Courses - Fall 2020

AMST 1104 Race and Ethnicity in the United States: Social Constructs, Real World Consequences

This course will examine race and ethnic relations between Whites, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians in the United States. The goal of this course is for students to understand how the history of race and ethnicity in the U.S. affects opportunity structures in, for example, education, employment, housing, and health. Through this course students will gain a better understanding of how race and ethnicity stratifies the lives of individuals in the U.S.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Steven Alvarado (sa792)
Full details for AMST 1104 : Race and Ethnicity in the United States: Social Constructs, Real World Consequences
AMST 1115 Introduction to American Government and Politics

A policy-centered approach to the study of government in the American experience.  Considers the American Founding and how it influenced the structure of government;  how national institutions operate in shaping law and public policy; who has a voice in American politics and why some are more influential than others; and how existing public policies themselves influence social, economic, and political power.  Students will gain an introductory knowledge of the founding principles and structure of American government, political institutions, political processes, political behavior, and public policy.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Douglas Kriner (dlk265)
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AMST 1500 Introduction to Africana Studies

This course offers an introduction to the study of Africa, the U.S., the Caribbean and other diasporas.  This course will examine, through a range of disciplines, among them literature, history, politics, philosophy, the themes - including race/racism, the Middle Passage, sexuality, colonialism, and culture - that have dominated Africana Studies since its inception in the late-1960s. We will explore these issues in the attempt to understand how black lives have been shaped, in a historical sense; and, of course, the effects of these issues in the contemporary moment. This course seeks to introduce these themes, to investigate through one or more of the disciplines relevant to the question, and to provide a broad understanding of the themes so as to enable the kind of intellectual reflection critical to Africana Studies.

Distribution: (CA-AS, GLC-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: N'Dri Assie-Lumumba (na12)
Full details for AMST 1500 : Introduction to Africana Studies
AMST 1585 Sports and Politics in American History

This course will explore the relationship between sports and politics over the course of American history since the 19th century.  Sports and politics have come together surprisingly frequently in the last two centuries and this course will take a "case study" method to examine particular episodes of politicized sports.  In the course of our investigations, we will the following questions: How do we define politics?  How have sports acted as a place for subversion and resistance? Conversely, how have sports reflected the power structure? No background knowledge is necessary.   Course materials will include memoirs, articles, and a variety of visual sources, including film and photography.   Course requirements will include a research paper.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Lawrence Glickman (lbg49)
Full details for AMST 1585 : Sports and Politics in American History
AMST 1600 Indigenous North America

This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the diverse cultures, histories and contemporary situations of the Indigenous peoples of North America. Students will also be introduced to important themes in the post-1492 engagement between Indigenous and settler populations in North America and will consider the various and complex ways in which that history affected - and continues to affect - American Indian peoples and societies. Course materials draw on the humanities, social sciences, and expressive arts.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Eric Cheyfitz (etc7)
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AMST 1802 Introduction to Latinos in U.S. History

This course seeks a fuller recounting of U.S. history by remapping what we understand as "America." We will examine traditional themes in the teaching of U.S. history—territorial expansion and empire, migration and nation building, industrialization and labor, war and revolution, and citizenship and transnationalism—but we will examine this "American experience" in a broader hemispheric context and include as actors americanos of Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean, and Central/South American ancestries.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Maria Cristina Garcia (mcg20)
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AMST 2006 Punk Culture: The Aesthetics and Politics of Refusal

Punk Culture–comprised of music, fashion, literature, and visual arts–represents a complex critical stance of resistance and refusal that coalesced at a particular historical moment in the mid-1970s, and continues to be invoked, revived, and revised. In this course we will explore punk's origins in New York and London, U.S. punk's regional differences (the New York scene's connection to the art and literary worlds, Southern California's skate and surf culture, etc.), its key movements (hardcore, straight edge, riot grrrl, crust, queercore), its race, class and gender relations, and its ongoing influence on global youth culture. We will read, listen, and examine a variety of visual media to analyze how punk draws from and alters previous aesthetic and political movements. No previous experience studying music is necessary.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Judith Peraino (jap28)
Full details for AMST 2006 : Punk Culture: The Aesthetics and Politics of Refusal
AMST 2145 Food in America

This course examines the history and culture of food in the United States over the last hundred years. Looking closely at contemporary food culture, we will ask questions such as: What are the origins of convenience foods? Who were America's most influential cooks? What is American cuisine?  What is the cultural meaning of a "proper" diet? Thematically organized, course topics include food and technology, food art, labor and tipping practices, food activism, consumerism, taste and eating behavior, fusion cuisine, and the celebrity chef. Creative assignments include a writing a restaurant review, conducting a food observation and interview, and innovating a new food invention.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Adrienne Bitar (arj67)
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AMST 2152 (Im)migration and (Im)migrants: Then and Now

One in ten residents of the United States was born outside the country. These people include international students, temporary workers, refugees, asylees, permanent residents, naturalized U.S. citizens and undocumented migrants. The arrival of these newcomers affects the cultural, economic, political and social dynamics of the country. Since immigration shows no signs of slowing down—in the United States or in many other nations of the world—the causes, consequences and repercussions of immigration will be one of the most important topics of the 21- century. Therefore this class will examine the history and contemporary role of immigration in the U.S. political system. The class will focus on two aspects of immigration: First, a historical examination of immigration policy from the founding of the country all the way forward to the current debate over immigration reform. Second, we will evaluate and assess the political incorporation and political participation of immigrant groups in the U.S. and determine whether immigrants are being incorporated, and if not, why? We will reflect on many important questions including the costs and benefits of immigration, issues related to civil rights and civil liberties, and finally propose our own ideas and solutions to the current immigration reform debate.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sergio Garcia-Rios (sig35)
Full details for AMST 2152 : (Im)migration and (Im)migrants: Then and Now
AMST 2160 Television

In this introductory course, participants will study the economic and technological history of the television industry, with a particular emphasis on its manifestations in the United States and the United Kingdom; the changing shape of the medium of television over time and in ever-wider global contexts; the social meanings, political stakes, and ideological effects of the medium; and the major methodological tools and critical concepts used in the interpretation of the medium, including Marxist, feminist, queer, and postcolonial approaches. Two to three hours of television viewing per week will be accompanied by short, sometimes dense readings, as well as written exercises.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Nick Salvato (ngs9)
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AMST 2220 From the New Deal to the Age of Reagan

This seminar will explore some of the major political and cultural trends in the United States,  from the era of the Democratic New Dealer, Franklin D. Roosevelt, through the era of the conservative Republican, Ronald Reagan? This seminar will explore through primary source research and secondary readings  the key economic, political, and cultural characteristics and transformations of the period from 1930 though the turn of the century.  The course will examine the rise, persistence, and breakdown of the so-called "New Deal Order" and the crucial political shifts that we call the "Reagan Revolution." A key theme in this course will be the transformations and critiques of American liberalism and conservatism.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Lawrence Glickman (lbg49)
Full details for AMST 2220 : From the New Deal to the Age of Reagan
AMST 2225 Controversies About Inequality

In recent years, poverty and inequality have become increasingly common topics of public debate, as academics, journalists, and politicians attempt to come to terms with growing income inequality, with the increasing visibility of inter-country differences in wealth and income, and with the persistence of racial, ethnic, and gender stratification. This course introduces students to ongoing social scientific debates about the sources and consequences of inequality, as well as the types of public policy that might appropriately be pursued to reduce (or increase) inequality. These topics will be addressed in related units, some of which include guest lectures by faculty from other universities (funded by the Center for the Study of Inequality). Each unit culminates with a highly spirited class discussion and debate.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Anna Haskins (arh96)
Full details for AMST 2225 : Controversies About Inequality
AMST 2260 Music of the 1960's

In this class, we will examine how musicians working in such genres as rock, jazz, folk, classical, soul, and experimental music responded and contributed to the major themes of the 1960s in the US: the counterculture, Vietnam, the civil rights movement, women's liberation, and the space race. We will examine written texts, recordings, and films from the period. The ability to read music is not required.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Benjamin Piekut (bdp63)
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AMST 2280 What is Public Health?

How have different dimensions of our lives become matters of public health? Focusing on modern America, this course explores how public health has been bound up with histories of the state, the economy, and inequality. Most broadly, we will ask what is defined as a public health problem and why. The class examines early attempts to control infectious disease, the expansion of public health in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and new dimensions of public health in the post-war period. In the final portion, the class will explore recently recognized threats to the public's health. Throughout, we will pay attention to the practices of public health that have fostered or challenged hierarchies of race, gender, class, and ability.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Hannah LeBlanc (hfl22)
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AMST 2315 The Occupation of Japan

In August 1945, Japan was a devastated country; its cities burned, its people starving, its military and government in surrender. World War II was over. The occupation had begun. What sort of society emerged from the cooperation and conflict between occupiers and occupied? Students will examine sources ranging from declassified government documents to excerpts from diaries and bawdy fiction, alongside major scholarly studies, to find out. The first half of the course focuses on key issues in Japanese history, like the fate of the emperor, constitutional revision, and the emancipation of women. The second half zooms out for a wider perspective, for the occupation of Japan was never merely a local event. It was the collapse of Japanese empire and the rise of American empire in Asia. It was decolonization in Korea and the start of the Cold War. Students will further investigate these links in final individual research projects. 

Distribution: (HA-AS, GLC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kristin Roebuck (kar79)
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AMST 2381 Corruption, Collusion, and Commerce in Early America and the Caribbean

Corruption in politics and economics has become a significant issue in the modern world. This course introduces students to the study of corruption and collusion from the perspective of early America and the Caribbean from 1500 through 1800. By examining the historical evolution of corruption, the course addresses questions such as: What is corruption and, by contrast, what is good governance? Who creates law and when is it enforced? Can societies be corrupt or only institutions? And, does economic corruption help or hurt financial development? Our readings and discussion will examine the intersection of politics, culture, gender, and economics. We will reflect on how early Americans understood corruption and collusion and what that can tell us about similar modern issues. In the end, the course focuses on the concept of corruption as a complex social function through the lens of bribery, piracy, sex crimes, and other forms of social deviancy.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Casey Schmitt (cs2437)
Full details for AMST 2381 : Corruption, Collusion, and Commerce in Early America and the Caribbean
AMST 2600 Introduction to Native American Literature

The production of North American Indigenous literatures began long before European colonization, and persists in a variety of printed, sung, carved, painted, written, spoken, and digital media. From oral traditions transmitted through memory and mnemonics to contemporary genres and media, Native North American authors offer Indigenous perspectives on social, political, and environmental experience, through deft artistry and place-specific aesthetics. Our attention will focus on the contexts from which particular Native American literatures emerge, the ethics to consider when entering Indigenous intellectual territory, and close attention to common themes and techniques that frequently appear in contemporary Native American literature. Readings will feature a range of novels, poetry, short fiction, graphic novel/comics, and film.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD, AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Eric Cheyfitz (etc7)
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AMST 2630 Brazil to Brooklyn: Jewish Cultures of the Americas

Jewish cultures in the New World are far more diverse than most Americans realize. Some know the history of Ashkenazi (German and Eastern European) Jews, most of whom immigrated to the U.S. between 1880-1920. In addition to Ashkenazi cultures, our course introduces the Sephardi (Spanish/Portuguese), Mizrahi (Arab), Persian, and Ethiopian Jews who have immigrated to the Americas since the 16th century. Students will learn how Jews of all origins have built communities across the Americas, from Jamaica, Bolivia, and Brazil to Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. We will focus on the resources that diverse Jewish communities drew on to face challenges in creating new Jewish American cultures, such as how to navigate assimilation, religious observance, legal discrimination, and gender and sexual reform.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jonathan Branfman (jrb557)
Full details for AMST 2630 : Brazil to Brooklyn: Jewish Cultures of the Americas
AMST 2640 Introduction to Asian American History

An introductory history of Chinese, Japanese, Asian Indians, Filipinos, and Koreans in the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1990s. Major themes include racism and resistance, labor migration, community formation, imperialism, and struggles for equality.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Derek Chang (dsc37)
Full details for AMST 2640 : Introduction to Asian American History
AMST 2723 LGBTQ History in the United States

This lecture traces the history of LGBTQ+ identities, relationships, and politics in the United States from the early 19th century to the present. We will consider, in particular, the shifting meanings of same-sex romantic and sexual relationships; the evolution of modern conceptions of sexual and gender identity as shaped by race and class; the emergence and policing of LGBTQ+ communities; and the history of LGBTQ+ activism and its intersections with broader movements for social and economic justice. Students will learn to read and analyze a range of historical scholarship, as well as primary texts in the history of gender and sexuality including memoirs and letters, periodicals, photographs, and political manifestos.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Vider (sv484)
Full details for AMST 2723 : LGBTQ History in the United States
AMST 2755 Race and Slavery in the Early Atlantic World

The legacies of slavery remain all too obvious in the modern Atlantic World. From demographic imbalances to pervasive social and economic inequality, much of the recent past has involved addressing that destructive early modern heritage. This course traces the roots of slavery and race in the Atlantic World from 1400 to 1800. Through lectures, readings, and class discussion, we will examine how politics, culture, gender, and the law intersected to shape the institution of slavery and the development of conceptions of race. As an Atlantic World course, we will take a comparative perspective and ask how different imperial regimes (Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English) fostered different systems of race and slavery in the Americas. We will also ask how the law as a lived experience, gender norms, and imperial politics all worked to shape the production of racial hierarchies.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Casey Schmitt (cs2437)
Full details for AMST 2755 : Race and Slavery in the Early Atlantic World
AMST 2770 Representing Racial Encounters, Encountering Racial Representations

Designed for the general student population, this course appeals to students who intend to work with diverse communities (for example, students with interests in medicine, law, labor, government, business, the hospitality industry, or in the fields of gender, queer, or ethnic studies), or who are from diverse backgrounds and are now navigating the university. Serving as an introduction to the critical inquiries and scholarly fields of the English department, the course uses literature, visual, digital, and popular culture, alongside literary, social, and cultural theory to consider how people from different cultures encounter and experience each other. In light of changing national and global contexts of pandemic, environmental and climate change, trade and civil wars, and growing interracial and interethnic tensions, the course examines histories of racial representations, dating to the colonial era that resonates in twenty-first century depictions of race, class, gender, and other markers of "difference".

Distribution: (CA-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ella Diaz (emd233)
Mukoma Ngugi (mwn39)
Full details for AMST 2770 : Representing Racial Encounters, Encountering Racial Representations
AMST 2817 America Confronts the World

Donald Trump and Barack Obama give us two visions of America and of the world: xenophobic nationalism and pragmatic cosmopolitanism.  America and the world are thus constituted by great diversity. The first half of the course seeks to understand that diversity in American politics and foreign policy viewed through the prisms of region, ideology, region, race, class and religion. The second half inquires into the U.S. and American engagement of different world regions and civilizations: Europe, Russia, North America, Latin America, China, Japan, India and the Middle East. U.S. hard power and American soft power find expression in far-reaching processes of American-infused globalization and U.S.-centered anti-Americanism reverberating around the world. Advocates of one-size-fits-all solutions to America's and the world's variegated politics are in for great disappointments.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, GLC-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Peter Katzenstein (pjk2)
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AMST 3033 Politics of Public Policy in the U.S.

Public policies are political outcomes determined by processes that are complex, convoluted and often controversial. The aim of this course is to equip students with the conceptual tools necessary to understand these processes. We will begin with a review of popular approaches to studying policy and then move on to explore the various stages of policy development: agenda-setting, policy design, policy implementation, policy feedback and policy change. We will consider the roles played by both institutions (congress, the bureaucracy and interests groups) and everyday people. Finally, we will closely study several specific policy arenas (a few likely candidates include: education policy, health policy, social welfare policy and housing policy). As we engage all of these ideas, students will be consistently challenged to grapple with the paradoxes of policy making in a democratic polity and to envision pathways for substantive political change.  

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jamila Michener (jm2362)
Full details for AMST 3033 : Politics of Public Policy in the U.S.
AMST 3071 Enduring Global and American Issues

The US and the global community face a number of complex, interconnected and enduring issues that pose challenges for our political and policy governance institutions and society at large.  Exploring how the US and the world conceive of the challenges and take action on them is fundamental to understanding them.  This course investigates such issues, especially ones that fit into the critically important areas of sustainability, social justice, technology, public health and globalization, security and conflict, among others. Students will engage with these areas and issues and the challenges they pose, using multiple frameworks and approaches, through weekly class discussions and lectures."

Distribution: (SBA-AS, GLC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Silbey (ds90)
Full details for AMST 3071 : Enduring Global and American Issues
AMST 3281 Constitutional Politics

This course investigates the United States Supreme Court and its role in politics and government. It traces the development of constitutional doctrine, the growth of the Court's institutional power, and the Court's interaction with Congress, the president, and society. Discussed are major constitutional law decisions, their political contexts, and the social and behavioral factors that affect judges, justices, and federal court jurisprudence.

Distribution: (HA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Dawn Chutkow (dmc66)
Full details for AMST 3281 : Constitutional Politics
AMST 3312 What was the Vietnam War?

If you have ever wondered what the Vietnam War was all about, how did it begin, how was it fought, why was it so controversial, why did the American people turn against it, why was it important, why were generations of American students taught the North Vietnamese version of the war, why the South Vietnamese allies of the United States were abandoned, and what happened to the Vietnamese and the Americans as a result of the war—then this class is for you! With fresh eyes and surprising insights, it will take you beyond the fashionable fictions and clichés to look at the twenty-five years during which the United States, through six presidential administrations, was involved in Vietnamese affairs (1950-1975). For decades, Americans have been meditating on "the lessons of the Vietnam War", but it turns out that neither was any lesson ever learned nor were the so-called "lessons" even plausibly related to actual events. Today, Americans continue to be taught myths about the Vietnam War. This course shows why these myths obstruct a realistic understanding of American history during the past half-century.

Distribution: (HA-AS, GLC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Keith Taylor (kwt3)
Full details for AMST 3312 : What was the Vietnam War?
AMST 3330 Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Place-Based Ecological Knowledge

Based on indigenous and place-based "ways of knowing," this course (1) presents a theoretical and humanistic framework from which to understand generation of ecological knowledge; (2) examines processes by which to engage indigenous and place-based knowledge of natural resources, the nonhuman environment, and human-environment interactions; and (3) reflects upon the relevance of this knowledge to climatic change, resource extraction, food sovereignty, medicinal plant biodiversity, and issues of sustainability and conservation.  The fundamental premise of this course is that human beings are embedded in their ecological systems.

Distribution: (KCM-AS, ETM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Karim-Aly Kassam (ksk28)
Full details for AMST 3330 : Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Place-Based Ecological Knowledge
AMST 3380 Urban Inequality

This is a seminar course on urban inequality in the United States.  The first half of the semester will be dedicated to understanding the political, historical, and social determinants of inequality in America's cities. Politically and socially, cities face unique challenges. Municipalities lack much formal authority to resolve issues that arise within their borders, and their populations are highly heterogeneous in terms of ethnicity, race, and social class. In the second half of the course, we will investigate a number of contemporary facets of urban inequality in-depth, such as residential segregation, urban schooling, immigration, and suburban sprawl.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, HST-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kendra Bischoff (kb536)
Full details for AMST 3380 : Urban Inequality
AMST 3420 Refugees and the Politics of Vulnerability: Intersections of Feminist Theory and Practice

Topic Fall 2020: The Time and Space of Immigrant Detention in the U.S.: Migration is about movement, yet the journey often ends in the denial of movement, especially if one migrates to the U.S. This country detains more immigrants than any other country in the world, often in deplorable conditions. Yet many people in this country do not know about these conditions, which amount to imprisonment for the simple act of crossing a border without papers. The centers are often geographically isolated, compounding the isolation of the people being held there. The situation has been exacerbated in the last three years due to increasingly draconian policies advanced by the Trump administration, making immigrant detention an urgent human rights issue. This class examines the practices and politics of detention, focusing on the temporal and spatial conditions that make detention so difficult for those inside. Connecting theory and practice, we will also visit people being held at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center, exploring how we address social injustice while not "speaking for" or "on behalf of" the people most affected by these injustices. How do we approach these issues through an intersectional lens that attends to the complex interplay of gender, sexuality, race, class, and religion? How do we avoid constructing hierarchies of immigrants who are more vulnerable (such as children) than others? What constitutes an effective and affective feminist theory and practice?

Distribution: (CA-AS, GLC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jane Juffer (jaj93)
Full details for AMST 3420 : Refugees and the Politics of Vulnerability: Intersections of Feminist Theory and Practice
AMST 3425 American Impeachment

American Impeachments: Four times in US History, Congress has moved to impeach the President—in fact this has happened three times in the last 46 years, after only one instance in the first 184.  The US Constitution provides impeachment as one of the most obvious checks on executive power.  This course will consider the history, politics, law, and possible future of impeachment in a divided US.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Edward Baptist (eeb36)
Joseph Margulies (jm347)
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AMST 3434 Underground Railroad Seminar

This course offers undergraduates a unique approach to exploring the abolition movement and the Underground Railroad in Central New York. It is an experiential course that includes visits to specific known underground stations in Ithaca as well as Harriet Tubman's residence and the William H. Seward House in Auburn, NY. It is also a community-engaged course in which students will contribute research for grant writing for two sites: the St. James AME Zion Church in Ithaca, which is a documented Underground Railroad station, and the Howland Stone Store Museum in Sherwood, NY. Readings include classic slave narratives by Frederick Douglass, Equiano, Mary Prince, and Solomon Northup and histories of the Underground Railroad by Eric Foner and Kate Clifford Larson.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Gerard Aching (gla23)
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AMST 3452 The Myth of America

This course understands "myth" in the sense of "ideological construction."  So we'll be examining the intellectual and cultural life of Americans, over the last two centuries. The emphasis will be on identity, at both the personal and national level. We'll explore the ways in which different versions of "American Culture" have been constructed and contested. Central themes and subjects include individualism, militarism, belonging, technology, philosophy, and art, in addition to race, class, and gender. What cultural baggage are you carrying when you refer to "America" or "Americans"?  Over the years, has the idea of "America" been more unifying or more divisive?

Distribution: (HA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Aaron Sachs (as475)
Full details for AMST 3452 : The Myth of America
AMST 3461 Introduction to African American Cinema

This course explores the rich and diverse history of African American filmmaking.  Focusing on films written and/or directed by African Americans, this seminar traces the history of filmmaking from the silent era to the present day.  In exploring Black cultural production and creative expression, students will consider the ways in which film is used as a medium of protest, resistance, and cultural affirmation.  We will look at films through the critical lenses of race and representation in American cinema while locating our analysis within larger frameworks of Hollywood's representation of African Americans and various cultural and social movements within local and global contexts.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Samantha Sheppard (sns87)
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AMST 3515 Blaxploitation Film and Photography

Blaxploitation films of the 1970s are remembered for their gigantic Afros, enormous guns, slammin' soundtracks, sex, drugs, nudity, and violence. Never before or since have so many African American performers been featured in starring roles. Macho male images were projected alongside strong, yet sexually submissive female ones. But how did these images affect the roles that black men and women played on and off the screen and the portrayal of the black body in contemporary society? This interdisciplinary course explores the range of ideas and methods used by critical thinkers in addressing the body in art, film, photography and the media. We will consider how the display of the black body affects how we see and interpret the world by examining the construction of beauty, fashion, hairstyles and gendered images as well as sexuality, violence, race, and hip-hop culture.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Cheryl Finley (cf86)
Full details for AMST 3515 : Blaxploitation Film and Photography
AMST 3533 Screen and Story: Script Analysis

This course will consider the history, theory and craft of feature film screenwriting. We will examine the vital elements of effective motion picture narrative (protagonist, pathos, objective, action), along with structural principles, genre conventions and emerging non-linear ideas. This is primarily a readings course (history/theory/criticism rubric), which will address effective screenwriting in a cultural and critical context.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Austin Bunn (ab2346)
Full details for AMST 3533 : Screen and Story: Script Analysis
AMST 3616 Podcast, Radio, Gramophone: Literary Technologies of Sound

How can we account for the contemporary popularity of podcasts? In what ways do they build on, and break from, earlier forms of writing for the ear? In this class we will study innovative podcast fictions like Welcome to Night Vale, Forest 404, and Homecoming together with pathbreaking aural works of the 20th century, from The War of the Worlds to John Cage's Roaratorio and albums by the Firesign Theatre. We will consider the new opportunities and challenges of the podcasting medium, making our own recordings along the way. And we will look at well-known authors — from James Joyce and Dylan Thomas to Ursula Le Guin and Amiri Baraka — who experimented with then-new technologies like the gramophone, radio, audiotape, LP, headphones, the Walkman, and more. 

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jeremy Braddock (jb358)
Full details for AMST 3616 : Podcast, Radio, Gramophone: Literary Technologies of Sound
AMST 3617 Cornell Hip-Hop Collective

This course is open to experienced rappers, beatmakers, and vocalists interested forging collaborative relationships with other students. The fall semester will center on hip-hop's relationship to social justice. From the beginning of the semester, we will work together to plan and record a thematic album. As we develop this project, we will construct and analyze playlists that explore how hip-hop historically grew out of racialized struggle and how it is and could be used to comment on and challenge systemic racism today. We will identify and employ hip-hop compositional strategies for creating socially engaged beats and rhymes, including musical sampling and lyrical intertextuality, and will use these tools to create and workshop collaborative tracks in weekly meetings. Spring semester topic: TBD.

Academic Career: UG Full details for AMST 3617 : Cornell Hip-Hop Collective
AMST 3675 The Environmental Imagination in American Literature

This course focuses on works that exemplify environmental consciousness—a sense that humans are not the center of the world and that to think they are may have catastrophic consequences for humans themselves. Environmental literature is not just a major strand of American literature but one of its most distinctive contributions to the literature of the world. We will be reading works mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries, both poetry and fiction, confronting the challenges of thinking and writing with an ecological consciousness in the 21st. Cornell being a rich environment in which to pursue such investigations, creative projects will be encouraged. Inspiration is assured.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: George Hutchinson (gbh33)
Full details for AMST 3675 : The Environmental Imagination in American Literature
AMST 3687 The US and the Middle East

This seminar examines the history of the United States' involvement with Middle East beginning with evangelical efforts in the 19th century and President Wilson's engagement with the colonial powers in the early 20th century during and after WWI. The discovery of vast Middle Eastern oil reserves and the retreat of the colonial powers from the region following WWII drew successive US administrations ever deeper into Middle Eastern politics. In due course the US became entrenched in the post-colonial political imagination as heir to the British and the French especially as it challenged the Soviet Union for influence in the region during the Cold War. And that only takes the story to the mid-1950s and the Eisenhower administration. Our discussions will be based on secondary readings and primary sources as we interrogate the tension between realist and idealist policies toward the Middle East and trace how these tensions play out in subsequent developments including the origins and trajectory of the US strategic alliances with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey and conflict with Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the two Gulf Wars.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ross Brann (rb23)
Full details for AMST 3687 : The US and the Middle East
AMST 3707 Hidden Identities Onscreen

From White Chicks to Blackkklansman, American film has often depicted characters who conceal their race or gender, like black male cops "passing" as wealthy white women. This class will examine how Hollywood has depicted race and gender "passing" from the early 20th century to the present. While tracing common themes across films, we will also study the ideological role of passing films: how they thrill audiences by challenging social boundaries and hierarchies, only to reestablish familiar boundaries by the end. We will not treat these films as accurate depictions of real-world passing, but rather as cultural tools that help audiences to manage ideological contradictions about race, gender, sexuality, and class. Students will finish the course by creating their own short films about passing.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jonathan Branfman (jrb557)
Full details for AMST 3707 : Hidden Identities Onscreen
AMST 3717 Sitcom Jews: Ethnic Representation on Television and on Stage

"Sitcom Jews" uses close media analysis, theoretical discussion, and student performances or media projects to examine the representation of Jews on television and on the Broadway stage from 1948-2017. We'll ask whether study of performed Jewish identity can serve as a locus for discussion of cultural representation at large, including African American, Latinx, Asian American and LGBT communities on screen and onstage. Starting with classic sitcoms ("The Goldbergs" (1948), "All in the Family", and "Bridget Loves Bernie"), and continuing through current Jewish TV shows ("The Marvelous Ms. Maisel", "Transparent", "Curb Your Enthusiasm"), as well as major theater landmarks ("Fiddler on the Roof", "Cabaret", "Bad Jews", "Indecent"), we will compare these constructed media images to concurrent political, historical and cultural trends.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Winitsky (daw2)
Full details for AMST 3717 : Sitcom Jews: Ethnic Representation on Television and on Stage
AMST 3720 Food, Gender, and Culture

In addition to nourishing the body, food operates as a cultural system that produces and reflects group and individual identities. In this class we will examine foodways-the behaviors and beliefs attached to the production, distribution, and consumption of food-to explore the way food practices help shape our sense of gender, race, sexual orientation, and national identity. In doing so we will focus primarily on literature and film but will also range into the fields of anthropology, sociology, and history. Some questions under discussion: How do factors such as gender, class, race, and religion shape the foods we eat and the circumstances in which we eat them? How do writers use the language of food to explore issues such as gender, sexuality, class, and race?

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kate McCullough (mkm23)
Full details for AMST 3720 : Food, Gender, and Culture
AMST 3754 Spoken Word, Hip-Hop Theater, and the Politics of Performance

In this course, we will critically examine the production and performance of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender through literature and contemporary performance genres such as spoken word, slam poetry, and hip-hop theatre.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Karen Jaime (kj12)
Full details for AMST 3754 : Spoken Word, Hip-Hop Theater, and the Politics of Performance
AMST 3760 American Cinema since 1968

In 1968, amongst cultural and political turmoil, the American film industry adopted the ratings system, which helped usher in the kinds of cinema we know today. This course focuses on developments in U.S. cinema since then: its politics, technological and economic transformations, relationship to other media, and changing ways in which people consume it. A main focus will be the aesthetic developments of films themselves: new and changing genres, new visual styles, new ways of storytelling, and ways in which new voices and visions have emerged. Weekly screenings will include mainstream, independent, and documentary films. The course can be taken as a complement to "American Cinema" (AMST 2760) or independently.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sabine Haenni (sh322)
Full details for AMST 3760 : American Cinema since 1968
AMST 3762 Law, Latinxs, Illegality

The Latinx experience in the United States is, too often, predominantly shaped by law, state power, and police action. Drawing from a theoretical and methodological toolkit developed within the anthropology of law, this course considers how a spurious condition of illegality and the constitution of Latinxs as a population presumably in need, as  scholars Flores and Yúdice argued in a seminal 1990 article, have shaped individual and collective life among them and their communities. Although immigration is salient among the issues we will examine, it will not be the only one and we will stress how it articulates with multiple sociocultural and legal domains to suffuse and inform a variety of processes.

Distribution: (CA-AS, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Vilma Santiago-Irizarry (vs23)
Full details for AMST 3762 : Law, Latinxs, Illegality
AMST 3785 Civil Disobedience

This course examines controversies in the theory and history of civil disobedience. Do citizens have obligations to obey unjust laws? Can law breaking ever be civil rather than criminal? Do disruptive protests endanger democracy or strengthen the rule of law? How do acts of protest influence public opinion and policy? How is the distinction between violence and nonviolence politically constructed and contested? We will study classical writings and contemporary scholarship in pursuit of answers to these questions and related debates concerning the rule of law, conscientious objection, the uses of civility and incivility, punishment and responsibility, as well as whistleblowing, direct action, strikes, sabotage, hacktivism, and rioting.

Distribution: (KCM-AS, ETM-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Alexander Livingston (pal229)
Full details for AMST 3785 : Civil Disobedience
AMST 3854 Special Topics in Regional Development and Globalization

This course addresses pertinent issues relative to the subject of regional development and globalization. Topics vary each semester.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Daniella Fridl (df296)
Full details for AMST 3854 : Special Topics in Regional Development and Globalization
AMST 3980 Independent Research

Affords opportunities for students to carry out independent research under appropriate supervision. Each student is expected to review pertinent literature, prepare a project outline, conduct the research, and prepare a report. Topic and credit hours TBD as arranged between faculty and student.

Academic Career: UG Full details for AMST 3980 : Independent Research
AMST 3990 Readings in American Studies

Individualized readings for junior and senior students. Topics, requirements, and credit hours will be determined in consultation between the student and the supervising faculty member.

Academic Career: UG Full details for AMST 3990 : Readings in American Studies
AMST 4002 Diasporic and Indigenous Health

Rates of chronic disease and other health conditions, including mental illness and substance use disorders, have surged over the past three decades, owing largely to structural factors associated with the fragmentation of national healthcare systems, diminished social support networks, and government subsidization of unhealthy foods and hazardous pharmaceuticals. These issues are especially amplified in ethnoracial communities: for example, Blacks and Latinos typically have higher rates of disease in comparison to their non-Black counterparts, even after adjusting for factors such as income and education level. This course investigates the complex political, economic and cultural forces which contribute to health inequities. Students will be exposed to case studies throughout various diasporas—from Harlem to Cape Town—to understand the intricate ways in which race and health interact.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jerel Ezell (jme246)
Full details for AMST 4002 : Diasporic and Indigenous Health
AMST 4012 Labor, Class and Race in American Politics

This course examines working class politics in the United States, as it has developed historically and as it exists today, including the ideas and institutions of industrial democracy, the participatory and civic influence of union, contemporary alt-labor politics, and more. Integrated throughout the course is an attention to the complex and contradictory history of racial politics inside and outside the labor movement and broader working class, as well as gendered constructions of 'labor' in cultural forms and legal and workplace institutions. The course material is rooted in the discipline of political science, but draws extensively on history and law as well.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Bateman (dab465)
Full details for AMST 4012 : Labor, Class and Race in American Politics
AMST 4021 American Conservative Thought

American conservative thought rests on assumptions that are strikingly different from those made by mainstream American liberals.  However, conservative thinkers are themselves committed to principles that are both quite varied and sometimes contradictory.  This course examines the assumptions upon which rest the libertarian, market/economic, and cultural/traditional strains of American conservatism and asks whether the tensions between them weaken or strengthen conservative thought as an alternative to mainstream liberalism.

Distribution: (KCM-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Richard Bensel (rfb2)
Full details for AMST 4021 : American Conservative Thought
AMST 4040 Fictions of Dictatorship

Fictions of dictatorship, as termed by scholar Lucy Burns, denote both the narratives and spectacles produced by authoritarian governments and the performances, events, and cultural objects that work against these states of exception. This course will critically examine histories of dictatorships, through both documentary & creative forms (i.e. novels, memoirs, and performance) and with a geographic focus on Asia and Latin America, in order to understand authoritarian returns in our present historical moment.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christine Balance (cbb84)
Full details for AMST 4040 : Fictions of Dictatorship
AMST 4066 Technological Change at Work

Computers and digital technologies including robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), internet-enabled platforms, and other "high-tech" drivers of automation have revolutionized the nature and organization of work in the U.S., with material implications for workers and their families, among others. This upper-level seminar begins with a rhetorical inquiry into whether and when the technological change engendered by digitization and the so-called "Information Technology (IT) Revolution" benefits workers. We then consider the broader impact of recent technological advances on manufacturing and fabrication, low- and semi-skilled service work, i.e., restaurant servers and bus drivers, and even on expert and professional work like that to which most of you presumably aspire. Among the central themes is the notion that technology does not unilaterally act upon workers, their employers, or society-at-large. Rather, workers, managers, customers, institutions, and policymakers shape which advances take hold and which do not, the ways that these technologies are deployed in the workplace, and the ways that society can actively mitigate the costs to technological advancement while harnessing its benefits.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Adam Seth Litwin (al2284)
Full details for AMST 4066 : Technological Change at Work
AMST 4123 Archipelagoes: Cartographies of Race, Sound, and Sexuality

Considering the archipelagic turn, this course takes a transnational approach to geographies, ecologies, literatures, and cultures of island chains. How are archipelagoes understood in relations of power to the mainland? Taking up Michelle Stephens and Brian Roberts "Archipelagic American Studies" students will depart from the conventional and continental definition of the United States and center a hemispheric approach to the Americas. Students will also consider the soundscapes of island cartographies and how gender and sexuality is mapped onto the land. How do island formations provide a framework for understanding militarization, Indigenous sovereignty, creolization, extractive capitalism, and imperialism? Archival analysis as well as experimentation with digital cartography and DJ'ing tools to produce original research theorizing islands will be part of the final project.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Tao Goffe (tlg92)
Full details for AMST 4123 : Archipelagoes: Cartographies of Race, Sound, and Sexuality
AMST 4212 Black Women's Autobiography in the 21st Century WritingHerStory

Black women first began to shape the genre of autobiography during antebellum era slavery. They were prolific in developing the genre of autobiography throughout the twentieth century, to the point of emerging as serial autobiographers in the case of Maya Angelou. Significantly, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings(1970), the first autobiography of six by Angelou, along with autobiographies by a range of other black women writers, helped to launch the renaissance in black women's literature and criticism in African American literature during the 1970s. In this course, we will focus on how black women have continued to write and share their personal stories in the new millennium by examining autobiographies that they have produced in the first years of the twenty-first century. More broadly, we will consider the impact of this writing on twenty-first century African American literature, as well as African diasporan writing in Africa and the Caribbean. In the process, we will draw on a range of critical and theoretical perspectives.  We will read memoirs and autobiographies by a range of figures, including Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lewis, Monica Coleman, Serena Williams, Gabrielle Union, and Tiffany Haddish, among others. 

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Riche Richardson (rdr83)
Full details for AMST 4212 : Black Women's Autobiography in the 21st Century WritingHerStory
AMST 4321 A Dilemma Revisited: African Americans, Inequality and K-16 Education in America

Using film, legal history, memoir, sociology and social history, this research-based seminar will focus on the historical and contemporary state of education in both the production and amelioration of social inequality.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Noliwe Rooks (nmr67)
Full details for AMST 4321 : A Dilemma Revisited: African Americans, Inequality and K-16 Education in America
AMST 4603 Black Speculative Fiction

This course takes up literatures and arts of Black speculation in the broadest terms, from science fiction and fantasy to Afrofuturism and Afropunk to Phillis Wheatley's and Outkast's poetics. We'll give special attention to speculation in African American literature to think through how Black people used art in the midst of anti-blackness to imagine worlds otherwise and for the pleasure of the craft. We'll read Black speculation through multiple forms, including novels, graphic novels, film, and music. Figures for consideration include William J. Wilson ("Ethiop), Pauline Hopkins, Frances E. W. Harper, W. E. B. Du Bois, Octavia Butler, Ryan Coogler, Eve Ewing, N.K. Jemisin, Sun Ra, and Erykah Badu.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Derrick Spires (drs385)
Full details for AMST 4603 : Black Speculative Fiction
AMST 4733 The Future of Whiteness

How should anti-racist people respond to the new racialized white identities that have emerged recently in Europe and the United States? What alternative conceptions of whiteness are available? How can we form cross-racial progressive coalitions? How should we understand the nature of our social identities and what they make possible? This course is a wide-ranging introduction to these questions with readings drawn from social and cultural theory, as well as literature and film. Films include Get Out and I Am Not Your Negro, as well as such Hollywood classics as Imitation of Life. Texts by such writers as James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Danzy Senna and Dorothy Allison, as well as relevant anthropological and social-theoretical work (Strangers in Their Own Land, Whiteness of a Different Color) and memoirs of anti-racist activists. A central text will be the recent book The Future of Whiteness by the Latina feminist scholar Linda Martin Alcoff.

Distribution: (CA-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Satya Mohanty (spm5)
Full details for AMST 4733 : The Future of Whiteness
AMST 4993 Honors Essay Tutorial I

To graduate with honors, AMST majors must complete a senior thesis under the supervision of an AMST faculty member and defend that thesis orally before a committee. Students interested in the honors program should consult the AMST Director of Undergraduate Study during the junior year and submit an honors application by May 1 of the junior year.

Academic Career: UG Full details for AMST 4993 : Honors Essay Tutorial I
AMST 4998 Inquiry in Politics and Policy

This required course forms the core of the Cornell in Washington academic program. The foundational skill of both politics and policy is taking knowledge, analyzing it, figuring out how to convert it into action. This course aims to give students the experience and understanding of how this process of knowledge into action works. Students will undertake a substantial research project in a topic related to or affected by politics and/or policy (broadly defined), and examine it through a variety of approaches and disciplines. The main goal is to understand the issue, analyze what is going on, and evaluate what options are available to respond.  The idea is to not only define and examine the issue, but also think how to create and implement a solution. To do this, students will examine their issue using multiple different forms of inquiry (normative, empirical, and policy analysis) to see what each of those reveal as well as to see how the choice of how they investigate it shapes their results. CAPS students must do a topic that is related to Asia. GPHS students must do a topic that is related to public health.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Silbey (ds90)
Full details for AMST 4998 : Inquiry in Politics and Policy
AMST 6052 Readings in Latinx History

This course introduces graduate students to a broad selection of works in the field of Latinx History.  The seminar has several goals: (1) to provide a broad overview of important works in the field (2) introduce students to recent scholarly works that might help students prepare for candidacy exams and doctoral research; (3) expose students to different historical questions, methodologies, and approaches to historical writing; (4) provide an opportunity for graduate students to either write a bibliographic essay or research and write an article length essay of original scholarship; and (5) prepare students to teach Latinx history or draw on this history for courses in other disciplines.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Maria Cristina Garcia (mcg20)
Full details for AMST 6052 : Readings in Latinx History
AMST 6201 The United States Congress

The United States Congress will be examined: first, as a "closed system" in which institutional arrangements decisively apportion political power; and, second, as the product of electoral and social forces outside the institution. Emphasis will be placed on the historical relationship between institutional growth and state formation, parliamentary rules as both arrangements within which the "rational choices" of legislators are played out and as deliberate, constructions and allocations of political influence, and the use of legislative behavior as evidence in the analysis of fundamental principles of politics. Because the literature on the lower chamber is generally more rich, the House of Representatives will receive greater attention than the Senate.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: David Bateman (dab465)
Full details for AMST 6201 : The United States Congress
AMST 6612 Minoritarian Aesthetics In/And Performance

What are minoritarian aesthetics? How do these inform the production and reception of performance, broadly defined? How does attending to the aesthetics involved in the production of artistic and cultural productions open up new ways of critically understanding the world around us? In seeking to answer these questions, and others, this seminar will introduce graduate students to theories and critiques that attend to the aesthetic dimensions of visual culture, scripted staged performances, performance art, and contemporary media created by Black, queer, Asian, Caribbean, and Latinx/Latin people. Drawing on the work of theorists Fred Moten, José Esteban Muñoz, Leticia Alvarado, and Sandra Ruiz amongst others, students will interrogate the dialectical relationship between the artist's subject position and their resultant creative and critical work.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Karen Jaime (kj12)
Full details for AMST 6612 : Minoritarian Aesthetics In/And Performance
AMST 6733 The Future of Whiteness

How should anti-racist people respond to the new racialized white identities that have emerged recently in Europe and the United States?  What alternative conceptions of whiteness are available? How can we form cross-racial progressive coalitions? How should we understand the nature of our social identities and what they make possible?  This course is a wide-ranging introduction to these questions with readings drawn from social and cultural theory, as well as literature and film. Films include Get Out and I Am Not Your Negro, as well as such Hollywood classics as Imitation of Life. Texts by such writers as James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Danzy Senna and Dorothy Allison, as well as relevant anthropological and social-theoretical work (Strangers in Their Own Land, Whiteness of a Different Color) and memoirs of anti-racist activists.  A central text will be the recent book The Future of Whiteness by the Latina feminist scholar Linda Martin Alcoff.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Satya Mohanty (spm5)
Full details for AMST 6733 : The Future of Whiteness
AMST 6762 Law, Latinxs, Illegality

The Latinx experience in the United States is, too often, predominantly shaped by law, state power, and police action. Drawing from a theoretical and methodological toolkit developed within the anthropology of law, this course considers how a spurious condition of illegality and the constitution of Latinxs as a population presumably in need, as  scholars Flores and Yúdice argued in a seminal 1990 article, have shaped individual and collective life among them and their communities. Although immigration is salient among the issues we will examine, it will not be the only one and we will stress how it articulates with multiple sociocultural and legal domains to suffuse and inform a variety of processes.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Vilma Santiago-Irizarry (vs23)
Full details for AMST 6762 : Law, Latinxs, Illegality