American Studies

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  • 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 202: What's Boston?
    What's Boston? explores Boston's complex urban and natural world. University faculty share cutting-edge research, focusing on Boston as a PLACE and a guiding IDEA, introducing the perspectives of disparate scholarly disciplines. Discover where you stand and where you might go! This course carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills one unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness.
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • Historical Consciousness
  • 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 Spring 2021: Collecting America: Museums, Connoisseurs, and the Power of Art. Explores the history of American collecting, how objects are displayed, and the origins of the museum from the colonial era to present day. Museum visits allow students to think about how collectors privileged certain pieces over others, perpetuating contemporary biases.
  • 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 Fall 2020: Gender and Sexuality in American Popular Culture. Popular culture and mass media are primary forums through which Americans construct notions of race, class, gender, sexuality and citizenship. This course explores identity construction in relation to commercial media in the U.S. from the 1970s through the present. 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 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.
  • 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 2019: ReThink: Adaptive Reuse and Revitalization. Adaptive reuse and revitalization of historical places has become indispensable towards achieving healthy, sustainable and vibrant built environments. The course critically explores and analyzes American examples of completed projects and the employed approaches towards design and managing change. Effective Fall 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 502: Special Topics in American Studies
    Topic for Spring 2020: Readings on the American Cultural Landscape. This interdisciplinary research seminar challenges students to interpret the built environment as evidence of human activity. Buildings, landscapes, transportation networks, and religious compounds are examined as carriers of historical and cultural meaning. Students also become familiar with the work of the leading scholars of the subject.
  • 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.
  • 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. Topic for Fall 2020: Somerville Project. Explores the architectural and urban transformation of Somerville from agricultural fields, country estates, to an area of dense urban settlement and industrial development. Explores places and sources that help assess and narrate the rich history of architectural and urban development.