Spring 2013 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 502 – Special Topics in American Studies – The History of Print in American Culture: This course considers major developments in the history of print, publishing, and reading practices in North America before 1900.  We will build an account of the media and institutions responsible for the dissemination of writing and material texts, with an emphasis on literary and political culture.  What relationships did Americans develop with different kinds of printed artifacts – including newspapers, broadsides, pamphlets, magazines, and bound books?  How embedded were American printers and readers in the broader Atlantic world?  How did such embeddedness change over time, from the colonial period to the Reconstruction?  We will consider the relationship between the history of print and a number of phenomena, including early Puritan settlement, the American enlightenment and the Revolution, transatlantic literary culture, early and nineteenth-century black writing, abolitionism, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the Gilded Age.  In so doing, the course will provide an introduction to the history of copyright law and the methodologies of book history.  Readings will include selections from the recently completed, multi-volume History of the Book in America; the work of major authors like Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, and Harriet Beecher Stowe; and a wide range of printed matter, from early American almanacs to the magazines of late nineteenth-century mass culture.  Rezek, M 1:00 – 4:00.

GRS AM 735 – Studies in American Culture: Is the core research seminar for incoming students in the Ph.D. Program in American and New England Studies.  Each student will write, discuss, and revise a research paper on a topic of their choice. The final paper should represent an article-length essay of publishable quality based on original research.  The seminar aims to equip students with the requisite skills for producing the major research paper. In addition, students will investigate a variety of methodologies and interdisciplinary approaches to American Studies scholarship.  Moore, W 1:00 – 4:00.

African American Studies

CAS AA 502 – Topics in African American Literature. Topic for Spring 2013: Transformations of Genre in the Twentieth-Century African American Novel. Major works drawn from the Harlem Renaissance, Realism, Modernism, the Black Arts Movement, and the contemporary period. Authors may include Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, Wallace Thurman, Richard Wright, Anne Petry, Ralph Ellison, Octavia Butler, John Wideman, Gloria Naylor, and Toni Morrison. Also offered as CAS EN 380. 2 sections scheduled. Boelcskevy, M 1:00-4:00; Jarrett, TR 11:00-12:30

CAS AA 507 – Literature of the Harlem Renaissance. Study of racial thinking and feeling in Europe and the United States since the fifteenth century. Racial thinking in the context of Western encounters with non-European people and Jews; its relation to social, economic, cultural, and political trends. Also offered as CAS HI 580. Richardson, W 1:00-4:00

CAS AA 580 – The History of Racial Thought. A study of the major writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Explores how they proclaimed a renewal of racial consciousness and cultural pride, and how they challenged racial and cultural barriers in American society. Also offered as CAS EN 377. Richardson, W 1:00-4:00

GRS AA 885 – Atlantic History. Examines the various interactions that shaped the Atlantic World, connecting Europe, Africa, and the Americas between 1400 and 1800. Begins by defining the political interaction, then emphasizes cultural exchange, religious conversion, and the revolutionary era. Also offered as GRS HI 750. Thornton, MW 5:00-6:30


CAS AN 308/AN 708 – Food, Culture, and Society: Study of foodways, culinary social history, and diet and food ecology with special attention to Asian societies and Boston’s food culture. Examines the use of food and cuisine as a focus for identity, national development, and social change. White, MWF 3:00 – 4:00.

CAS AN 510 – Proposal Writing for Social Science Research: The purpose of this course is to turn students’ intellectual interests into answerable, field-based research questions. The goal is the production of a project proposal for future research. Also offered as CAS AR 510. Prereq: admission to AN Honors Program or advanced undergraduate standing with consent of instructor. Grad Prereq: graduate student standing in the social sciences or humanities. Marston, T 10:00 – 1:00.


CAS AR 510 – Proposal Writing for Social Science Research: The purpose of this course is to turn students’ intellectual interests into answerable, field-based research questions. The goal is the production of a project proposal for future research. Also offered as CAS AN 510. Prereq: admission to AR Honors Program or advanced undergraduate standing with consent of instructor. Grad Prereq: graduate student standing in the social sciences or humanities. TBA, T 10:00 – 1:00.

CAS AR 590 – Life Is a Bowl: Ceramic Studies in Archaeology: Before plastic, there was pottery — pots and pans, cups and dishes, crocks and jars — in every culture and in abundance. Research seminar studies pottery across time and space to elucidate personal habits as well as social, economic, and political developments. Prereq: sophomore, junior, or senior standing. Berlin, W 9:00 – 12:00.


COM FT 533 – American Independent Film: 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. Carney, TR 9:00 – 11:00.

COM FT 536 – Film Criticism and Theory: An introduction to classical and contemporary film and media theory. Topics include montage theory, realism, structuralism, post-structuralism, semiotics, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and cultural studies. The course includes screenings of films that have contributed to critical debate and those that challenge theoretical presuppositions. Grundmann, MW 9:00 – 11:30.

COM FT 554 E1 – Special Topics: The City in Film:This course surveys representations of the city in narrative features, in avant-garde and experimental film, and in non-fiction film. Proposing that urban spaces have held cultural significance not only as sites for a variety of cinematic dramas, but can be called cinema’s natural habitat, we will survey key examples of the cinematic city from 20th century culture. Grundmann, W 2:00 – 6:00.

COM FT 554 A1-American Film in the 1970s: The 1970s have been called the new blockbusters, cult curiosities and obscurities. The 1970s have been called the new (and last) golden age of American film. We’ll explore critically what constitutes and underpins that notion as many of the disruptive and innovative ideas of cinema and culture of the 1960s gained wider acceptance in the new decade and were mainstreamed – as were its once radical filmmakers – into American life and culture. Kelly, M 2:00-6:00

COM FT 570 – Uncensored TV: Using series like The Sopranos, Weeds, and Breaking Bad as case studies, this course will examine the current state of cable TV with regard to industry, “quality,” genres, auteurs, and the so-called “post-network” era. Students will approach these cable series with a critical eye as they work to connect industry, political economy, and government regulation to issues of social class, television hierarchies, and artistry. Students will also emerge from the course with a thorough understanding of how to perform television-focused research and analysis. Jaramillo, M 6:00 – 9:00.


CAS EN 533 – American Literature: Beginnings to 1855. An introduction to the multiple literary traditions of North America (especially that area that would come to be the United States) from the close of the fifteenth century through 1855. Authors include John Winthrop, Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, William Apess, Washington Irving, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman. Fulfills Pre-1900 American requirement. Otten, MWF 1:00-2:00.

CAS EN 534 – American Literature: 1855 to 1918. American literature from the Civil War to World War I. Topics include literary realism and naturalism; problems of race, class, and increasing urbanization; changing notions of marriage and the new woman. Authors may include Emily Dickinson, Horatio Alger, Mark Twain, Henry James, William Dean Howells, Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, Edith Wharton, Robert Frost. Fulfills Pre-1900 American requirement. Jarrett, TR 2:00-3:30.

CAS EN 545 – The Nineteenth Century American Novel. This course will provide an overview of the art of the novel as it was imagined and practiced in the nascent United States. Although we will supplement our work with examinations of the material culture of reading and theoretical essays from nineteenth-century periodicals, most of our attentions will fall on the novels themselves. Candidates for inclusion on the syllabus include: William Hill Brown’s The Power of Sympathy, P.D. Manvil’s Lucinda; or, the Mountain Mourner, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers, Catherine Maria Sedgwick’s A new England Tale, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly, William Wells Brown’s Clotel: or, The President’s Daughter, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson, Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition. Fulfills Pre-1900 American requirement. Howell, MWF 11:00-12:00.

CAS EN 546 – The Modern American Novel. American fiction from 1900 to 1950. Works by Theodore Dreiser, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Willa Cather, William Faulkner, and others. Attention to literary movements, social and historical contexts, cultural development in other media such as film. Van Anglen, TR 3:30-5:00.

CAS EN 547 – Contemporary American Fiction: Major American Novels since 1984. Syllabus varies from semester to semester but this course may be taken only once for credit. Novels by Don DeLillo, Toni Morrison, Tim O’Brien, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Roth, and others. Course topics include risk, multiculturalism, trauma and memory, postmodern spiritualities. Mizruchi, MWF 10:00-11:00.

CAS EN 572 – Studies in American Literary Movements: Slavery and American Literature. American literature before the Civil War was profoundly shaped by the slavery crisis. Central questions for this course include: How could slavery exist in the land of freedom? How can writers represent slavery? What is the role of literature in a national and international crisis involving political, ethical, religious, legal, and philosophical quandaries? Readings include novels by Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Herman Melville, and William Wells Brown, autobiographies by ex-slaves such as Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Jacobs, as well as speeches from David Walker, Henry David Thoreau, and Abraham Lincoln. We will also spend some time with visual art and songs from the antebellum period. Fulfills Diverse Literatures requirement or Pre-1900 American requirement. Lee, TR 11:00-12:30.

CAS EN 585 – Contemporary American Poetry. Tradition and innovation among post-WWII poets. Focus on individual volumes; may include: Plath, O’Hara, Ginsberg, Lowell, Bishop, Ashbery, Merrill, Simic, Hass, Glück, Komunyakaa. Costello, MWF 10:00-11:00.

CAS EN 587 – St. in African-American Literature: Literacy in African-Am. Literature. Examines literacy in African American literature and in constructions and negotiations of racial identity and social contact. Historical topics include slavery, freedom, higher education, migration, gender, sexuality, and politics. Authors include Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Booker T. Washington, W.E. B. DuBois, Richard Wright, Audre Lorde. Also meets with AA 502 B1. Fulfills Diverse Literatures requirement or Pre-1900 American requirement. Jarrett, TR 11:00-12:30.

CAS EN 594 – Studies in Literature and the Arts: Stanley Kubrick. The cinema of Stanley Kubrick, from Killer’s Kiss (1955) to Eyes Wide Shut (1999). The novels he adapted by Vladimire Nabokov, Anthony Burgess, WIlliam Thackeray, Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and other pertinent fiction are read. Topics include: black comedy, visionary expereince, dreadful stories. Weekly screenings. Monk, TR 11:00-12:30.

GRS EN 746 – 1950s America. This course moves beyond Consumption, Cold War, and Conformity, to explore the 1950′s as a decade of cultural and political ferment, when original works of literature, film, and social theory-Lolita, Catcher in the Rye, Invisible Man, films of Marlon Brando, books by de Beauvoir, Arendt, Mills, Riesman-reached wide audiences. Mizruchi, W 12:00-2:30.

GRS EN 794 – Professional Development and Advanced Writing Seminar. This course prepares doctoral students to move from coursework to advanced independent study, from academic goals defined by classes and individual professors to more self-directed scholarly and professional pursuits. We will discuss the history of English as a discipline and profession and engage current debates regarding the future of the field. We will prepare for the crucial next year in the program, including the creation of rationales and lists for the comprehensive exams (which serve, in turn, as the basis for dissertation prospectuses). Inherent in such work is the formation of a field-defined professional identity. The course also offers practical, project-specific directions for conference papers and publications, including venue selection, advanced rhetorical techniques, professional self-presentation, and the critiquing of student proposals and scholarship in a collaborative workshop model. Lee, T 1:30-4:00.


CAS HI 502 – Drafts of History: Journalism and Historical Revisionism. Considers episodes from U.S. history, comparing the “draft” of journalists to subsequent historical accounts. Analyzes how new evidence alters understanding of events, but also how different eras ask questions about the past, interrogate different sources, and appeal to different audiences. Schulman, TR 3:30-5:00.

GRS HI 706 – Intellectual History of the United States, 1900 to the Present. Major thinkers and movements in intellectual and cultural history since 1900. Topics include pragmatism and progressivism; ethnic and cultural pluralism; Marxism and liberalism; Cold War ideology and neoconservatism; artistic modernism; psychoanalysis and modernization theory; the New Left, multiculturalism, and postmodernism. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same title that was previously numbered GRS HI 874. Capper, MWF 10:00-11:00.

GRS HI 850 – American Historiography. Examines the methodological and professional development of American historians since the 1880s, changes in the field since the founding period, and new directions in U.S. history. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same title that was previously numbered GRS HI 750. Blower, T 12:00-3:00.

GRS HI 855 – American Immigration History. The experience of immigrants to the United States including the study of pre-migration cultures, theories of adaptation, perspectives on race, ethnicity and gender, questions of inclusion and exclusion, transnationalism, and the second generation; training in the methods of oral history. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same title that was previously numbered GRS HI 755. Halter, TR 2:00-3:30.

History of Art & Architecture

CAS AH 521 – Curatorship & Exhibition Development: Topic & description TBA. McNamara, T 9:30 – 12:30.

CAS AH 570 – Early American Architecture: Lectures and field trips explore American architecture and buildings from initial European contact through the end of the Eighteenth Century. Emphasis on New England, with discussion of architectural forms from other regions. Dempsey, T 2:00 – 5:00.

CAS AH 580 – Transnationalism & Architecture: In recent times, the field of history has been characterized by the growth of studies adopting a “transnational” perspective, a phenomenon that has touched on disciplines as diverse as the history of international relations, the history of social policies, cultural history, migration history, and intellectual history. The aim of the seminar is to start a discussion on the transnational character of modern architecture and to verify to which extent the paradigm of transnational history can be applied to modern architecture as a historical subject. In doing so, the seminar will consider a narrative that covers the 20th century but that, at times, includes events that took place during the 18th and 19th centuries. Scrivano, W 1:00 – 4:00.

CAS AH 587 – Green Design: This seminar will explore the historical context for the current issues of sustainability and green architecture from the eighteenth century to the present. The recent explosion of interest in sustainability and green architecture will be examined within its larger Western context, with a primary focus on the American situation. The engagement of architecture with nature will be charted through questions of landscape theory, public park making, suburbanization, adaptive re-use and new green materials and methods of construction, among other topics. The course will involve discussion of common readings, site visits, and independent research. Morgan, M 1:00 – 4:00.

CAS AH 591 – Seminar in Photographic History: A study of changing uses, definitions, and archives of documentary photography from 1839 to the present.  Topics will include urban photography, war imagery, topographical and survey landscapes, architectural records, social reform photography, New Deal imagery, and digital documents.  We will concentrate on the rich archival resources available in the museums, university archives, and historical societies in the greater Boston area.  Sichel, R 2:00 – 5:00.


CFA MU 341/351-Topics in World Music, “Music in American Cultures:” This course offers both an introductory look at the diverse musical cultures of the U.S., as well as an examination of how various world music traditions brought by people to the U.S. have been shaped by the unique space of the nation.  Through these musical practices, we will investigate the ways in which many of these styles are the product of long-running interracial and intercultural dialogue, struggles, and negotiation processes that continue to produce new hybrid forms. Because of the vast array of musical cultures present in the U.S., this course is necessarily selective and introductory. Rather than providing an exhaustive survey of every culture or music in the U.S., we will focus on several key voices and moments within this broader history, with emphasis on popular and “roots” genres.

Throughout the semester, this course will examine each musical practice at hand within a broader historical, political, and economic context. As necessary part of developing the ability to critically think through musical material, this course will introduce key readings on the issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. You will also be introduced to basic musical concepts and terminology, and acquire listening skills that will enable you to better encounter and understand music in this course and beyond. The overall goal is to develop our ability to hear and appreciate the multiple entanglements that make music so deeply immersed in competing interests and sensibilities. Abe, T /Th 9:30-11:00

CAS PO 516 – Selected Readings in American Politics:Einstein, M 2:00 – 5:00.

CAS PO 570 – The U.S. in the Middle East: (Meets with CAS IR 503.) Examines the historical development and present status of the United States’ association with the Middle East: American commercial, economic, political, military, and humanitarian interests in the area and their interaction. Norton, W 1:00 – 4:00.

CAS PO 568 – U.S.-Latin American Relations: (Meets with CAS IR 503.) (Meets with CAS IR 568.) The international context within which Latin American countries operate, with primary emphasis on U.S. policy toward the region. Includes historical overview, the policymaking process itself, and case studies of specific policy issues. Keller, M 1:00 – 4:00.

CAS PO 674 – The United States as a World Power: Meets with GRS HI 859. The course material is organized along a debate format. Although the course is primarily concerned with twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy, attention is also given to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century issues. Winger, R 3:30 – 6:30.

GRS PO 711 – Approaches to the Study of American Politics: Graduate core course. Introduces students to major theoretical, substantive, and methodological problems in the study of American politics by examining two sets of literature: scholarly debates and discussion of theory and research, and the concrete research of leading Americanists. Kriner, T 11:00 – 2:00.


GRS RN 727 – Topics in American Religion: Atheism and Agnosticism in U.S. History: A historical exploration of skeptics and freethinkers in the United States from figures such as Thomas Paine and “The Great Agnostic” Robert Ingersoll to Christopher Hitchens and other “New Atheists.” Prothero, T 3:30 – 6:30.