Fall 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 301 – Perspectives on the American Experience: The American Way of Eating. This course explores the cultural history of food in America. Through case studies and close readings including cookbooks, film, literature,  art and artifacts, the course considers the historical, political, and cultural implications of  the American way of eating. Daly, TR 9:30 – 11:00.

CAS AM 367 – Material Culture: American Folk Art. This course will explore the range of objects created from the 17th Century to the present that have come to be known as American Folk Art, including painting sculptures, textiles and other mediums. Through lectures and other readings students will also be familiarized with the prominent collectors and famous collections of American Folk Art. Also offered as CAS AH 367. Moore, MWF 11:00 – 12:00.

CAS AM 501 – Special Topics in American Studies: Transnational American Studies. Drawing on examples from literature, history, art, photography, architecture, and material culture, this course explores the global origins of American culture. Topics will include the immigrant experience; the middle passage; transatlantic tourism; black internationalism and cultural crossings between Japan and the United States in the late nineteenth century. Readings by and about Emerson, John La Farge, Henry James, Kakuzo Okakura, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, and others. Patterson, TR 11:00 – 12:30.

CAS AM 546 – Historic Preservation. An introduction to the American preservation movement, including current issues and modern practice. Considers key aspects of the history, theory, and philosophy of historic preservation, and introduces students to key figures in preservation agencies and organizations in this region. Also offered as MET UA 546. Dempsey, T 5;30 – 8:30.

African American Studies

CAS AA 501 – Topics in African American Literature: Literature of the Early Black Atlantic. This course considers the first century of literature written in English by authors of African descent, including Phillis Wheatley, Odaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, and Frederick Douglass. How did these writers represent the early modern world? How did they work to change it? Also offered as CAS EN 579. Rezek, MWF 12:00 – 1:00.


CAS EN 327 – Studies in American Literature: Jane Eyre’s Sisters. Charlotte Brontë’s immensely popular novel powerfully influenced nineteenth- and twentieth-century American women writers. Beginning with a close study of Jane Eyre (1847), we will look at writers who engaged, appropriated, challenged and revised aspects of Brontë’s novel in an American context. Nineteenth-century authors will include Harriet Jacobs, whose Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl situates Jane’s adversarial self-creation against a powerful male, and her self-creation as a literary heroine within the slave-master relationship; Elizabeth Stoddard, whose The Morgesons brings the dark female Bildungsroman to New England economic and class issues; Louisa May Alcott, whose pseudonymously published “blood and thunder” stories feature conniving governesses and madwomen in the attic. Twentieth-century texts will include Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea and Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine, which explicitly invoke Jane Eyre to engage postcolonial, immigrant, economic, and feminist rewritings. The course will include critical reading.  Korobkin, MWF 12:00-1:00.

CAS EN 370 – Introduction to African-American Women Writers. Surveys the writings of African American women writers from slavery to the present and explores the African American female literary tradition in the context of black history and culture. Also offered as CAS AA 304.  Boelcskevy, MW, 5:00-6:30.

CAS EN 375 – Topics in Literature and Film: On the Road in American Landscape and Film. This course “puts the geography of the United States in motion” (Nabokov, Lolita) exploring the various motivations for and consequences of taking to the road in classic American literature and films.  Some characters migrate for a specific purpose; some are forced into it; some to relieve boredom or psychological stress.  But the American preoccupation with mobility is always complex, combining spiritual, economic, and political aspirations that we will explore in a variety of modern cultural works, including Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, Fleming’s The Wizard of Oz, Ford’s Grapes of Wrath, Ellison’s Invisible Man, Marlon Brando films (The Wild OneThe Fugitive Kind), Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Nabokov’s Lolita, Robinson’s Housekeeping, and contemporary films such as Thelma and Louise and Boys Don’t Cry.  Mizruchi, TR 9:30-11:00.

CAS EN 377 – Literature of the Harlem Renaissance.  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 AA 507.  Boelcskevy, W 1:00-4:00.

CAS EN 379 – American Poetry. A survey of American poetry, from the Revolutionary era through the post-WWII period, introducing the fundamentals of poetic form and lyric practice, as well as the historical and cultural contexts surrounding the development of Romanticism, Modernism, and beyond. Authors may include Phillis Wheatley, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Stephen Crane, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery, Rita Dove, and others.  Costello, TR 11:00-12:30.

CAS EN 485 – Representing Gender in American Literature and Film. This course explores representations of gender in American literature, film, and graphic novels from the 1950’s, through the contemporary period. Course topics include “Cultures of Consumption,” “Class and Social Mobility,” “The Critique of Gender,” “Backlash.” Course works include, LolitaIn Cold BloodStreetcar Named DesireDiary of a Teenage GirlParis is Burning. (Students who took CAS EN 475 A1 for credit in Fall 2011 cannot take EN 485 A1 for credit in Fall 2013.)  Mizruchi, TR 12:30-2:00.

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 may 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, and Walt Whitman.   Korobkin, MWF 10:00-11:00.

CAS EN 546 – Modern American Novel: Modernism and Modernity. History and Literature of the United States between the World Wars. This course provides the opportunity to read and consider some of the most iconic American authors—William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, and others—in the context of a broad examination of “modernism and modernity” in the era between World War I and World War II.   Presented as a team-taught course, this class will offer both historical examination of the forces and people helping to create “modern” society during the early twentieth century, as well as literary analysis of the writers and artists who reckoned with modernity.  We shall consider the essential concerns of Americans in the modern age, examining such issues as: the re-working of gender roles; the shift from a rural and agricultural society to a more urban and industrial one; the remaking of capitalism during the depression and New Deal; the new role of the liberal state; and the role of the US in the world.  We’ll also examine how various American writers of the period responded to the extreme changes identified with modernity. How did authors fashion new expressive styles and narrative methods to engage new ways of conceptualizing human origins; race and culture; gender; individual consciousness, perception, and comprehension; the organization of society; labor, wealth, and consumption; ethics?  Throughout, we’ll also pay some attention to other aesthetic forms, including film, music, photography and art.  The course will be organized as a three-hour lecture/discussion meeting once weekly.  Each session will explore a set of texts from both literary and historical perspectives, and will involve lecture, discussion, and presentations. Meets also with CAS HI 312.  Matthews/Silber, M 3:00-6:00.

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.  Otten, MW 4:00-5:30.

CAS EN 579 – Topics in African American Literature: Literature of the Early Black Atlantic. This course considers the first century of literature written in English by authors of African decent, including Phillis Wheatley, Odaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, and Frederick Douglass. How did these writers represent the early modern world? How did they work to change it? Also offered as CAS AA 501. Rezek, MWF 12:00 – 1:00.

CAS EN 584 – Studies in Literature and Ethnicity: Literature of the Migrant. We will read eleven novels that all bear on human migrations. Besides examining major issues, we will focus on how these books were made. Some of the texts are translations, but most of them are written by American authors.   Ha Jin, W 12:00-3:00.
CAS EN 593 – Studies in Literature and the Arts: Gus Van Sant.  The Queer Cinema of Gus Van Sant.  Intensive study of the films of Gus van Sant from Mala Noche to Promised Land, focusing in particular on misfits and the maladjusted.  We will read works that inspired his films (Burroughs’ Naked Lunch with Drugstore Cowboy, Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I with My Own Private Idaho), books he adapted (Tom Robbins’ cult novel Even Cowgirls get the Blues and James W. Ellison’s young-adult novel Finding Forrester), and pertinent queer fiction, queer history, and queer theory. Weekly screenings.  Monk, W 2:00-4:30.


CAS HI 151 – The Emerging United States to 1865. Explores how the United States, at first only a series of borderland outposts, became a sprawling national republic. Investigates factors that brought Americans together and those that tore them apart, as they struggled passionately over racial, religious, and sectional values. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS.  Roberts, MWF, 11:00-12:00 with weekly discussion section.

CAS HI 152 – The United States since 1865. After the Civil War, Americans created a new urbanizing and industrializing landscape, flush with immigrants, growing class conflict, and racial divisions. This course explores how, through times of prosperity, depression, and war, Americans transformed the United States into one of the world’s leading nations. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS.  TBA, TR 6:00-7:30.

CAS HI 190 – History of Boston: Community and Conflict. Students work with centuries-old objects, manuscripts, letters, and diaries in reconstructing Boston’s past. The course covers witchcraft in America, immigration, and race in depth, with out-of-class visits to museums, churches, and neighborhoods in the city. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS.  Johnson, TR 11:00-12:30 with weekly discussion section.

CAS HI 280 – Special Topics in American History, Section A1: Wars, Peace, and Diplomacy. What constitutes peace and how is it maintained? What are the virtues and deficiencies of diplomacy as practitioners have sought to implement it? Readings will center on international politics texts and the U.S. foreign policy record. Also offered as CAS PO 380.  Mayers, M 3:00-6:00.

CAS HI 280 – Special Topics in American History, Section B1: Media and Politics. Explores the relationship between media, politics, and popular culture in the twentieth-century United States. Students examine how media and popular culture have shaped the political terrain, influenced voter attitudes, impacted policy, and transformed electoral campaigns.  Brownell, W 6:00-9:00.

CAS HI 283 – The Twentieth-Century American Presidency. Examines the shifting role of the presidency in American politics, especially over the course of the twentieth century. Considers not only the accomplishments of individual presidents and institutional changes in the executive branch but also the evolving place of the presidency in American popular culture. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same title that was previously numbered CAS HI 372.  Schulman, W 6:00-9:00.

CAS HI 287 – History of American Foreign Relations since 1898. Analysis of the history of American foreign policy from the perspective of the changing world and regional international systems; emphasis on the effect of these systems and the impact of America on the creation and operation of international systems. Also offered as CAS PO 381. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same title that was previously numbered CAS HI 366.  Mayers, MWF 11:00-12:00.

CAS HI 298 – African American History. The history of African Americans from African origins to present time; consideration of slavery, reconstruction, and ethnic relations from the colonial era to our own time. Also offered as CAS AA 371. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same title that was previously numbered CAS HI 371.  Heywood, TR 11:00-12:30.

CAS HI 300 – American Popular Culture. Examines how Americans have changed (and haven’t) since the nineteenth century by exploring their curious beliefs, social and sexual practices, and changing understandings of selfhood. Topics include Victorian etiquette, modern city pleasures, racial stereotyping, dating rituals, family dynamics, and more. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same title that was previously numbered CAS HI 379.  Blower, TR 9:30-11:00.

CAS HI 302 – Science and American Culture. Examines the rise of the natural and human sciences as influential forces in American society. Considers why they gained considerable authority in realms of medicine and technology but have proven far more limited in their impact on morality and religion. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same title that was previously numbered CAS HI 368.  Roberts, MWF 2:00-3:00.

CAS HI 305 – American Thought and Culture, 1776-1900. Examines how intellectuals constructed an “exceptional” American identity by adjusting provincial Protestant and Enlightenment traditions to the challenges of transnational democratic, Romantic, and secular thought. Topics include Transcendentalism, pro- and anti-slavery movements, philosophical idealism, literary realism, and Darwinian theories. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same title that was previously numbered CAS HI 373.  Capper, TR 9:30-11:00.

CAS HI 329 – The Gilded Age, 1877-1914. Examines the economic, social, cultural and political transformation from the end of the Reconstruction until 1914. Specific focus on the industrial revolution, foreign policy, the nation state, the metropolis, and conflicts that emerged in American society during the Gilded Age. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same title that was previously numbered CAS HI 362.  Staff, TR 7:30-9:00.

CAS HI 337 – America in Depression and War, 1890 to 1945. Examines how the modern United States was forged in the economic depressions of the 1890s and 1930s, and shaped by imperial and global ambitions beginning with the Spanish-American War and culminating with World War I and World War II. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course entitled “The United States, 1900-1945″ that was previously numbered CAS HI 363.  Phillips, M 6:00-9:00.

CAS HI 455 – Early American History and Culture. Explores how religious schisms and revival, warfare with native Americans, political revolution, and commercial development transformed New England from a Puritanical agricultural society into an urbanized, industrial society by the outbreak of the American Civil War.  McConville, W 9:00-12:00.

CAS HI 465 – The United States and the Cold War. Examination of U.S. Cold War foreign policy from its origins at the end of World War II to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and of the Soviet Union. Also offered as CAS IR 465.  Keylor, W 1:00-4:00.

CAS HI 467 – Postwar America: Issues in Political, Cultural, and Social History, 1945-69. Explores how, after the upheavals of World War II, American fought over and refashioned new norms and ideals in politics, daily life, and the home, Topics include youth rebellion, the African American freedom movement, antiwar activism, and the sexual revolution.  Schulman, R 12:30-3:30.

CAS HI 560  – The American Transcendentalists. Led by Emerson, Thoreau, Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, and others, the Transcendentalists constituted the first “counter-cultural” movement in American history. Seminar focuses on how and why they did so within the philosophical, religious, literary, antislavery, communitarian, and ecological currents they inhabited.  Capper, T 2:00-5:00.

CAS HI 584 – Labor, Sexuality, and Resistance in the Afro-Atlantic World. 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.  Thornton, W 2:00-5:00.


CAS HI 312/CAS EN 546 – Modernism and Modernity in America from 1920s to 1940s. Two world wars, Jazz Age, Harlem Renaissance, Great Depression. Team-tought with both professors leading discussions on literature and history of the times. Historical readings alongside Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hurston, others. Silber/Matthews, M 3:00 – 6:00.

History of Art & Architecture

CAS AH 201 – Understanding Architecture: Theoretical Approaches to the Built Environment. Introduces a range of approaches to the analysis of architecture. Learn how scholars and architects have interpreted meaning in architecture through the rubrics of art, structure, language, nonverbal communication, experience, and culture. Morgan, TR 9:30 – 11:00.

CAS AH 377 – American Furniture. Introduction to American furniture and decorative arts from the Colonial period to twentieth century. Visits and lectures familiarize students with key styles and ‘languages’ of furniture. We explore artistic and social contexts in which furniture was developed and used and consider stylistic influences from Europe (including England and France) and Asia which came through migration, travel and trade. You will develop and ability to analyze how these arts and crafts reflect changing American lifestyles and, sometimes, propagandistic needs. Hall, TR 11:00 – 12:30.

CAS AH 386 – Twentieth Century American Painting. Realist and avant-garde movements of the twentieth century, including New York dad, early abstraction, regionalism, art and politics during the depression years, abstract expressionism, pop art and minimal art, performance art, feminist art, and recent developments in postmodernism. Hills, TR 12:30 – 2:00.

CAS AH 398 – Twentieth Century Architecture. An introduction to the major developments in architecture and urban planning from ca. 1900 to the present. Traces the history of modern architecture in key projects, taking account of formal, technological , and ideological factors, as well as social, cultural, and environmental contexts. Scirvano, TR 2:00 – 3:30.

CAS Ah 520 – The Museum and Historical Agency. 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 artists, dealers collectors, donors, scholars, trustees and museum professionals. Opportunities to pursue projects in museums and historical agencies in and around Boston. Internship experience and advantage. Hall, R 2:00 – 5:00.

CAS AH 584 – Greater Boston: Architecture and Planning. Examines the buildings, development patterns, and open space planning of greater Boston, with particular emphasis on the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Weekly visits to neighborhoods and buildings throughout the city are combined with independent research projects for each member of the seminar. Morgan, W 2:00 – 5:00.