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American Vernacular: People, Places and


This course explores the American vernacular built environment from the first permanent settlement period to the present. Vernacular is a label applied to buildings, structures, objects and landscapes crafted by people who are not professionally trained designers. When these forms are studied collectively in a broader context segmented by time, ethnicity, race, gender, economics, politics, geography, popular culture, religion, natural disaster, etc., a cultural landscape emerges. This is not a survey course. The subjects of our study contain too many layers to be packaged into a conveniently constructed chronological box. Instead, we will sample pieces that represent the true purpose of this seminar i.e.to learn an approach to the study of the historic artifact beyond its intrinsic value by attempting to answer questions such as: Why does it look like it does? How did it get this way? What does it mean to the creators and users? As preservationists or designers, this approach may seem counter intuitive. Generally we are forced by de-facto public policy and commercial contract to determine "significance" of the historic artifact in accordance with rather inflexible rules which rely heavily on pre-determined [if not defined] stylistic and typological terms. Much of our learning and practice is tempered by this reality. In this course, however, we will stretch our analysis and draw upon the thinking of scholars and practitioners from multiple disciplines including preservationists, historians, cultural geographers, anthropologists, folklorists, architectural historians, archaeologists, sociologists, conservators, and the like. The overarching goal of this course is to expand the way students approach the study of the built environment and view it from a cultural significance perspective.

Credits 3 Credits
Prerequisites * None.
Co-Requisites None.
Fall, Spring
HSP2004 - 1MDS Online 8/25/14-12/13/14


* Prerequisites listed are for onsite degree programs only.  For questions regarding prerequisites for Professional & Continuing Education, The Sustainable Design Institute or The Landscape Institute please call the office at 617-585-0101 or email pce@the-bac.edu. For questions regarding prerequisites for the Distance track Master of Architecture please call 617-585-0390 or email dmarch@the-bac.edu. If you are looking at the course page of a 4000 series course, the prerequisites listed on the page do apply to you.

For degree students contact Academic Advising at advising@the-bac.edu.