Courses - Spring 2020

AMST 1101 Introduction to American Studies

This course is an introduction to interdisciplinary considerations of American culture. Specific topics may change from year to year and may include questions of national consensus versus native, immigrant and racial subcultures and countercultures; industrialization and the struggles over labor; the rise of leisure; the transformation of (the frequently gendered) public and private spheres; the relationship between politics and culture; the development and distinctions among consumer culture, mass culture and popular culture. These themes will be examined through a variety of media, such as literature, historical writing, music, art, film, architecture, etc. The course will also give attention to the many methods through which scholars have, over time, developed the discipline of American Studies.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Noliwe Rooks (nmr67)
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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)
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 1141 FWS: Queer Identity and U.S. Popular Music

Why did disco music emerge in gay, black communities? How did lesbians use punk music for political expression? From Dolly Parton to Prince, from Bikini Kill to Big Freedia, we will explore how individuals use musical performance and fandom to navigate and express non-normative gender and sexual identities and desires. A wide range of U.S. popular music from the 20th and 21st centuries will help us to understand facets of LGBTQ experience and the various, and even contradictory, meanings of "queer." We will explore ways to think and write about musical sound by reading a variety of texts (music criticism, historical texts, blogs, zines, and scholarly articles), in developing personal narratives and essay projects, and through a hands-on podcast project.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Lee Tyson (lkt34)
Full details for AMST 1141 : FWS: Queer Identity and U.S. Popular Music
AMST 1312 History of Rock Music

This course examines the development and cultural significance of rock music from its origins in blues, gospel, and Tin Pan Alley up to alternative rock and hip hop. The course concludes with the year 2000.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Judith Peraino (jap28)
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AMST 1350 Introduction to Cultural Analytics: Data, Computation, and Culture

This course will prepare students in the humanities to analyze, interpret, and visualize cultural data with computational methods. After a basic introduction to the programming language Python, we will cover topics such as data collection and curation through web scraping and data retrieval, text mining, image analysis, network analysis, and data visualization. We will survey and discuss how these computational tools are applied in humanistic research. We will also reflect on the specific problems, challenges, and ethical dilemmas posed by the computational study of culture.

Distribution: (MQR-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Melanie Walsh (mpw82)
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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)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Carole Boyce Davies (ceb278)
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AMST 1540 American Capitalism

This course studies the history of American capitalism. It helps you to answer these questions: What is capitalism? Is the U.S. more capitalist than other countries? How has capitalism shaped the history of the United States? Has it been a force for freedom, or is it a system of exploitation? What is its future? Through lectures, readings, and discussions, we'll give you the tools to win all your future arguments about capitalism, pro and con. And we won't even charge you the full market price.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Edward Baptist (eeb36)
Lawrence Glickman (lbg49)
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AMST 1601 Indigenous Issues in Global Perspectives

This course attends to the contemporary issues, contexts and experiences of Indigenous peoples. Students will develop a substantive understanding of colonialism and engage in the parallels and differences of its histories, forms, and effects on Indigenous peoples globally.  Contemporary Indigenous theorists, novelists, visual artists and historians have a prominent place in the course, highlighting social/environmental philosophies, critical responses to and forms of resistance toward neocolonial political and economic agendas and the fundamental concern for Indigenous self determination, among other topics.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Karim-Aly Kassam (ksk28)
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AMST 1850 Thinking about History with the Manson Murders

On August 9-10, 1969, ex-convict, aspiring rock star, and charismatic leader Charles Manson ordered his so-called Family to brutally murder a few of LA's rich, white, "beautiful people" and leave clues implicating black radicals. The idea was to trigger an apocalyptic race war he called "Helter Skelter" (after a song by The Beatles). Today, these murders stand as the most infamous in twentieth-century U.S. criminal history and as synecdoche for the "end of the Sixties." They have also spawned a veritable Manson Industry in the popular realm: there are now Manson books, movies, TV shows, documentaries, podcasts, websites, music, comics, t-shirts, and even a tourist attraction (the Hollywood "Helter Skelter" tour). This course analyzes the history of the Manson murders as well as their incredible resonance in American culture over the past half century. Who was Charles Manson and who were the members of the Family? What was the Family's relation to the counterculture, to Hollywood, Vietnam, the Black Panther Party, and environmentalism? How might we fit the Manson murders into the long history of apocalyptic violence and terror? And what does it mean that the Manson murders have occupied our collective imagination for fifty years? To answer these and other questions, we will analyze a variety of sources including television and newspaper reports, trial transcripts, true crime writing, memoirs, interviews, novels, films and documentaries, podcasts and pop songs.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Claudia Verhoeven (cv89)
Full details for AMST 1850 : Thinking about History with the Manson Murders
AMST 2000 Introduction to Visual Studies

This course introduces the field of Visual Studies.  Visual Studies seeks to define and improve our visual relationship to nature and culture after the modern surge in technology and knowledge.  It contains objects, images, and problems that lie beyond the Art History and experimental science, yet is grown from both cultures.  It teaches the physical and legal limits of human, animal, and machine vision, how knowledge and power get into images, how spectacle drives the economy, and techniques of analysis that can deliver fresh perspectives across disciplines.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Andrew Moisey (am2798)
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AMST 2001 The First American University

Educational historian Frederick Rudolph called Cornell University "the first American university," referring to its unique role as a coeducational, nonsectarian, land-grant institution with a broad curriculum and diverse student body. In this course, we will explore the history of Cornell, taking as our focus the pledge of Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White to found a university where "any person can find instruction in any study." The course will cover a wide range of topics and perspectives relating to the faculty, student body, evolution of campus, and important events and eras in Cornell history. Stories and vignettes will provide background on the current university and its administrative structure, campus traditions, and the names that adorn buildings and memorials throughout campus. Finally, the course will offer a forum for students to address questions on present-day aspects of the university.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Corey Earle (cre8)
Shirley Samuels (srs8)
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AMST 2016 Understanding Global Capitalism Through Service Learning

This course is a seminar focused on a service-learning approach to understanding the history of neoliberal transformations of the global economy through the lens of an island (Jamaica) and a community (Petersfield.) Building on the success of previous year's global service-learning course and trip to Petersfield, and now bringing the course under the auspices of both the Engaged Cornell and Cornell Abroad administrative and funding capabilities. Students will attend class each week and will also take a one-week service trip over spring break to work with the local community partner (AOC) in Petersfield. We will also work with Amizade, a non-profit based in Pittsburgh, who is the well-established partner of the AOC and which works with numerous universities on global service learning projects. They have a close relationship with CU Engaged Learning.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Edward Baptist (eeb36)
Full details for AMST 2016 : Understanding Global Capitalism Through Service Learning
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)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Lawrence Glickman (lbg49)
Full details for AMST 2220 : From the New Deal to the Age of Reagan
AMST 2251 U.S. Immigration Narratives

Americans are conflicted about immigration. We honor and celebrate (and commercialize) our immigrant heritage in museums, folklife festivals, parades, pageants, and historical monuments. We also build fences and detention centers, and pass more and more laws to bar access to the United States. Polls tell us that Americans are concerned about the capacity of the United States to absorb so many immigrants from around the world. How often have we heard the laments "Today's immigrants are too different. They don't want to assimilate" or "My grandparents learned English quickly, why can't they?" The assumption is that older generations 'Americanized' quickly but that today's immigrants do not want to assimilate. Did 19th century immigrants really migrate to the United States to "become Americans"? Did they really assimilate quickly? Are today's immigrants really all that different from the immigrants who arrived earlier? Why do these particular narratives have such power and currency? This seminar will explore these issues and help students discern fact from fiction. 

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Maria Cristina Garcia (mcg20)
Full details for AMST 2251 : U.S. Immigration Narratives
AMST 2335 Making Public Queer History

In this course we will examine LGBTQ+ history in the United States with a focus on its recovery and public representation—what are the stakes of researching, preserving, and commemorating the LGBTQ+ past? We will investigate how archival, scholarly, curatorial, and creative practices shape popular conceptions of LGBTQ+ life, politics, and culture, and how those practices and conceptions have changed with evolving understandings of race, gender, sexuality, and oppression. Students will build skills in archival research and historical interpretation and explore possibilities and challenges in building archives and presenting LGBTQ+ history in a variety of public contexts—museums, libraries, monuments, movies and television, and community-based oral history projects. For their final project, students will locate and research a selection of archival materials (periodicals, letters, pamphlets, songs, advertisements, etc.) either online or at Cornell Library's Rare and Manuscript Collections, producing a final research paper and a proposal for a public history project.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Vider (sv484)
Full details for AMST 2335 : Making Public Queer History
AMST 2391 From Terra Incognita to Territories of Nation-States: Early American History in Two Dozen Maps

This course engages the rich cartographic record of colonial North America via an in-depth analysis of two dozen iconic maps.  Integrating visual and textual analysis, students will assess human representations of space across cultural boundaries, explore change over time in the mapmaking practices of indigenous peoples and various European intruders, and study the evolving relationship between cartography and power, attending particularly to the process by which mapping promoted a revolutionary new understanding of American geography as composed of the bounded territories of nation-states.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jon Parmenter (jwp35)
Full details for AMST 2391 : From Terra Incognita to Territories of Nation-States: Early American History in Two Dozen Maps
AMST 2581 Environmental History

This lecture course serves as an introduction to the historical study of humanity's interrelationship with the natural world. Environmental history is a quickly evolving field, taking on increasing importance as the environment itself becomes increasingly important in world affairs. During this semester, we'll examine the sometimes unexpected ways in which "natural" forces have shaped human history (the role of germs, for instance, in the colonization of North America); the ways in which human beings have shaped the natural world (through agriculture, urbanization, and industrialization, as well as the formation of things like wildlife preserves); and the ways in which cultural, scientific, political, and philosophical attitudes toward the environment have changed over time. This is designed as an intensely interdisciplinary course: we'll view history through the lenses of ecology, literature, art, film, law, anthropology, and geography. Our focus will be on the United States, but, just as environmental pollutants cross borders, so too will this class, especially toward the end, when we attempt to put U.S. environmental history into a geopolitical context. This course is meant to be open to all, including non-majors and first-year students.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Aaron Sachs (as475)
Full details for AMST 2581 : Environmental History
AMST 2620 Introduction to Asian American Literature

This course will introduce both a variety of writings by Asian North American authors and some critical issues concerning the production and reception of Asian American texts. Working primarily with novels, we will be asking questions about the relation between literary forms and the socio-historical context within which they take on their meanings, and about the historical formation of Asian American identities.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sunn Wong (ssw6)
Full details for AMST 2620 : Introduction to Asian American Literature
AMST 2645 Race and Modern US History

This course surveys modern U.S. history, from Reconstruction to the contemporary period. It will examine how race has been the terrain on which competing ideas of the American nation have been contested. From struggles over citizenship rights to broader meanings of national belonging, we will explore how practices, ideas, and representations have shaped political, cultural, and social power. A key concern for this course is examining how groups and individuals have pursued racial justice from the late-nineteenth century to the present.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Derek Chang (dsc37)
Full details for AMST 2645 : Race and Modern US History
AMST 2650 Introduction to African American Literature

This course will introduce students to the African American literary tradition. Through aesthetic and contextual approaches, we will consider how African American life and culture has defined and constituted the United States of America. From slave narratives to Hip-Hop music, we will trace the range of artistic conventions and cultural movements while paying close attention to broader historical shifts in American life over the past three centuries. We will ask: How do authors create and define a tradition? What are some of the recurring themes and motifs within this tradition? Authors will include: David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Claudia Rankine, and Chimamanda Adichie.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Derrick Spires (drs385)
Full details for AMST 2650 : Introduction to African American Literature
AMST 2655 Latinos in the United States

Exploration and analysis of the Hispanic experience in the United States. Examines the sociohistorical background and economic, psychological, and political factors that converge to shape a Latino group identity in the United States. Perspectives are suggested and developed for understanding Hispanic migrations, the plight of Latinos in urban and rural areas, and the unique problems faced by the diverse Latino groups. Groups studied include Mexican Americans, Dominicans, Cubans, and Puerto Ricans.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Hector Velez (hv13)
Full details for AMST 2655 : Latinos in the United States
AMST 2660 Everything You Know About Indians is Wrong: Unlearning Native American History

One thing many Americans think they know is their Indians: Pocahontas, the First Thanksgiving, fighting cowboys, reservation poverty, and casino riches. Under our very noses, however, Native American history has evolved into one of the most exciting, dynamic, and contentious fields of inquiry into America's past. It is now safer to assume, as Comanche historian Paul Chaat Smith has pointed out, that everything you know about Indians is in fact wrong. Most people have much to "unlearn" about Native American history before true learning can take place. This course aims to achieve that end by (re)introducing students to key themes and trends in the history of North America's indigenous nations. Employing an issues-oriented approach, the course stresses the ongoing complexity of Native American societies' engagements with varieties of settler colonialism since 1492 and dedicates itself to a concerted program of myth-busting. As such, the course will provide numerous opportunities for students to develop their critical thinking and reading skills.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jon Parmenter (jwp35)
Full details for AMST 2660 : Everything You Know About Indians is Wrong: Unlearning Native American History
AMST 2710 America's Promise: Social and Political Context of American Education

This course is a blending of the Sociology of Education and Public Policy. Front and center in this course is the question of why consistent differential educational and economic outcomes exists in American society. We explore the broad sociological functions of schooling (socialization, sorting, caretaking, training) as well as local, state, and federal policies and court decisions.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: John Sipple (jws28)
Full details for AMST 2710 : America's Promise: Social and Political Context of American Education
AMST 2722 History of Mental Health and Mental Illness in the United States

This course examines the history of mental illness—its conception and treatment—in the United States, from the early 1800s to the present, focusing on four major questions: (1) How have understandings of mental illness been developed and deployed by psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and social workers, and how have those understandings varied across time and place? (2) How have understandings and treatments of mental illness shaped, and been shaped by, conceptions of race, class, gender, and sexuality? (3) In what ways have treatment of mental illness and "social deviance" operated as a form of social control? (4) How do conceptions of mental illness come to circulate in popular culture and everyday life? Pairing historical scholarship with autobiographical writing and case studies from the 1800s to the present, the course moves chronologically in order to track, and draw connections between, a wide range of movements within American psychological and social welfare history, including the creation and closing of mental hospitals, the pathologization of racial, gender, and sexual difference, psychopharmacology, anti-psychiatry, and the politics of diagnosis.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Vider (sv484)
Full details for AMST 2722 : History of Mental Health and Mental Illness in the United States
AMST 2760 American Cinema

From the beginning of the twentieth century to the present moment, movies -- and in particular Hollywood -- have profoundly influenced the ways in which people see, think and talk about the world. Focusing mostly on Hollywood film, this course introduces the study of American cinema from multiple perspectives: as an economy and mode of production; as an art form that produces particular aesthetic styles; as a cultural institution that comments on contemporary issues and allows people to socialize. We will consider the rise of Hollywood in the age of mass production; the star system; the introduction of sound and the function of the soundtrack; Hollywood's rivalry with television; censorship; the rise of independent film, etc. Weekly screenings introduce major American genres (e.g. science fiction, film noir, the musical) and directors (e.g. Hitchcock, Kubrick, Tarantino).

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sabine Haenni (sh322)
Full details for AMST 2760 : American Cinema
AMST 2841 Viruses- Humans-Viral Politics (Social History and Cultural Politics of HIV & AIDS)

This course explores what has been termed "the modern plague."  It investigates the social history, cultural politics, biological processes, and global impacts of the retrovirus, HIV, and the disease syndrome, AIDS. It engages material from multiple fields: life sciences, social sciences, & humanities as well as media reports, government documents, activist art, and community-based documentaries. It explores various meanings and life-experiences of HIV & AIDS; examines conflicting understandings of health, disease, the body; investigates political struggles over scientific research, biomedical & public health interventions, and cultural representations; and queries how HIV vulnerability is shaped by systems of power and inequality. As well, we come to learn about the practices, the politics, and the ethics of life and care that arise in "the age of epidemic."

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christopher Roebuck (cr566)
Full details for AMST 2841 : Viruses- Humans-Viral Politics (Social History and Cultural Politics of HIV & AIDS)
AMST 2870 Freedom Writes: Literature of Global Justice Struggles

This course examines some major justice movements of the modern era, introducing students to a submerged history that should neither be idealized nor forgotten. One goal will be to connect the ongoing struggles for social justice of minoritized populations in the US with the history of struggles for justice by workers, women, and disempowered social groups across the world. We'll begin with the work of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Gandhi, and conclude with a look at contemporary activist movements.  Along the way, we'll look at such cultural forms as AIDS quilts, urban murals, the music of Bob Marley, and theatrical productions from prisons, as well as Anna Deveare Smith's Twilight L.A. and Helena Viramontes' novel Under the Feet of Jesus.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Mary Pat Brady (mpb23)
Helena Viramontes (hmv2)
Full details for AMST 2870 : Freedom Writes: Literature of Global Justice Struggles
AMST 2983 American Shakespeare
Academic Career: UG Instructor: John O'Connor (jo267)
Full details for AMST 2983 : American Shakespeare
AMST 3065 Immigrant America: Race and Citizenship in Modern Working-Class History

Immigration discourse and policy has played a central role in shaping the modern American nation-state, including its composition, values, and institutions. This course begins in the late nineteenth century, defining it as a pivotal moment in U.S. immigration and labor history when efforts to regulate immigrant entry and naturalization became increasingly bureaucratized. As part of the course we will examine the causes and consequences of working-class migration to the United States from a comparative historical, ethno-racial, class-based, and gendered perspective. We will also address questions regarding the perceived benefit and cost of immigration at both the national and local (i.e., community) levels. In this sense, we will explore the economic, social, cultural, and political impact immigrants have had on the United States over time. Finally, we will consider how immigrants have negotiated the pressures of their new surroundings, and challenged dominant conceptions of American national identity and citizenship in the process.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Veronica Martinez-Matsuda (vm248)
Full details for AMST 3065 : Immigrant America: Race and Citizenship in Modern Working-Class History
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)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Silbey (ds90)
Full details for AMST 3071 : Enduring Global and American Issues
AMST 3072 The U.S. Constitution: Crisis, Change and Legitimacy

Since its ratification the U.S. Federal Constitution has been a fixed element of the American experience. And yet the meaning Americans attribute to the document—from its structural and rights provisions to its basic ethical project—has been subject to intense debate and change. This class takes an historical approach to explore periods of sustained crisis in the constitutional order—from the founding and the Civil War to the Great Depression and the Civil Rights Movement. In the process, special attention will be paid to the techniques of constitutional interpretation and judicial doctrine as well as to constitutional struggle outside the judiciary. We will also assess broader questions of inclusion, democratic legitimacy, and institutional design. The course will end by engaging with the relationship between the present and those earlier periods of crisis.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Aziz Rana (ar643)
Full details for AMST 3072 : The U.S. Constitution: Crisis, Change and Legitimacy
AMST 3112 Congress and the Legislative Process

The course will be a lecture course on Congress, introducing them to the political science literature on the topic and the major research questions and approaches. We will examine the development of the institution, including formal theories for congressional organization as well as historically and politically oriented accounts of rule changes, committee power, and party influence. We will also look at the determinants of legislative productivity and gridlock, approaches to measuring and analyzing congressional behavior, the changing role of the electoral connection, and the causes and consequences of polarization.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Bateman (dab465)
Full details for AMST 3112 : Congress and the Legislative Process
AMST 3131 The Nature, Functions, and Limits of Law

A general-education course to acquaint students with how our legal system pursues the goals of society. The course introduces students to various perspectives on the nature of law, what functions it ought to serve in society, and what it can and cannot accomplish. The course proceeds in the belief that such matters constitute a valuable and necessary part of a general education, not only for pre-law students but especially for students in other fields. Assigned readings comprise legal materials and also secondary sources on the legal process and the role of law in society. The classes include discussion and debate about current legal and social issues, including equality, safety, the environment, punishment, and autonomy.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Dawn Chutkow (dmc66)
Full details for AMST 3131 : The Nature, Functions, and Limits of Law
AMST 3142 Incarceration, Policy Response, and Self-Reflection

This class is intended to provoke some hard thinking about the relationship of committed "outsiders" and advocates of change to the experience of crime, punishment, and incarceration and to the men we meet at Auburn/Cayuga who have been in most instances long-confined to prison. We will read, think, talk and write about the incarceration experience and about policies that shape this experience. We will also think self-reflexively about the character of the 'outsider's' educational, political, and personal engagement. What are the motivations and what are the goals of such engagement? What are the anticipated outcomes – personal, social, educational, political, and/or moral and perhaps spiritual? In an effort to delve deeply into these questions, we will read a broad selection of work on incarceration, itself, as well as on the experience of what has come to be termed service learning or civic engagement. (AM)  

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Joseph Margulies (jm347)
Full details for AMST 3142 : Incarceration, Policy Response, and Self-Reflection
AMST 3185 Living in an Uncertain World: Science, Technology, and Risk

This course explores the history, sociology, and ethics of risk. In particular, we will focus on the complex and often ambiguous relationship between science, technology, and risk. A historical perspective shows how science and technology have generated risks while they have also played key roles in managing and solving those very risks. By examining several case studies, including 19th-century mining, the 1911 Triangle fire, nuclear science, the space shuttle disasters, asbestos litigation, Hurricane Katrina, and the contemporary financial crisis, we will consider how risk and ideas about risk have changed over time. By exploring different historical and cultural responses to risk, we will examine the sociopolitical dimensions of the definitions, perceptions, and management of risk both in the past and the present.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Rebecca Slayton (rs849)
Full details for AMST 3185 : Living in an Uncertain World: Science, Technology, and Risk
AMST 3434 Underground Railroad Seminar: Grant Writing and App Building

This course offers undergraduates a unique approach to exploring the abolition movement of central New York. It is an experiential course that includes visits to specific known underground stations as well as Harriet Tuban'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 and the Howland Stone Store Museum in Sherwood, NY. Readings include some of the classic slave narratives and studies of the underground railroad. Please send a brief explanation of your interest in enrolling in this course to Professor Gerard Aching [gla23@cornell.edu] 

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Gerard Aching (gla23)
Full details for AMST 3434 : Underground Railroad Seminar: Grant Writing and App Building
AMST 3562 Thinking from a Different Place: Indigenous Philosophies

The Western nation-state has failed to solve the two most pressing, indeed catastrophic, global problems: poverty and climate change. This failure is due to the inability of national policy to imagine a world beyond a boundary drawn by the formative capitalist ideas of property, production, and profit. The course will begin by discussing the historical origin and continuing force of these ideas while raising questions about their limits. Then it will look at a range of alternative ideas about how the world should work if we want to keep it socially, economically, and ecologically in balance. The alternatives we will query come from a range of Indigenous writers of fiction, poetry, and theory, who locate themselves in Native American (north and south), Aboriginal, and Maori communities.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Eric Cheyfitz (etc7)
Full details for AMST 3562 : Thinking from a Different Place: Indigenous Philosophies
AMST 3590 The Black Radical Tradition in the U.S.

This course provides a critical historical interrogation of what Black Marxism author Cedric Robinson called "the Black Radical Tradition." It will introduce students to some of the major currents in the history of black radical thought, action, and organizing, with an emphasis on the United States after World War I. It relies on social, political, and intellectual history to examine the efforts of black people who have sought not merely social reform, but a fundamental restructuring of political, economic, and social relations. We will define and evaluate radicalism in the shifting contexts of liberation struggles. We will explore dissenting visions of social organization and alternative definitions of citizenship, progress, and freedom. We will confront the meaning of the intersection of race, gender, class, and sexuality in social movements.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Russell Rickford (rr447)
Full details for AMST 3590 : The Black Radical Tradition in the U.S.
AMST 3745 Parody

In A Theory of Parody, Linda Hutcheon defines parody broadly as "repetition with critical difference, which marks difference rather than similarity." Taking a cue from Hutcheon, we will consider parody as a form of meaning making that is not necessarily used in the service of ridicule. Rather, we will examine a number of late-twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century imitative works in order to distinguish the rich variety of political agendas and aesthetic rationales for recent parody. An emphasis on postmodern or contemporary performances and media that renovate images, ideas, and icons from modernism and modernity will unite our otherwise diverse efforts. Some of these efforts will also highlight what happens when an artist takes up a work made for one platform (for example, theatre, performance art, installation, cinema, television, the Web) and parodies it in another. Creators and works under consideration may range from Christopher Durang, Split Britches, and Pig Iron Theatre Company to The Simpsons, Cookie's Fortune, and Strindberg and Helium.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Nick Salvato (ngs9)
Full details for AMST 3745 : Parody
AMST 3785 Civil Disobedience

This course examines the political theory of civil disobedience. Do citizens have obligations to obey unjust laws? What makes disobedience civil rather than criminal? How do acts of protest influence public opinion and policy? Do disruptive protests endanger democracy or strengthen the rule of law? How is the distinction between violence and non-violence political constructed and contested? How has political dissent transformed in a digital era? We will study classical writings and contemporary scholarship in pursuit of answers to these questions and related debates concerning the rule of law, conscience, justice, violence and non-violence, whistleblowing, direct action, rioting, and hacktivism.

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Alexander Livingston (pal229)
Full details for AMST 3785 : Civil Disobedience
AMST 3820 Poetry and Poetics of the Americas

As globalization draws the Americas ever closer together, reshaping our sense of a common and uncommon American culture, what claims might be made for a distinctive, diverse poetry and poetics of the America? How might we characterize its dominant forms and alternative practices? What shared influences, affiliations, concerns and approaches might we find and what differences emerge? Ranging across North and South America, Central America and the Caribbean, this course will place in conversation such figures as Poe, Stein, Eliot, Pound, Williams, Neruda, Vallejo, Borges, Parra, Césaire, Walcott, Bolaño, Espada, Waldrop, Vicuña, Hong, and Rankine.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jonathan Monroe (jbm3)
Full details for AMST 3820 : Poetry and Poetics of the Americas
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 4039 Reconstruction and the New South

This course focuses on the American South in the nineteenth century as it made the transition from Reconstruction to new forms of social organization and patterns of race relations. Reconstruction will be considered from a sociopolitical perspective, concentrating on the experiences of the freed people. The New South emphasis will include topics on labor relations, economic and political changes, new cultural alliances, the rise of agrarianism, and legalization of Jim Crow.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Margaret Washington (mw26)
Full details for AMST 4039 : Reconstruction and the New South
AMST 4272 Archaeology of Colonialism and Cultural Entanglement

This seminar uses archaeology to examine engagements between settlers and indigenous peoples throughout world history. Archaeology provides a perspective on settler-indigenous encounters that both supplements and challenges conventional models.  We will assess the strengths and weaknesses of various theories of cultural engagement, examine methodologies, and explore a series of archaeological case studies, using examples from both the ancient world and the European expansion over the past 600 years. The seminar provides a comparative perspective on indigenous-colonial relationships, in particular exploring the hard-fought spaces of relative autonomy created and sustained by indigenous peoples. 

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Maia Dedrick (mcd225)
Full details for AMST 4272 : Archaeology of Colonialism and Cultural Entanglement
AMST 4280 Health and Environmental Justice

Human bodies are inescapably enmeshed in our environments: human health and environmental health are inseparable. But human bodies are not equally impacted by environmental degradation and toxicity. Environmental injustice physically reproduces structures of power along lines of race, gender, global position, and wealth disparity. This upper-level seminar examines global and US case studies of environmental injustice and public health. Topics include waste flows, dump and industrial siting, environmental monitoring, and agriculture and aquaculture. We will also examine the politics of environmental health knowledge and movements for environmental justice.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Hannah LeBlanc (hfl22)
Full details for AMST 4280 : Health and Environmental Justice
AMST 4470 Data Bodies: Art and Politics in the Digital Age

Long before the advent of digital platforms such as Facebook, Google, Instagram and Twitter, artists began questioning the growing production and commodification of "data bodies." Groups such as Critical Art Ensemble helped highlight the ways that surveillance, power, new technologies and bodies interacted with one another. This course asks, what shapes do data and bodies take in digital environments? Conversely, how have computing cultures and networks been shaped by data and bodies? What kinds of politics can be performed in such conditions? We use a particular context, the little-discussed practices of Latina/o/x artists as well as their contributions to the history of performance, multimedia art and tactical media since the late-twentieth century, to explore these questions.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ivan Chaar Lopez (ic349)
Full details for AMST 4470 : Data Bodies: Art and Politics in the Digital Age
AMST 4533 The Lower East Side: Jews and the Immigrant City

American Jews have frequently been touted as a "model minority." This course will take a more critical look at the historical interactions between Jewish immigration, United States industrialization, and processes of social and geographical mobility—all through the prism of New York's Lower East Side, first home for over 750,000 Jewish immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere between the mid-19th century and the 1920s.  We will compare the Jewish experience to that of other immigrants/migrants by considering social institutions as well as material and other cultural practices. We will examine interactions with the built environment —most especially the tenement—in Lower East Side culture. Special attention will be paid to immigrant labor movement politics including strikes, splits, and gender in the garment trade. From the perspective of the present, the course will examine how commemoration, heritage tourism and the selling of [immigrant] history intersect with gentrifying real estate in an "iconic" New York City neighborhood. Projects using the ILR's archives on the Triangle Fire and other topics are explicitly encouraged. This course counts as an out of college elective for B. Arch and M. Arch students.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Elissa Sampson (ejs362)
Full details for AMST 4533 : The Lower East Side: Jews and the Immigrant City
AMST 4550 Race and the University

What is a university, what does it do, and how does it do it? Moving out from these more general questions, this seminar will focus on a more specific set of questions concerning the place of race within the university. What kinds of knowledge are produced in the 20th- century U.S. university? Why is it, and how is it, that certain knowledge formations and disciplines come to be naturalized or privileged within the academy? How has the emergence of fields of inquiry such as Ethnic Studies (with an epistemological platform built on the articulations of race, class and gender) brought to the fore (if not brought to crisis) some of the more vexing questions that strike at the core of the idea of the university as the pre-eminent site of disinterested knowledge? This seminar will give students the opportunity to examine American higher education's (particularly its major research institutions) historical instantiation of the relations amongst knowledge, power, equality and democracy.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Derek Chang (dsc37)
Sunn Wong (ssw6)
Full details for AMST 4550 : Race and the University
AMST 4556 Decolonial Poetics and Aesthetics: Art of/as Resistance in the Americas

Exploring a genealogy of Latinx, Afro-Latinx, Black, Indigenous, and Chicana/o/x theorizations of modernity and identity, the course asks, what is the decolonial? Is it a space between the colonial and post-colonial? Is it a creative process, an intellectual theorization, or a historical period? Is it a performance, intervention, or embodied experience? Tracing a historical trajectory of the decolonial in poetry, performance, installation, and visual art, the course examines decolonial modes of making and being in the early and mid-twentieth century, as well as twenty-first century applications. Artists and authors include Gloria Anzaldúa, Chela Sandoval, Nao Bustamante, Luis Alfaro, Emma Pérez, José Saldívar, Rupert García, Tommy Pico, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Regina José Galindo, James Luna, Adál Maldonado, Coco Fusco, Nelson Maldonado Torres, and many other decolonial producers who are concerned with existence and resistance in the western hemisphere.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ella Diaz (emd233)
Full details for AMST 4556 : Decolonial Poetics and Aesthetics: Art of/as Resistance in the Americas
AMST 4619 Writing on Tape in the 1970s

This course examines the way audiotape both corrupted and enabled the aesthetic and political culture of the 1970s. The possibilities of editing (via the cut, the loop, the overdub, the mixtape) on one hand, and the seeming capacity for indiscriminate recording of sound on the other, revealed tape to be a medium with claims both for authentic documentation (and also surveillance), and wide aesthetic reference (but also mass deception). With one ear to the state and another to the music industry, this class will focus on the way politics and the arts responded to and incorporated the new technology. Artists include Andy Warhol, Steve Reich, Samuel Beckett, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Laurie Anderson, The Firesign Theatre, Dr. Dre, Marley Marl.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jeremy Braddock (jb358)
Full details for AMST 4619 : Writing on Tape in the 1970s
AMST 4627 Contemporary Native American Fiction

If you haven't read contemporary U.S. American Indian fiction, then it might be fair to ask how much you know about the United States, its origins and its current condition. Since the 1960s, American Indians have been producing a significant body of award-wining novels and short stories. In 1969, for example, N. Scott Momaday, from the Kiowa nation, won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel House Made of Dawn and in 2012 Louise Erdrich, who is Anishinaabe, won the National Book Award for her novel The Round House. In between these two notable moments and since we can list an impressive number of Native storytellers whose work is aesthetically powerful, offering us a narrative of the United States that counters the official history. Centrally the course will focus on the various formal approaches Native writers take from surrealism to realism in representing the (post)colonial situation of Indian country and the ongoing resistance in Indian country to the U.S. legal and political regime.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Eric Cheyfitz (etc7)
Full details for AMST 4627 : Contemporary Native American Fiction
AMST 4646 Indigeneity and Energy in Native America

This seminar explores the sociocultural dimensions of various flows of energy as these have shaped contemporary Indigenous experience. From nuclear power to fossil fuels, and from ethnobotanicals to gaming enterprises, energy is a sociotechnical force impacting Native American landscapes, bodies, and communities. A critical understanding of settler colonialism today requires an understanding of these material-semiotic flows of energy as they profoundly constitute places and politics, for many Native Nations. Using ethnographic and historical texts, as well as fiction, visual artwork, and poetry, we will consider how energy is never solely a technical or scientific process, but is fundamentally a social practice, always embedded in complex, uneven relations of power. For longer description and instructor bio, visit societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Dana Powell (dep94)
Full details for AMST 4646 : Indigeneity and Energy in Native America
AMST 4647 The Energy Transition in the Nineteenth Century

This course explores the epochal transition from organic to mineral energy sources during the nineteenth century. The idea of an "energy transition" seems to pinpoint the underlying material transformation that wrought the modern world and the critical necessity of saving modernity from itself. On both counts, it is important to try to understand the shift from an organic to a mineral energy regime that occurred most decisively in the 1800s. Approaching the topic from multiple angles, the course aims to illuminate the structures, experiences and meanings of a transitional energy regime. For longer description and instructor bio, visit societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ariel Ron (ar2422)
Full details for AMST 4647 : The Energy Transition in the Nineteenth Century
AMST 4705 Nightlife

This course explores nightlife as a temporality that fosters countercultural performances of the self and that serves as a site for the emergence of alternative kinship networks.  Focusing on queer communities of color, course participants will be asked to interrogate the ways in which nightlife demonstrates the queer world-making potential that exists beyond the normative 9-5 capitalist model of production. Performances of the everyday, alongside films, texts, and performance art, will be analyzed through a performance studies methodological lens.  Through close readings and sustained cultural analysis, students will acquire a critical understanding of the potentiality of spaces, places, and geographies codified as "after hours" in the development of subcultures, alternative sexualities, and emerging performance practices.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Karen Jaime (kj12)
Full details for AMST 4705 : Nightlife
AMST 4994 Honors Essay Tutorial II

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 during the junior year and submit an honors application by May 1 of the junior year.

Academic Career: UG Full details for AMST 4994 : Honors Essay Tutorial II
AMST 5710 America's Promise: Social and Political Context of American Education

Examines the goals, roles, inputs, and outcomes of schooling in American society, and the policy environment in which schools operate. Analyzes controversies and tensions (e.g., equity, market forces, state control) surrounding public education at local, state, and federal levels. Includes current and historical, urban, and rural issues and problems.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: John Sipple (jws28)
Full details for AMST 5710 : America's Promise: Social and Political Context of American Education
AMST 6020 Pretty Politics: The Aesthetics of Race and Gender
Academic Career: GR Instructor: Noliwe Rooks (nmr67)
Full details for AMST 6020 : Pretty Politics: The Aesthetics of Race and Gender
AMST 6272 Archaeology of Colonialism and Cultural Entanglement

This seminar uses archaeology to examine engagements between settlers and indigenous peoples throughout world history. Archaeology provides a perspective on settler-indigenous encounters that both supplements and challenges conventional models.  We will assess the strengths and weaknesses of various theories of cultural engagement, examine methodologies, and explore a series of archaeological case studies, using examples from both the ancient world and the European expansion over the past 600 years. The seminar provides a comparative perspective on indigenous-colonial relationships, in particular exploring the hard-fought spaces of relative autonomy created and sustained by indigenous peoples. 

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Maia Dedrick (mcd225)
Full details for AMST 6272 : Archaeology of Colonialism and Cultural Entanglement
AMST 6322 Readings in 20th Century African-American History

This graduate seminar will explore major currents in historical writing about African-American life and culture in the twentieth century. Focusing on social, intellectual, and labor history, we will identify key themes in recent studies of the formation of modern black communities and politics before and after World War Two. The course will place special emphasis on class, gender, social movements, and migration.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Russell Rickford (rr447)
Full details for AMST 6322 : Readings in 20th Century African-American History
AMST 6335 Making Public Queer History

In this course we will examine LGBTQ+ history in the United States with a focus on its recovery and public representation—what are the stakes of researching, preserving, and commemorating the LGBTQ+ past? We will investigate how archival, scholarly, curatorial, and creative practices shape popular conceptions of LGBTQ+ life, politics, and culture, and how those practices and conceptions have changed with evolving understandings of race, gender, sexuality, and oppression. Students will build skills in archival research and historical interpretation and explore possibilities and challenges in building archives and presenting LGBTQ+ history in a variety of public contexts—museums, libraries, monuments, movies and television, and community-based oral history projects. For their final project, students will locate and research a selection of archival materials (periodicals, letters, pamphlets, songs, advertisements, etc.) either online or at Cornell Library's Rare and Manuscript Collections, producing a final research paper and a proposal for a public history project.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Stephen Vider (sv484)
Full details for AMST 6335 : Making Public Queer History
AMST 6585 American Political Thought

This seminar will provide an advanced survey of the history of American political thought, with emphasis placed on four significant periods: Puritan New England, the Revolution and Founding, Abolition and Civil War, and the Progressive Era.  Authors read may include: Winthrop, Hutchinson, Franklin, Paine, Jefferson, Madison, Warren, Tocqueville, Fitzhugh, Calhoun, Douglas, Garrison, Thoreau, Melville, Whitman, Lincoln, Adams, DuBois, Goldman, Dewey, Lippmann, Taylor, and Bourne.  (PT)  

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Jason Frank (jf273)
Alexander Livingston (pal229)
Full details for AMST 6585 : American Political Thought
AMST 6809 Urban Representation

Urban Representation Labs are intended to bring students and faculty into direct contact with complex urban representations spanning a wide media spectrum and evoking a broad set of humanist discourses. Students will leverage archival materials at Cornell to launch new observations and explore unanticipated approaches to urban culture that derive from previously understudied archival materials. The goal is twofold: to demystify the representational technologies involved in presenting the city, and to unpack the political, cultural, and aesthetic values and priorities embedded in every form of presentation. Urban Representation Labs are offered under the auspices of Cornell University's Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Collaborative Studies in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities grant. For current special topic seminar description and application instructions, visit: http://urbanismseminars.cornell.edu/courses.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Sabine Haenni (sh322)
Full details for AMST 6809 : Urban Representation