Fall 2024 Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to American Studies CAS AM 200
Tu/Th 11:00am – 12:15pm
Prof. Battenfeld

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.

Native American and Indigenous Studies CAS AM 220
Tu 12:30pm – 3:15pm
Prof. Battenfeld

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.

American Arts and Society CAS AM 250
MWF 10:10am – 11:00am

Investigates key issues and themes in American arts and letters. Topic for Fall 2024: Documenting the Seventies: American Documentary Photography in the 1970s. This class seeks to explore the 1970s as an alternate flashpoint of photographic experimentation. In the 1970s, a wave of academic and art-world critics censured the tradition of American documentary photography, lodging critiques about voyeurism and power imbalances between photographer and subject. AM250 fulfills a single unit each in the Critical Thinking and Research and Information Literacy HUB areas.

Material Culture CAS AM 367
Tu/Th 2:00pm – 3:15 pm
Prof. Bunschoten

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 24: Thinking with American Pie. Things populate our everyday lives, and too often they are overlooked and unremarked. This course invites students to think about the world, the U.S., and their communities with an ordinary thing: pie. Sweet or savory, appetizer, entrée, or dessert, pie provides an exceptional opportunity to trace an American commonplace through its constitutive elements—recipes, ingredients, creative acts of making, and the critical act of eating. The class organizes itself around pie as an idea, object, and pathway to offer an intensive introduction to theories and practices of material culture.

The course is organized around three core themes: (1) The Idea of Pie, (2) Creativity and Construction, and (3) The Worlds We Eat. We begin with the pie itself as a unit to introduce thinking with and through things, food, and the particularities of pie. We orient ourselves to thinking with things and develop our scholarly theoretical toolkits to better discuss pie and its constituent parts. The second unit delves concretely into the construction of pies and the knowledges they require of their makers. The final unit, “The Worlds We Eat” explores what it means to ingest a thing and its history into the self in the act of eating. This unit plays with consumption on multiple registers to challenge students to imagine themselves as part of national and global food systems in the past and present. Also offered as CAS AH 367.

American Buildings and Landscapes CAS AM 385
Prof. Moore
Tu/Th 12:30pm – 1:45 pm

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.

Research Seminar in American Studies CAS AM 501 A1
Prof. Phillips
Thur 3:30 – 6:15pm

American Studies majors and minors complete their program of study by undertaking a one- or two- semester (AM 501 and/or AM 502) senior project based on original research or criticism. Topics vary by semester. Topics for Fall 2024: Food and and Power in American History. This course Explores how food—its production and its accessibility—have structured historical patterns of American inequality, citizenship, and health. Specific topics include slavery, labor and meatpacking, farm workers, the civil rights movement, food stamps/SNAP, obesity, and the intersections of environmental and nutritional justice. Effective Fall 2023, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing-Intensive Course, Research and Information Literacy.

Places of Memory: Historic Preservation Theory and Practice CAS AM 546
Prof. Stevenson
Fri 11:15am – 2:00pm

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

Affiliated Programs

Students in the American Studies Program also take courses in other departments with affiliated faculty. Some of the courses commonly taken by students are listed below. For a detailed course list for each department, please consult the Undergraduate Bulletin.

African American Studies


Film and Television


History of Art & Architecture