological research. Individual research papers and class research projects as assigned by the instructor. 4 cr. May be repeated for credit. Permission required. Marie Abe, Thursday 9:30am – 12:30pm.


CAS EN 534 – American Literature: 1855 to 1918.  American literature from the Civil War to WWI. Realism and naturalism; race, class, and urbanization; marriage and the new woman. Alger, Twain, James, Harper, Howells, Crane, Norris, Dreiser, Wharton, Dickinson, Frost. Thomas Otten, Monday/Wednesday/Friday 12:00pm – 1:00pm.

CAS EN 545 – 19th Century American Novel.  Development of prose fiction in the United States, with works by Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Stowe, James, Howells, and others. Topics include print culture, realism and romance, the Civil War, and sentimentalism. Laura Korobkin, Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:00am – 11:00am.

CAS EN 579 – Studies in American Writers: Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson.  Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson never met, and probably never read each other’s poems. Dickinson, in fact, claimed not to have read Whitman because she “was told that he was disgraceful,” while Whitman could not easily have read Dickinson until the first volume of her poems was published in 1890, two years before his death. The two poets would seem related only in the way that opposites are related, as Dickinson exaggerated the role of self-effacing and dutiful daughter while Whitman exaggerated a brash and virile persona. Significantly, there is no authenticated photograph of Dickinson in her adult years, while Whitman substituted a portrait of himself in the place of his name in the first edition of Leaves of Grass. Yet both figures treated gender and sexuality as sources of creativity; both extended that creativity into the (radically innovative) forms of their poems; both were writers of their own Bibles; both were Civil War poets who wrestled on the page with problems of union; both in time became America’s best-loved poets (a strange development given both the conceptual difficulty and the undeniable queerness their poems confront us with). In this course, we will read as much of Whitman and Dickinson’s poetry as time permits while also taking up selections from Whitman’s prose and from Dickinson’s letters. In the background will be Ralph Waldo Emerson, an inspiring figure for both writers. Course requirements will consist of frequent short, informal assignments and three papers of varying lengths. Thomas Otten, Monday/Wednesday 3:00pm – 4:30pm.

CAS EN 590 – Studies in Comparative Literature: Cultural Crossings with Asia in the U.S.  Explores how the availability of English translations and other formative cultural encounters with Asia shaped the development of American literature. Readings include works by Franklin, Paine, Emerson, Thoreau, Poe, Whitman, Stein, Pound, Eliot, and Richard Wright. Anita Patterson, Tuesday/Thursday 9:30am – 11:00am.

CAS EN 593 – Studies in Literature and the Arts: Smart Alecks: The Films of Joel and Ethan Coen.  Intensive study of films made by Joel and Ethan Coen, considered in relation to literary works they adapted (Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men, Charles Portis’ True Grit), films they re-made (Ealing Studio’s The Ladykillers), filmmakers they emulated (Preston Sturges and The Hudsucker Proxy) and relevant genre writing (noir works by James M. Cain and Elmore Leonard with Blood Simple and Fargo; Nathaniel West’s Hollywood novel The Day of the Locust with Barton Fink).Topics include:  quirky wit, the death drive, and character perversions.There will be weekly screenings. Leland Monk, Tuesday/Thursday 3:30pm – 6pm.

GRS En 734 – The Literature of Atlantic Modernity, 1700 – 1900.  A theoretical and historical examination of transatlantic literature, with a focus on capitalism, aesthetics, and print culture.  Readings in Marx, Weber, Raymond Williams, Benedict Anderson, Paul Gilroy, Defoe, Franklin, Wheatley, Equiano, Wordsworth, Austen, Irving, Bronte, Melville, and James. Joseph Rezek, Thursday 3:30pm – 6:00pm.

GRS EN 855 – Modern Exoticism: Transnational Exchanges, Collaborations, Appropriations.  In a rather circular definition, the OED describes “exoticism” as the “tendency to adopt what is foreign or exotic.” This definition does not reflect the debates sparked by the prevalence of the “tendency” in modernism. The root “exo,” meaning “outside of or away from,” also indicates some vantage point that is considered central and normative. But, exoticism might challenge the centrality of that vantage or reinforce West-centric prejudices. Exoticism designates the barbarous, glamorous, primitive… the familiar stereotypes literalized and technologized by the native/alien Na’vi’s ability to plug into trees inAvatar (2010). To the extent that such exoticism is offensive, where do we draw the line between hate speech, satire, thoughtful commentary, or comedy? Should we trace exoticism through the history of “exotic” influences, aesthetic techniques, author’s intent, or audience’s reception, or philosophical/religious claims? What is the relationship between exoticism and innovation? Ultimately, is transcultural art possible without exoticism?  Modernism has increasingly been recognized as a global phenomenon, and “transnationalism” is a buzzword in modernist studies. Many modernist aesthetic movements, including imagism, modern dance, and cubism began with or were greatly energized by cultural appropriation, often to our embarrassment. How might we set aside pieties and more productively grapple with the transnational? Are models of collaboration, encounter, generic exchange, or translation helpful? The course will focus on modernist drama and poetry, while rounding out the picture with examples from narrative forms, musical and dance performances, film, and the visual arts. Critical rubrics will be drawn from readings in translation, performance, and postcolonial theory and subaltern and gender studies. Carrie Preston, Wednesday 11:00am – 1:30pm.


CAS HI 568 – Modern Metropolis.  Brooke Blower, Tuesday 12:30pm – 3:30pm.

CAS HI 584 –  Labor, Sexuality, and Resistance in the Afro-Atlantic.  The role of slavery in shaping the society and culture of the Afro-Atlantic world, highlighting the role of labor, the sexual economy of slave regimes, and the various strategies of resistance deployed by enslaved people. Also offered as CAS AA 514. John  Thornton, Monday 1:00pm – 4:00pm.

CAS HI 588 – Women in Africa.  Linda Heywood, Wednesday 3:00pm – 6:00pm.

GRS HI 849 – United States History 1830 to 1900.  Historiographic investigation of various central themes in nineteenth century US history, covering the years 1830-1900. Introduces students to scholarship on such issues as plantation slavery; abolition; Civil War; Reconstruction; and race relations after the Civil War.  Nina Silber, Monday noon – 3:00pm.

GRS HI 863 – American Intellectual History.  Charles Capper, Thursday 2:00pm – 5:00pm.

History of Art & Architecture

CAS AH 520 – Museums.  Using Boston’s excellent examples, we will consider history, present realities and future possibilities of museums and historical agencies. Issues and debates confronting museums today examined in the light of historical development and changing communities. Emphasis on collecting, display and interpretation, as well as on interactions between professionals. Melanie Hall, Thursday 2:00pm – 5:00pm.

GRS AH 892 – Approches to Architectural History.  The aim of the course is to analyze the nature of writings in architecture, to identify their origins and to discuss the reasons of their success and the consequences of their circulation. Among the examples taken into consideration are monographic works on specific architects, books on history, polemical pamphlets, and personal recollections. Special attention will be given to the “canonical” historiography of the 20th century. Paulo Scrivano, Wednesday 1o:00am – 12:00pm.

GRS AH 895 –  Seminar: Paris.  This interdisciplinary seminar will explore the representation of Paris 
in a variety of media, from the Exposition Universelle in 1900 to the 
beginning of World War II. Although literature, universal expositions, 
painting, photography, and film construct very different Paris images, 
certain common concerns will be studied throughout the semester. These 
include: the effect of the continuing importance of the “flaneur,” the effect of modernism on the city, the changing personality of the city as it is perceived in the different media and the effect of World War I. Kim D. Sichel, Monday 2:00pm – 4:00pm.


GRS RN 727 – American Spiritual Autobiography.  Exploration of the art of portraying the self in the light of the divine in U.S. history with an emphasis on contemporary work. Possible authors include: Thomas Merton, Swami Yogananda, Malcolm X, Ann Lamott, Richard Rodriguez, Elie Wiesel, Jarena Lee. Meets with CAS RN 427 and STH TX 827. Stephen Prothero, Monday 2:00pm – 5:00pm.


GRS SO 808 Ethnic, Race, and Minority Relations.  Formation and position of ethnic minorities in the United States, including cross-group comparisons from England, Africa, and other parts of the world. Readings and field experience. Meets with CAS SO 408. John Stone, Tuesday 9:30pm – 12:30pm.

GRS SO 848 – Culture, Markets, and Inequality.  This seminar examines commerce as a cultural process, focusing on cultural production and consumption practices in fields like fashion, music, and bodily goods and services. Traces the cultural construction and maintenance of gender, race, and class inequalities in markets. Meets with CAS SO 448. Ashley Mears, Monday 1:00pm – 4:00pm.