Undergraduate Courses

A glimpse into Professor Boelcskevy’s “Harlem Renaissance” course.

Spring 2022 Courses

CAS AA 103: Introduction to African American Literature—Maryanne Boelcskevy
MWF 9:05–9:55 am

What is the African American literary tradition? How does it change over time? This course is to introduce you to the cultural, political, and historical contexts of the African American experience through readings of literature. We will read poetry, slave narratives, essays and speeches, tales, short stories, and novels, and as we examine these texts, we will consider how culture, politics, and history shape African American literature. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 112: Black Power in the Classroom: The History of Black Studies—Pilgrim
TTh 11:00 am–12:15 pm

Centers Black experiences, cultures, knowledge production and identity formation in the United States and in the African Diaspora across time and space. Examines and traces the genealogies of Black Studies as a discipline: its political, ideological, and practical foundations on college campuses and in communities. Also explores earlier traditions and contemporary work in Black radical thought and activism that lay the groundwork for and build on the founding principles of Black Studies by mobilizing an intersectional and diasporic lens. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Social Inquiry I, Research and Information Literacy.

CAS AA 207: Sociology of Race and Ethnicity—Saida Grundy
TTh 9:30–10:45 am

This course examines the fundamental theoretical and empirical approaches regarding race/ethnicity and the current state of race relations in the U.S. that explore both contemporary social problems and the deep historical roots of those problems through a sociological lens. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. Also offered as CAS SO 207. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, The Individual in Community, Research and Information Literacy.

CAS AA 210: American Minstrelsy—Kyna Hamill
MWF 11:15 am–12:05 pm

An American entertainment historically rooted in commodified performance of “blackness”, this course engages with the complicated history of minstrelsy as both a racist and progressive art form. Course material surveys the minstrel tradition and its influence on popular entertainment. Effective Spring 2022, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing-Intensive Course, Aesthetic Exploration, Research and Information Literacy. Prereq: First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 100 or WR 120)

CAS AA 215: Arts of Africa and Its Diaspora—Instructor TBA
TTh 12:30–1:45pm

Exploration of a diversity of visual and performing arts from Africa, including royal regalia, masquerades, and contemporary painting. Examines how the dispersal of Africans, due to the transatlantic slave trade and immigration, contributed to the cultural richness of the Americas. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 234: African Americans in Global Perspective: Slavery and the Creation of Race—Joyce Hope Scott
TTh 9:30–10:45 am

A study of how chattel slavery in the Americas led to racialization as a primary tool in the creation of American society and New World capitalism. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Ethical Reasoning, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 270: Race, Sex and Science Fiction—Louis Chude-Sokei
MWF 1:25–2:15 pm

Science fiction has always been engaged in complex conversations about culture and the fate of the human species. This course takes seriously the presence of issues such as race, sex and gender, which have become increasingly foregrounded in the genre.

CAS AA296: Religion & Hip Hop—Margarita Guillory
TTh 9:30–10:45 am

Uses digital media studies to explore diverse religious expressions in hip hop culture. Through critical reading, community field trips, and hands-on technology usage, students consider an often overlooked element in the study of hip hop culture: religion. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Digital/Multimedia Expression, Aesthetic Exploration, Creativity/Innovation.

CAS AA 313: The Politics and Policy of HBO’s The Wire—Katherine Levine Einstein
TTh 11:00 am–12:15 pm

HBO’s television series The Wire is used to explore politics and policy. A number of interdisciplinary topics are covered, including the war on drugs, urban elections, bureaucracy, rational choice theory, and the decline of American cities. Also offered as CAS PO 313. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry II, Ethical Reasoning, Teamwork/Collaboration.

CAS AA 335: Sociology of Race, Class & Gender—Saida Grundy
Th 12:30–3:15 pm

No one of us is one thing, one identity, nor motivated by one singular interest, nor privileged or subjugated by one singular form of power, but how do those multiple forms of ourselves affect how we are advantaged, disadvantaged, viewed, and understood by the social world? Our social world, is, by default, a vast web of social intersections between and across groups with shared, overlapping, and conflicting identities. Race, class and gender affect nearly all of our lived experiences and greatly complicate and nuance concepts of diversity and difference. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Digital/Multimedia Expression , The Individual in Community, Historical Consciousness.

CAS AA 356: Religion in the Digital Age—Margarita Guillory
Th 12:30–1:45 pm

How has technology impacted religion? This hands-on course explores how digital technologies like the Internet, social media, gaming, and artificial intelligence have changed the way that people think about religion. Effective Spring 2022, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Digital/Multimedia Expression, Writing-Intensive Course, Creativity/Innovation. Prereq: First-Year Writing Seminar (CAS WR 120 or equivalent)

CAS AA 382: History of Religion in Pre-Colonial Africa—John Thornton
TTh 2:00–3:15 pm

The study of the development of religious traditions in Africa during the period prior to European colonialism. An emphasis on both indigenous religions and the growth and spread of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the continent as a whole. Also offered as CAS HI 349 and CAS RN 382. Effective Spring 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Historical Consciousness.

CAS AA 385: Atlantic History—John Thornton
TTh 9:30–10:45 am

Examines the various interactions that shaped the Atlantic World, connecting Europe, Africa, and the Americas between 1400 and 1820. Begins by defining the political interaction, then emphasizes cultural exchange, religious conversion, and the revolutionary era.

CAS AA 388: Transnational Black Radicalism from the 19th Century to the Present—Joyce Hope Scott
TTh 2:00–3:15 pm

Explores black cultural and political movements and examines how they interacted in ways that establish ideas crucial to our contemporary moment through readings in literature and history, film and popular culture productions. Effective Spring 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 390: Special Topics in Cinema and Media Studies—Danyelle Greene
TTh 11:00 am–12:15 pm

May be repeated for credit as topics change. Topic for Spring 2022: Black Religion in Film. An exploration of Black religious representation in American film from classical Hollywood cinema to contemporary religious film. Includes focus on Christianity, Islam, and Spiritualism in the work of Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, Kasi Lemmons, Tyler Perry, and more.

CAS AA 395: Power, Leadership, and Governance in Africa and the Caribbean—Linda Heywood
TTh 3:30–4:45 pm

Haitian Revolution; British Caribbean, leadership, governance, and power in Africa during the period of legitimate trade; visionaries, dictators, and nationalist politics in the Caribbean; chiefs, western elites, and nationalism in colonial Africa; road to governance in post-colonial Caribbean and Africa. Also offered as CAS HI 352 and IR 394.

CAS AA 408: Seminar: Ethnic, Race, and Minority Relations—Saida Grundy
W 2:30–5:15 pm

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. Also offered as CAS SO 408. Prereq: (CASAA207 OR CASSO207) or consent of instructor.

CAS AA 420: African American and Asian American Women Writers: Cross-Cultural Perspective—Mary Anne Boelcskevy
MW 10:10–11:25 am

Examines literary representations of race, ethnicity, gender and class through the lens of cross-cultural connections between African Americans and Asian Americans. Which strategies do these women writers use to speak to their often-mainstream readers? How do they challenge traditional gender roles? Effective Spring 2022, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Aesthetic Exploration, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 489: The African Diaspora in the Americas—Linda Heywood
W 2:30–5:15 pm

History of peoples of African descent in the Americas after end of slavery from an international framework. Examines development of racial categories, emergence of national identities in wake of the wars of independence, diverse Black communities in the twentieth century. Also offered as CAS HI 489. Prereq: consent of instructor.

CAS AA 490: Blacks and Asians: Encounters Through Time and Space—Ronald Richardson
T 12:30–3:15 pm

Exploration of historical encounters between Africans and people of African descent, and Asians and people of Asian descent. How such people imagined themselves, interacted with each other, viewed each other, influenced each other, and borrowed from each other. Also offered as CAS HI 490.

CAS AA 493: Special Topics in Cinema and Media Studies—Danyelle Greene
TTh 2:00–3:15 pm

May be repeated for credit as topics change. Topic for Spring 2022: Black Television Comedy. Seminar focusing on comedy in Black American television from 1950s to present, with close attention to the role of humor in discussing issues such as socioeconomics, gender, religion, and politics across eras of network, cable, and streaming television.

CAS AA 507: Literature of the Harlem Renaissance—Mary Anne Boelcskevy
11:15 am–2:00 pm

An exploration of the literature of the “New Negro Renaissance” or, more popularly, the Harlem Renaissance, 1919-1935. Discussions of essays, fiction, and poetry, three special lectures on the stage, the music, and the visual arts of the Harlem Renaissance. Effective Fall 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Aesthetic Exploration, Critical Thinking. Prereq: First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., EN 120 or WR 100 or WR 120).

Fall 2021 Courses

CAS AA 103: Introduction to African American Literature—Mary Anne Boelcskevy
TTh 11:00–12:15 pm

What is the African American literary tradition? How does it change over time? This course is to introduce you to the cultural, political, and historical contexts of the African American experience through readings of literature. We will read poetry, slave narratives, essays and speeches, tales, short stories, and novels, and as we examine these texts, we will consider how culture, politics, and history shape African American literature. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 113: Introduction to Antiracism— Ibram X. Kendi
M 2:30–5:15 pm

This course introduces students to the concept of antiracism, particularly its historical contours in the United States. Effective Fall 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: The Individual in Community, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 132: Write Back Soon: Blackness and the Prison— Ianna Hawkins Owen
TTh 12:30–1:45 pm

This course interrogates the theme of black containment from slavery and Jim Crow to, principally, mass incarceration. The topic is explored in tandem with the development of open letter writing skills. This epistolary form allows both for the intimate engagement of individual, familiar contact and the deft inclusion of targeted eavesdroppers in order to raise the consciousness of listeners and affirm the value of personal relationships. Course texts include letters to and from prison, poetry, short stories, memoir, social science, documentaries, and critical theory. Effective Fall 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: The Individual in Community, Aesthetic Exploration, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 200: Topics in African American Studies — Hannah Čulík-Baird
MWF 1:25–2:15 pm

May be repeated for credit as topic varies. Topic for Fall 2021: African American Literature and the Classical Tradition. Traces the history of adaptions and allusions to antiquity in Black writers from the eighteenth century to today, in a wide range of genres: poetry, essays, travel writing, novels, drama, and film.

CAS AA 207 A1: Sociology of Race and Ethnicity—Saida Grundy
TTh 3:30–4:45 pm

This course examines the fundamental theoretical and empirical approaches regarding race/ethnicity and the current state of race relations in the U.S. that explore both contemporary social problems and the deep historical roots of those problems through a sociological lens. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. Also offered as CAS SO 207. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, The Individual in Community, Research and Information Literacy. Discussion required.

CAS AA 234: African Americans in Global Perspective: Slavery and the Creation of Race—Joyce Hope Scott
MWF 9:05–9:55 am

A study of how chattel slavery in the Americas led to racialization as a primary tool in the creation of American society and New World capitalism. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Ethical Reasoning, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 296: Religion and Hip Hop— Margarita Guillory
MWF 10:10–11:00 am

Uses digital media studies to explore diverse religious expressions in hip hop culture. Through critical reading, community field trips, and hands-on technology usage, students consider an often overlooked element in the study of hip hop culture: religion. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Digital/Multimedia Expression, Aesthetic Exploration, Creativity/Innovation.

CAS AA 304: Introduction to African American Women Writers— Mary Anne Boelcskevy
TTh 12:30–1:45 pm

This course studies the cultural contexts and the ongoing relevance of significant works by African American Women Writers. Works by Jacobs, Butler, Harper, Hurston, Brooks, Kincaid, Morrison and Marshall complemented by critical articles lay out this rich tradition. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 305: Toni Morrison— Mary Anne Boelcskevy
TTh 3:30–4:45 pm

Using historical and literary sources to make visible the interactions between the world of the novel and that of American history, the course examines how Morrison’s Song of Solomon, Beloved, Jazz, and Love depict crucial times in American history. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 311: African American Religious History— Margarita Guillory
MWF 12:20–1:10 pm

This course offers a historical survey of religions practiced by people of African descent living in North America. Students explore the diverse terrain of African American religiosity, which includes Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Spiritualism, and African-derived religions.

CAS AA 319: Race and the Politics of Criminal Justice Policy— Spencer Piston
TTh 2:00–3:15 pm

How many people are affected by the criminal justice system? What is the relationship between crime and race? What criminal justice policies, if any, should change? In this course, students will grapple with these questions. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 335: Sociology of Race, Class, & Gender—Saida Grundy
T 12:30–3:15 pm

No one of us is one thing, one identity, nor motivated by one singular interest, nor privileged or subjugated by one singular form of power, but how do those multiple forms of ourselves affect how we are advantaged, disadvantaged, viewed, and understood by the social world? Our social world, is, by default, a vast web of social intersections between and across groups with shared, overlapping, and conflicting identities. Race, class and gender affect nearly all of our lived experiences and greatly complicate and nuance concepts of diversity and difference. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Digital/Multimedia Expression, The Individual in Community, Historical Consciousness.

CAS AA 371: African American History— Paula Austin
MWF 10:10–11:00 am

Surveys the history of African Americans from their African origins to the present, investigating their critical role in shaping the meaning of race, rights, freedom, and democracy during slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the civil rights era. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Digital/Multimedia Expression, Historical Consciousness, Teamwork/Collaboration.

CAS AA 380: European Dimensions of the Black Diaspora— Linda Heywood
TTh 3:30–4:45 pm

Explores writings about the Black experience in Europe since the 1800s through examinations of historical and literary works, artistic and folkloric depictions, as well as politics and sports in England, France, Germany, Russia, and the Netherlands. Also offered as CAS HI 360.

CAS AA 408: Seminar: Ethnic, Race, and Minority Relations—John Stone
Th 3:30–6:15 pm

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. Also offered as CAS SO 408.

CAS AA 459: Reparations, Restitution, Restorative Justice for Slavery and Jim Crow Segregation: The Debate— Joyce Hope Scott
MWF 10:10–11:00 am

Drawing from a wide-range of interdisciplinary scholarship, this course examines the debate surrounding demands for reparations for slavery, Jim Crow Segregation, and institutionalized racism in the US. Also examines reparations in the comparative context of emerging national and international movements.

CAS AA 477: Critical Studies: Black Diaspora Theory and Practice— Ianna Hawkins Owen
TTh 3:30–4:45 pm

Explore “diaspora” as a keyword for black studies, intervene in the term’s emergence, usage, and many theorizations. Beginning with Paul Gilroy’s take on diasporic culture and consciousness, course goes on to complicate/extend/challenge through lens of black gender and sexuality studies. Effective Fall 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: The Individual in Community, Aesthetic Exploration, Critical Thinking.

CAS AA 514: Labor, Sexuality, and Resistance in the Afro-Atlantic World— John Thornton
F 11:15 am–2:00 pm

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. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Historical Consciousness.

CAS AA 519: Inequality and American Politics— Katherine Levine Einstein
Th 8:00–10:45 am

This course examines the role of income inequality in shaping American politics and policy. Combining research from history, political science, economics, and public policy scholars, we will consider a range of important topics, including inequality in public voice, money and politics, and attitudes towards redistribution. We will apply this knowledge as part of a final paper project in metropolitan Boston. Effective Spring 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: The Individual in Community, Writing- Intensive Course, Research and Information Literacy.

CAS AA 523: Race, Ethnicity, and Childhood in US History— Paula Austin
W 2:30–5:15 pm

The history of childhood in US History intersects with the interdisciplinary area of childhood studies. Within that, the histories of Black children and children of ethnic minorities and historically marginalized young people is a burgeoning subfield. This course examines how identities inclusive of (and structural inequities associated with) race, ethnicity, gender, social class, and sexuality have differently affected the lives and experiences of young people in the United States from the colonial period through to the 21st century. Effective Fall 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing-Intensive Course, Historical Consciousness (HCO), Creativity/Innovation.

CAS AA 591: Black Thought: Literary and Cultural Criticism in the African Diaspora— Louis Chude-Sokei
TTh 12:30–1:45 pm

An introduction to literary and cultural thinking in African-America and the Black Diaspora. The course hones in on specific trends, themes, and characteristics of this work and assesses its relationship to broader political and social contexts. Also offered as CAS EN 537.