Spring 2024 Undergraduate Courses
Perspectives on the American Experience CAS AM 301 A1
American history and culture as viewed by those who made it. Topics vary from semester to semester. Topic for Spring 2024: The Oscars and American Culture. Effective Summer I, 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Research and Information Literacy.
This course examines how the annual Academy Awards (or Oscars) shape and are influenced by American culture. We consider the films and artists that are honored and the narratives of American history and culture that they perpetuate. We also examine the Oscars as a TV show, a cultural ritual, and a platform for and target of social change.
Research Seminar in American Studies CAS AM 501 A1
Prof. Jan Haenraets
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 Spring 2024: Section A1: Adaptive Reuse and Revitalization. Effective Fall 2023, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing-Intensive Course, Research and Information Literacy.
This seminar course will critically explore and analyze American examples of completed projects and employed design approaches, with a comparison of international practices. Class discussion and analysis of projects and readings will be combined with field trips. As a final project each class member will explore an adaptive reuse or revitalization project.
Research Seminar in American Studies CAS AM 501 B1
Prof. Adriana Craciun
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 Spring 2024: Section B1: Arctic Humanities. Effective Fall 2023, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing-Intensive Course, Research and Information Literacy.
This class immerses students in the dynamic world of the circumpolar Arctic, a vast region home to nearly 4 million people, with a focus on the North American Arctic (Canada, US, and Greenland) and Scandinavia. For too long defined by southerners as a lifeless, timeless, sublime, and remote wilderness or wasteland, the circumpolar North has played important roles in global exchanges for millennia, just as it has shaped the Earth’s environment long before the Anthropocene. We will explore the Arctic’s significance as a source of powerful myths and popular culture, resource extraction booms, aesthetic currents, colonial and postcolonial efforts, scientific and technological advances, Indigenous knowledge and belonging, unique governance, and intense curiosity by outsiders.
Research Seminar in American Studies CAS AM 502 A1
Prof. Michael Birenbaum Quintero
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. Effective Spring 2024, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU HUB areas: Writing-Intensive, Research and Information Literacy. Topic for Spring 2024: Music and the Black Radical Tradition.
Black liberation struggles have always been accompanied by Black cultural production, especially in music. This course focuses on the relationship between music and the heterogeneous strain of Black politics framed as “the black radical tradition” by Cedric Robinson in 1983, and contested ever since. Students will examine the history of that tradition in the US and beyond, using case studies from different geographic eras and historical moments to inquire into the place of music as a political resource in the Black freedom struggle.
American Cultural Landscape Studies CAS AM 525 A1
Prof. Will Moore
This seminar provides an introduction to analyzing and interpreting American cultural landscapes and acquaints students with the historiography of interdisciplinary study of the built environment. Also offered as CAS AH 525.
Preservation Planning CAS AM 554 A1
Prof. Sara Wermiel
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.
Topics in American Material Culture CAS AM 567 A1
Prof. Claire Bunschoten
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 2024: Tasting Technology: The Material Culture of Mass Food from Meat to MSG.
This research seminar investigates the material culture of mass food in the United States with an eye to the people, technologies, and ideologies that underpin it. Food works in intimate relations to the body yet the production and consumption of food in the US spans local, national, and global systems. Focusing on food’s material qualities, students will investigate how issues of empire and markers of identity (e.g. race, class, and gender) are reproduced at scale and experienced in everyday life. The course is open to both graduate and undergraduate students, fostering a dynamic learning environment that encourages diverse perspectives and knowledge levels.