American Studies

View courses in

  • CAS AM 200: Introduction to American Studies
    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. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Critical Thinking, Research and Information Literacy.
    • Critical Thinking
    • Research and Information Literacy
  • CAS AM 220: Native American and Indigenous Studies
    Examines diverse cultural expressions of Native peoples, from oral traditions to modern fiction, and their historic and political contexts. Employs interdisciplinary perspectives from Native American and Indigenous Studies to ask critical questions about the arts, identity, community, and creativity. Effective Spring 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, The Individual in Community, Creativity/Innovation.
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • The Individual in Community
    • Creativity/Innovation
  • CAS AM 250: American Arts and Society
    Investigates key issues and themes in American arts and letters. Topic for Fall 2022: The Mediated Body: Gender and Sexuality in American Popular Culture. Considers bodies as sites of political and cultural expression in American culture. By examining popular cultural texts - film, television, graphic novels, music, and advertising - within their historical contexts, students learn how the mediated body is given meaning and value in relation to gender, sexuality, and other identity markers.
  • CAS AM 301: Perspectives on the American Experience
    American history and culture as viewed by those who made it. Topics vary from semester to semester. Topic for Topic for Spring 2022: Arts & American Society Race & State Power in the American Century. Examines U.S. foreign policy through the lens of race, using African-American thinkers and writers to interrogate state power as it manifested foreign and domestic. Effective Summer I, 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Research and Information Literacy.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Research and Information Literacy
  • CAS AM 313: Internships in Public History
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: consent of instructor.
    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.
  • CAS AM 336: Bob Dylan: Music and Words
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 100 or WR 120)
    This course examines Bob Dylan's music and lyrics from 1962 to 1975 in the context of his life, artistic influences, and milieu. We will explore the wealth of criticism and reaction his songs have inspired, paying special attention to questions concerning the nature of his art--for example, his dependence on musical tradition or the relationship between song lyrics and poetry--and past and current critical discussion about his legacy. Effective Fall 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing- Intensive Course, Aesthetic Exploration.
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • Writing-Intensive Course
  • CAS AM 367: Material Culture
    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 2022: Race and Power in Everyday Objects. How have diverse groups of Americans used everyday objects to envision, embody, and resist racial categories since the 18th century? Students use objects like Chinese export porcelain teacups, Klan robes, and mid-century modern coffee tables to see what material culture can teach us about histories of race in the US.
  • CAS AM 369: American Folk Art
    Explores the objects that collectors and museums identify as "American Folk Art." Examines how this label developed throughout the twentieth century; familiarizes students with major collections and genres including painting, sculpture, textiles, and other media. Also offered as CAS AH 369.
  • CAS AM 385: American Buildings and Landscapes
    An introductory analytic survey of American buildings and landscapes within their historical and cultural contexts. Students examine forces that have shaped the American built environment. Topics range from Indian mounds to commercial strips, Spanish missions to skyscrapers. Also offered as CAS AH 385.
  • CAS AM 501: Special Topics in American Studies
    Topic for Fall 2022: Unsettling American Studies. Explores frameworks such as critical race theory and decolonization that recognize the centrality of racism and settler colonialism to American life. Students consider theories, practices, and debates, and apply what they have learned to a research topic of their choice. Capstone course for American & New England Studies majors.
  • CAS AM 502: Special Topics in American Studies
    May be repeated for credit as topic changes. Topic for Spring 2023: The History of Print in Early America. Considers major developments in the history of print, publishing, and reading practices in North America, from the 1580s to 1900. Builds an account of the media and institutions responsible for the dissemination of writing and material texts, with an emphasis on literary culture and racial diversity.
  • CAS AM 505: The American South in History, Literature, and Film
    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 CAS HI 505. Effective Spring 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness.
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • Historical Consciousness
  • CAS AM 546: Places of Memory: Historic Preservation Theory and Practice
    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.
  • CAS AM 554: Preservation Planning
    Introduces students to local, state, and national government policies and practices intended to protect historically and aesthetically significant structures. In addition, the course covers planning approaches aimed at managing redevelopment in established neighborhoods, to create livable and sustainable communities.
  • CAS AM 555: Boston Architectural and Community History Workshop
    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. Explores places and sources that help assess and narrate the rich history of architectural and urban development.
  • CAS AM 567: Topics in American Material Culture
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior or senior standing or consent of instructor.
    An interdisciplinary research seminar exploring a topic in American material culture. Specific content will vary by semester and may be repeated for credit as topics change. Topic for Spring 2022: Material Culture of the Twentieth-Century United States.