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 301 – Perspectives on the American Experience: American on Television.  Television is often seen as providing a mirror through which we can view real life.  Sitcoms from Leave it to Beaver to Modern Family have claimed to offer a window onto the everyday life of the typical American family, dramas like The West Wing often explore more exceptional individuals or circumstances, and even the most far-fetched fantasies, from The Walking Dead to Once Upon a Time make some sort of statement about what it means to live in our increasingly complicated society.  But who gets to decide what it means to be an American and how well do televised visions of “Americanness” reflect the historical and present-day realities of life in the United States?  This class will examine the ways in which television has represented and influenced social debates over issues like gender, race, historical events, and what it means to be an American in the 20th and 21st centuries. Catherine Martin, Tuesday/Thursday 9:30am – 11:00am.

CAS AM 376 – Housing America. 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. Claire W. Dempsey, Tuesday/Thursday 11:00am – 12:30pm.

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.

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

CAS AN 372 – Psychological Anthropology.  Charles Lindholm, Tuesday/Thursday 2:00pm – 3:30pm.


CAS AR 450 –  Methods and Theory of Archaeology.  Interdisciplinary Senior capstone seminar dealing with the intellectual history of the discipline, research methods, concepts, and problems in archaeological theory, and the formulation of research designs.  (Course fulfills department requirement.) Mary Beaudry, Monday 1:00pm – 4:00pm.

College of Communication – Film & Television

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.


CAS EN 220 – American Literature and World Cultures.  Students will explore American literature in its global context, through close reading of works about migration, expatriation, and the confluence of European, African, and Asian cultures in the United States, from the early republic up through the second world war. Anita Patterson, Tuesday/Thursday 12:30pm – 2:00pm.

CAS EN 341 – History of the Novel.  An introduction to the history of the Anglophone novel, from its origins in early modern England to its status as the dominant literary form of modernity. Readings include Defoe, Austen, Dickens, James, Woolf, Morrison, and Cotzee. Joseph Rezek, Tuesday/Thursday 11:00am – 12:00pm.

CAS EN 373 – Detective Fiction.  A study of the major writers in the history of literary crime and detection, mainly British and American, with attention to the genre’s cultural contexts and development from the eighteenth century to the present. Charles Rzepka, Tuesday/Thursday 12:30pm – 2:00pm.

CAS EN 375 – Topics in Literature and Film: On the Road in American Literature 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. Additional works include, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises; Ford’s Grapes of Wrath; Ellison’s Invisible Man; Robinson’s Housekeeping; Brando Films-The Wild One, The Fugitive Kind-Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Scott’s Thelma and Louise, Dayton and Faris, Little Miss Sunshine. Susan Mizruchi, Tuesday/Thursday 9:30am – 11:00am.

CAS EN 480 – Critical Studies of American Writers: American Literature and Pragmatism.  Major American authors (including Emerson, Dickinson, Henry James, Stephen Crane, Du Bois, and Frost) read in relation to classical pragmatists such as William James, Peirce, Dewey, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Maurice Lee, Tuesday/Thursday 11:00am – 12:30pm.

CAS EN 485 – Gender & American Literature: Representing Gender in American Literature and Film.  Explores representations of gender in classic American literature and film. Treating such subjects as “rites of passage in cultures of consumption,” “writing as vocation” and “contemporary gender politics” this course covers the following works: Anne Frank’s “Diary”; Elia Kazan’s “Streetcar Named Desire”; Nabokov’s “Lolita”; Hitchcock’s “Psycho”; Capote’s “In Cold Blood”; Plath’s “Bell Jar”; Lorde’s “Zami”; Livingston’s “Paris in Burning”; Pierce’s “Boys Don’t Cry”; Gloeckner’s “Diary of a Teenage Girl.” Susan Mizruchi, Tuesday/Thursday 12:30pm – 2:00pm.

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.


CAS 151 – The Emerging United States to 1865.  Jon Roberts, Monday/Wednesday/Friday 11:00am – 12:00pm.

CAS HI 190 – History of Boston.  Bruce Schulman, Tuesday/Thursday 11:00am – 12:3opm.

CAS HI 280 – Topics in American History.  David Mayers, Monday 3:00pm – 6:00pm.

CAS AM 287 – American Foreign Relations.  David Mayers, Monday/Wednesday/Friday 11:00am – 12:00pm.

CAS HI 291 – Political American Environment.  Sarah Phillips, Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:00am – 11:00am. 

CAS HI 298 – African American History.  Linda Heywood, Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:00am – 11:00am.

CAS HI 300 – American Popular Culture.  Brooke Blower, Tuesday/Thursday 9:30am – 11:00am.

CAS HI 305 – American Thought.  Charles Capper, Tuesday/Thursday 11:00am – 12:30pm.

CAS HI 308 – American Religious Thought.  Jon Roberts, Monday/Wednesday/Friday 2:00pm – 3:00pm.

CAS HI 321 – The American Revolution.  Brendan McConville, Tuesday/Thursday 12:30pm – 2:oopm.

CAS HI 339 – US 1968 – Present.  Bruce Schulman, Tuesday/Thursday 3:30pm – 5:00pm.

CAS HI 454 – War & American Society.  Brendan McConville, Tuesday 9:00am – 12:00pm.

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.

History of Art & Architecture

CAS AH 205 – Introduction to Architecture.  Examination of the factors involved in architectural design including program, spatial composition, structure, technology, iconography, and the role of architecture in society. Discussion of major monuments of Western architecture and urbanism from ancient Egypt to the twenty-first century. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Paolo Scrivano, Monday/Wednesday/Friday 2:00pm – 3:00pm.

CAS AH 391 –  Twentieth Century Art to 1940.  A study of the key tendencies in European art between the 1880s and World War II. The work of van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Dalí, and their contemporaries is examined in relation to major issues in European culture and politics. Kim D. Sichel, Monday/Wednesday/Friday 11:00am – noon. 

CAS AH 393 –  Contemporary Art: 1980 to Now.  Explores the terms of debate, key figures, and primary sites for the production and reception of contemporary art on a global scale since 1980. Painting, installation art, new media, performance, art criticism, and curatorial practice are discussed. Gregory Williams, Tuesday/Thursday 3:30pm – 5:00pm; or Tuesday 6:00pm – 9:00pm.

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, Thursdays 2:00pm – 5:00pm.


CAS RN 427 – 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. Also meets with GRS RN 727 and STH TX 827. Stephen Prothero, Monday 2:00pm – 5:00pm.


CAS SO 244 –  Urban Sociology.  An analysis of cities and urban phenomena in preindustrial, industrial, and postindustrial societies with an emphasis on European and U.S. urbanization. A comparison of social scientific “theories” used to explain these same phenomena. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. Japonica Brown-Saracino, Tuesday/Thursday 3:30pm – 5:00pm.

CAS SO 306 –  Boston’s People and Neighborhoods.  A comparison between nineteenth- and twentieth-century neighborhoods, connecting changes in everyday life to larger demographic, economic, physical, and political changes affecting the whole city and immediate suburbs. Includes tours of several Boston neighborhoods and archival research using neighborhood newspapers. Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS SO 244; or consent of instructor. Japonica Brown-Saracino,  Tuesday 9:30am – 12:30pm.

CAS SO 408 –  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. Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous Sociology courses, at least one must be CAS SO 207; or consent of the instructor. John Stone, Tuesday 9:30am – 12:30pm.

CAS SO 448 –  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. Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and at least two previous sociology courses; or consent of instructor. Ashley Mears, Monday 1:00pm – 4:00pm.