Courses - Spring 2021

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, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Noliwe Rooks (nmr67)
Full details for AMST 1101 : Introduction to American Studies
AMST 1290 American Society through Film

Introduces students to the sociological analysis of American society through the lens of film. Major themes involve race, class, and gender; upward and downward mobility; incorporation and exclusion; small town vs the big city; and cultural conflicts over individualism, achievement, and community. We match a range of movies like American Graffiti (Lucas), Ace in the Hole (Wilder), The Asphalt Jungle (Houston), Do the Right Thing (Lee), The Heiress (Wyler), High Noon (Zinnemann), Mean Streets (Scorsese), Nashville (Altman), The Philadelphia Story (Cukor), and A Streetcar Named Desire (Kazan). Each film is paired with social scientific research that examines parallel topics, such as analyses of who goes to college, the production of news, deviant careers, urban riots, the gendered presentation of self, and the prisoner's dilemma.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Strang (ds20)
Full details for AMST 1290 : American Society through Film
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, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Judith Peraino (jap28)
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AMST 1313 A Survey of Jazz

This course addresses jazz from two perspectives: the various sounds of jazz, as well as the historical streams-musical and cultural-that have contributed to its development. Listening and writing assignments are major components of the course.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Steven Pond (sfp8)
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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, SMR-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Melanie Walsh (mpw82)
Full details for AMST 1350 : Introduction to Cultural Analytics: Data, Computation, and Culture
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: Carole Boyce Davies (ceb278)
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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, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Troy Richardson (tar37)
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AMST 1985 From Subjects to Citizens: The Making and Unmaking of Early America

On the eve of the American Revolution Britain administered 26 colonies—not just the 13 that would become the United States. British North America's dramatic struggle for independence has led many history textbooks to read the revolution back into colonial history, focusing on those 13 North American colonies that would become the United States, often at the expense of global connections that defined the colonial and revolutionary periods. As this class will explore, key elements of early American history can only be understood through a broader perspective, from the economic growth of New England as a result of the African slave trade and exchange in the Caribbean, to the use of citizenship as a category of exclusion in response to the myriad inhabitants—European, Indigenous, and African—who neighbored or lived within the original 13 colonies. In this course, we will explore the history of early America from the 1490s through the 1800s from a global perspective. Voices usually peripheral to the narrative of American development, from enslaved African mariners to Spanish American nuns, will become central to processes of cultural encounter, labor exploitation, revolutionary upheavals, and state formation that shaped the making and unmaking early America.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Casey Schmitt (cs2437)
Full details for AMST 1985 : From Subjects to Citizens: The Making and Unmaking of Early America
AMST 2000 Introduction to Visual Studies

This course provides an introduction to modes of vision and the historical impact of visual images, visual structures, and visual space on culture, communication, and politics. It examines all aspects of culture that communicate through visual means, including 20th-century visual technologies—photography, cinema, video, etc., and their historical corollaries. The production and consumption of images, objects, and events is studied in diverse cultures. Students develop the critical skills necessary to appreciate how the approaches that define visual studies complicate traditional models of defining and analyzing art objects.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, ETM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jolene Rickard (jkr33)
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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)
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AMST 2042 Jim Crow and Exclusion Era in America

This seminar examines America during the overlapping eras of segregation & immigration exclusion.  Beginning with contests over the weaning of freedom during reconstruction and running through the institution of Jim Crow legislation and immigration exclusion, the course ends with an evaluation of mid-20th century movements for civil rights and equality.  Themes include the links between racial and economic oppression, legal and defacto restriction, everyday resistance, and struggles for equality.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Derek Chang (dsc37)
Full details for AMST 2042 : Jim Crow and Exclusion Era in America
AMST 2108 Indigenous Ingenuities as Living Networks

This course explores Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) knowledge and its application across the disciplines and through time. In particular, it offers a glimpse into Cornell's local indigenous culture through Haudenosaunee understanding of themselves as a unique people, maintaining traditional teachings and fulfilling ancient responsibilities in the world. Students will engage multiple primary sources including: art, archives, material and expressive culture and interact with Haudenosaunee knowledge holders, intellectuals, and elders.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Urszula Piasta-Mansfield (ump4)
Full details for AMST 2108 : Indigenous Ingenuities as Living Networks
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, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Maria Cristina Garcia (mcg20)
Full details for AMST 2251 : U.S. Immigration Narratives
AMST 2392 Where Fire Meets Ice: Histories of the U.S.-Canada Border Across Four Centuries

The international boundary between Canada and the United is the longest, straightest border in the world. Although frequently cast as "boring" in juxtaposition to its southern counterpart, this viewpoint overlooks the U.S.-Canada border's longstanding history as a site and engine of trans-national tensions and controversies. This course addresses the complex histories of the 3,500 mile boundary separating the United States from Canada from its eighteenth century colonial antecedents to contemporary challenges related to drug smuggling, border fence construction, pandemic-related travel restrictions, immigration, commerce, environmental issues, Indigenous peoples' rights, and national identity construction. The instructor, a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, brings not only life experience of border-crossing, but also a recent background in legal testimony on border-related issues.

Distribution: (HA-AS, GLC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jon Parmenter (jwp35)
Full details for AMST 2392 : Where Fire Meets Ice: Histories of the U.S.-Canada Border Across Four Centuries
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, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Aaron Sachs (as475)
Full details for AMST 2581 : Environmental History
AMST 2585 Millennial Jewish Stars: Race, Gender and Sexuality

The rap superstar Drake, comedian Ilana Glazer, and muscleman Zac Efron are just three of the millennial Jewish stars examined in this course. We will ask how millennial Jewish stars depict Jewishness in terms of race, gender, sexuality. For instance, why has the rapper Lil Dicky chosen such an emasculating stage name, and why does Ilana Glazer embrace the outdated racial term "Jewess?" How do these names use historical Jewish stereotypes to fuel present-day comedy? We will trace racial, gendered, and sexual tropes about Jews from 19th-century theater to the newest YouTube sketches. We'll cluster these media around themes like women's pleasure, Jewish identity, cultural appropriation, anti-Semitism, and millennial financial struggles. We'll laugh hard, learn a lot, and see today's media through new eyes.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jonathan Branfman (jrb557)
Full details for AMST 2585 : Millennial Jewish Stars: Race, Gender and Sexuality
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, ALC-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, SCD-AS, SSC-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, HST-AS, SCD-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 2675 Cultures of the Cold War

This class aims to approach the literature and culture of the Cold War as the birth of the present "Age of Information," as well as the origin of modern notions of privacy that are now being superseded. We will begin with Hiroshima and the several forms of American anti-communism, and proceed from "containment culture" to the beginning of the counterculture, and from atomic weapons to the start of the environmental movement. Units of study will include intelligence (espionage), advertising (publicity), civil rights, and the public questioning of gender roles.  We will also view a few films and discuss music and painting of the period. Authors include James Baldwin, Sylvia Plath, Marshall McLuhan, John Okada, Jack Kerouac, Frank O'Hara, Patricia Highsmith, and Rachel Carson.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jeremy Braddock (jb358)
Full details for AMST 2675 : Cultures of the Cold War
AMST 2682 The United States in the 1960s and 1970s

This lecture course explores the dramatic cultural, economic, and social upheavals in U.S. society during the 1960s and 1970s. It will primarily focus on the dynamic interactions between formal politics, the state, the economy, and the era's mass movements on the right and the left. Among other things, we will explore the history and legacy of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, the Vietnam War, deindustrialization, "white flight," the War on Poverty, the War on Crime, Watergate, the "rise of the right," and women's changing roles.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Julilly Kohler-Hausmann (jkh224)
Full details for AMST 2682 : The United States in the 1960s and 1970s
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, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: John Sipple (jws28)
Full details for AMST 2710 : America's Promise: Social and Political Context of American Education
AMST 2725 Introduction to Latina/o/x Performance

This course is an introduction to Latina/o/x Performance investigating the historical and contemporary representations of Latina/o/xs in performance and media. Throughout the semester, students will critically examine central themes and issues that inform the experiences and (re) presentations of Latina/o/xs in the United States. How is latinidad performed? In situating the class around "Latina/o/x," as both an umbrella term and an enacted social construction, we will then turn our attention to (re) presentations of latinidad within different genres of cultural expressions.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Karen Jaime (kj12)
Full details for AMST 2725 : Introduction to Latina/o/x Performance
AMST 2790 Jewish Films and Filmmakers: Hollywood and Beyond

What does it mean to call a film is "Jewish"? Does it have to represent Jewish life? Does it have to feature characters identifiable as Jews? If artists who identify as Jews—actors, directors, screenwriters, composers—play significant roles in a film's production does that make it Jewish? Our primary point of entry into these questions will be Hollywood, from the industry's early silent films, through the period generally considered classical, down to the present day. We will also study films produced overseas, in countries that may include Israel, Egypt, France, Italy, and Germany. Our discussions will be enriched by contextual material drawn from film studies, cultural studies, Jewish studies, American studies, and other related fields. Students will be expected to view a significant number of films outside of class—an average of one per week—and engage with them through writing and in-class discussion. The directors, screenwriters, composers, and actors whose work we will study may include: Charlie Chaplin, Irving Berlin, Al Jolson, Fanny Brice, Billy Wilder, Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Aviva Kempner, Joan Micklin Silver, the Marx Brothers, and the Coen Brothers.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Elliot Shapiro (ehs9)
Full details for AMST 2790 : Jewish Films and Filmmakers: Hollywood and Beyond
AMST 2792 Monuments, Museums, and Memory: An Introduction to Public History

In this course we will examine how we have come to narrate social, cultural, and political history in the United States, investigating the ways scholarly, curatorial, archival, and creative practices shape conceptions of the American past, in particular understandings of racial, gender, sexual, and class oppression and resistance. Students will build skills in historical interpretation and archival research and explore possibilities and challenges in preserving and presenting the past in a variety of public contexts—monuments, memorials, museums, historical sites, movies and television, and community-based history projects. For their final project, students will conduct original research in a digital or material archive, chosen in consultation with the instructor, to produce a draft of an exhibit, providing popularly accessible historical context and interpretation.

Distribution: (HA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Vider (sv484)
Full details for AMST 2792 : Monuments, Museums, and Memory: An Introduction to Public History
AMST 2885 Consumer Culture

This course will examine consumerism in the United States, first focusing on the rise of advertising, mass-market goods, shop windows, and department stores at the turn of the 20th century. We will examine the built environment, the experience of shopping, and the consequent disease of "kleptomania", looking at inequality and activism as a potential political outlet for consumerism. We will also study consumerism as a system of cultural meaning. How do our objects shape and symbolize our identities? What does our constellation of material goods say about our values, our beliefs, and our lives? What stands outside consumer culture? What does it mean to commodify love or bottle nature? Can art or beauty be beyond value?

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Adrienne Bitar (arj67)
Full details for AMST 2885 : Consumer Culture
AMST 2983 American Shakespeare

What is distinctive about American Shakespeare? Is it merely a less confident cousin of its more prestigious UK relative; or does it have a character of its own? What is currently happening with 'American Shakespeare' that is not happening anywhere else? This course is designed explicitly to exploit the wide variety of human and material resources of the DC and surrounding area, such as the Folger Shakespeare Library and Theatre, the Shakespeare Theatre and the Blackfriars Playhouse at Staunton. While encountering a number of plays, students will have the opportunity to see at least three live performances and numerous movies, consider the history of Shakespeare in America and learn from actors, directors, scholars and designers.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: John O'Connor (jo267)
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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 3121 Crime and Punishment

This is a class about the American criminal justice system—from policing to prisons, from arrest to reentry. In many ways, the operation of the modern criminal justice system is taken for granted, which frequently allows it to escape close scrutiny. But we will examine it in great detail, with a focus on how it came about, how it sustains itself, its many roles in society (only some of which involve crime and justice), and how and why it may be changing. In Spring 21, the class will take a particular look at policing and examine the calls for police reform and abolition. NB: This class is designed to challenge your settled assumptions and dearly held myths about what is right and wrong with the system. Those who have made up their mind about criminal justice in America should not take the course. This class was formerly GOVT 3141, PRISONS, taught by Prof. Margulies. It has been renamed and renumbered as GOVT 3121 to distinguish it from the distance learning course taught by Prof. Katzenstein.

Distribution: (KCM-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Joseph Margulies (jm347)
Full details for AMST 3121 : Crime and Punishment
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, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Dawn Chutkow (dmc66)
Full details for AMST 3131 : The Nature, Functions, and Limits of Law
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, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Rebecca Slayton (rs849)
Full details for AMST 3185 : Living in an Uncertain World: Science, Technology, and Risk
AMST 3214 Dance in America: Cultures, Identities, and Fabrication

This class explores dance across multiple stages—TikTok videos, concert halls, streets—to assess how people create, sustain, and challenge markers of difference (race, gender, sexuality, ability, and class). How is dance appreciation different from appropriation? What are dancing avatars in video games allowed to do that real persons are not? We will examine genres such as k-pop, hip hop, salsa, modern dance, and ballroom as we develop the tools necessary for viewing dance, analyzing it, and understanding its place in larger social, cultural, historical, and political structures. We will explore how markers of difference affect the practice and the reception of dance forms, and, in turn, how dance helps shape representations of identities. This is a seminar course. Previous performance experience is not necessary.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Juan Aldape Munoz (jma377)
Full details for AMST 3214 : Dance in America: Cultures, Identities, and Fabrication
AMST 3405 Multicultural Issues in Education

This course explores research on race, ethnicity and language in American education. It examines historical and current patterns of school achievement for minoritized youths. It also examines the cultural and social premises undergirding educational practices in diverse communities and schools. Policies, programs and pedagogy, including multicultural and bilingual education, are explored.

Distribution: (CA-AS, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sofia Villenas (sav33)
Full details for AMST 3405 : Multicultural Issues in Education
AMST 3424 Ethnoracial Identity in Anthropology, Language, and Law

In this course, we examine the role that law and language, as mutually constitutive mediating systems, occupy in constructing ethnoracial identity in the United States. We will approach law from a critical anthropological perspective, as a signifying and significant sociocultural system, rather than as an objective structure of rational rules and processes, to consider how legal norms, procedures, and discourses inform other processes of sociocultural production and reproduction, thus contributing to the creation and maintenance of differential power relations. We will draw on anthropological, linguistic, and critical race theory as well as ethnographic and legal material to guide and document our analyses.

Distribution: (SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Vilma Santiago-Irizarry (vs23)
Full details for AMST 3424 : Ethnoracial Identity in Anthropology, Language, and Law
AMST 3430 History of the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction

A survey of the turning point of US. history: The Civil War (1861-1865) and its aftermath, Reconstruction (1865-1877). We will look at the causes, the coming, and the conduct, of the war, and the way in which it became a war for freedom. We will then follow the cause of freedom through the greatest slave rebellion in American history, and the attempts by formerly enslaved people to make freedom real in Reconstruction. And we will see how Reconstruction's tragic ending left questions open that are still not answered in U.S. society and politics.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Edward Baptist (eeb36)
Full details for AMST 3430 : History of the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction
AMST 3463 Contemporary Television

This course considers issues, approaches, and complexities in the contemporary television landscape. As television has changed drastically over the past fifteen years, this course provides students with a deeper understanding of the changes in narratives, technologies, forms, and platforms that structure/restructure the televisual world. Students will grapple with how "new media" forms such as web-series and on-demand internet streaming services have changed primetime television. We will balance our look at television shows with nuanced readings about the televisual media industry. By watching, analyzing, and critiquing the powerful medium of television, students will situate their understanding within a broader consideration of the medium's regulation, production, distribution, and reception in the network and post-network era.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Samantha Sheppard (sns87)
Full details for AMST 3463 : Contemporary Television
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, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Eric Cheyfitz (etc7)
Full details for AMST 3562 : Thinking from a Different Place: Indigenous Philosophies
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 Instructor: Moustapha Fall (mf773)
Full details for AMST 3617 : Cornell Hip-Hop Collective
AMST 3621 Dissent and Protest in U.S. History

What is dissent, and what is its relationship to American Democratic principles? This course will examine the various forms of dissent and counter dissent in U.S. history from the Colonial phase to the present. Organized by a thematic structure, each week the course will consider a different group from the earliest to the most contemporary protests of Indigenous People, Abolitionists and anti-slavery tactics, Women's and Environmental movements, etc. Our explorations will consider a variety of primary sources, literature, film, and secondary scholarship. For a longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.  

Distribution: (HA-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Susan Deily-Swearingen (snd57)
Full details for AMST 3621 : Dissent and Protest in U.S. History
AMST 3703 Asians in the Americas: A Comparative Perspective

The common perception of ethnicity is that it is a natural and an inevitable consequence of cultural difference. Asians overseas, in particular, have won repute as a people who cling tenaciously to their culture and refuse to assimilate into their host societies and cultures. But, who are the Asians? On what basis can we label Asians an ethnic group? Although there is a significant Asian presence in the Caribbean, the category Asian itself does not exist in the Caribbean. What does this say about the nature of categories that label and demarcate groups of people on the basis of alleged cultural and phenotypical characteristics? This course will examine the dynamics behind group identity, namely ethnicity, by comparing and contrasting the multicultural experience of Asian populations in the Caribbean and the United States. Ethnographic case studies will focus on the East Indian and Chinese experiences in the Caribbean and the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, and Indian experiences in the United States.

Distribution: (CA-AS, GLC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Viranjini Munasinghe (vpm1)
Full details for AMST 3703 : Asians in the Americas: A Comparative Perspective
AMST 3732 Africans and African Americans in Literature

When an African and an African American meet, solidarity is presumed, but often friction is the result. In this course, we will consider how Africans and African Americans see each other through literature. What happens when two peoples suffering from double consciousness meet? We will examine the influence of historical forces including slavery, colonialism and pan-Africanism on the way writers explore the meeting between Africans and African Americans. Specifically we will look at how writers such as W.E.B DuBois, Maya Angelou, NoViolet Bulawayo, Chimamanda Adichie, Richard Wright, Eugene Robinson, Philippe Wamba, Teju Cole, and Malcolm X have understood the meeting.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Mukoma Ngugi (mwn39)
Full details for AMST 3732 : Africans and African Americans in Literature
AMST 3747 Staging Faith: Contemporary Theatre and Lived Religions

Religious beliefs, practices, and conflicts shape our world and influence global politics.  Yet mediatized depictions of religion can be reductive and polarizing.  Moreover, these depictions may be different from what people experience in their everyday lives.  In the contemporary theatre, we have the opportunity to consider representations of individuals' lived religion, the complex questions of belief, and challenges to faith from within and outside religious communities.  Through close readings of plays and related materials engaging with Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and other faith traditions, we will explore and discuss together the religious motivations, tensions, and dilemmas facing us today.  Our texts include, among others, Jesus Christ Superstar, Indecent, Angels in America, and Heroes of the Fourth Turning.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: J Gainor (jeg11)
Clark West (crw86)
Full details for AMST 3747 : Staging Faith: Contemporary Theatre and Lived Religions
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, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jonathan Monroe (jbm3)
Full details for AMST 3820 : Poetry and Poetics of the Americas
AMST 3870 The History of Consumption: From Wedgwood to Wal-Mart

Whether buying at a general store, shopping at a department store, or loitering at a mall, consumption has always formed an important part of the American experience. More than just commodities bought and sold, consumption is also about the institutions, social practices, cultural meanings, and economic functions that have surrounded the merchandise. This course will look at the changing meanings consumption has had for life, politics, and economy in the US over the past 300 years.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Louis Hyman (lrh62)
Full details for AMST 3870 : The History of Consumption: From Wedgwood to Wal-Mart
AMST 3900 Special Topics

An intensive study of a particular dramatist, period, form or problem in drama and/or performance. Topics, prerequisites and formats will vary from year to year. Topic for Spring: Power Plays: Contemporary Drama Womxn: This course explores questions of power in contemporary drama written by playwrights identifying as women. Taking feminisms as our main critical lenses, we'll look at plays from the UK, Canada, the USA, India, Australia, and South Africa, asking how these plays stage marginalized bodies and voices, and call in to question hierarchies of power. We'll also interrogate assumptions about canon formation and consider the place of womxn in contemporary theatre and in the cultural hierarchies to which theatre responds and in which it participates. Our reading list will be partly informed by student interests.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Aoise Stratford (aas68)
Full details for AMST 3900 : Special Topics
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 3981 Latinx Popular Culture Matters

This course examines several areas of Latinx popular culture that influence U.S. politics and society, artistic productions, and aesthetic sensibilities, as well as popular and civic cultures. Mapping a historical trajectory of Chicanidad and Latinidad in art, music, film, and popular media in the twentieth century, the course also engages contemporary art practices that are rooted in 1960s and 1970s civil rights and community art movements. Topics include Latinx people in film and TV, muralism and street art, music, spoken word as well as close examinations of representations of Latinx people in American mainstream culture.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS, GLC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ella Diaz (emd233)
Full details for AMST 3981 : Latinx Popular Culture Matters
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 4030 Poetry in Process

Like all of us, poets change over time. In this course we'll track the shifting visions and styles of three major American poets whose work spans two centuries. Whitman, Stevens, and Ammons differ in many ways, but they share an expansive perspective that celebrates mind, body, and creativity while acknowledging violence, loss, and death. Rather than reading each poet separately, we'll move back and forth among them, comparing the phases of their careers, charting their formal and stylistic innovations, and exploring the lines of influence that connect them. Ammons taught at Cornell from 1964 to 1998, and we'll consider how his work synthesizes Whitman's rugged physicality and Stevens's meditative subtlety to produce a poetry that draws equally on scientific thought and religious feeling. 

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Roger Gilbert (rsg2)
Full details for AMST 4030 : Poetry in Process
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, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Margaret Washington (mw26)
Full details for AMST 4039 : Reconstruction and the New South
AMST 4051 Death Penalty in America

The death penalty has gotten increased media attention due to high profile death row exonerations, and has long been under siege for other reasons, such as racial disparities in its imposition and the prevalence of very poor representation by defense counsel. This course surveys the legal and social issues that arise in the administration of the death penalty. The reading will be largely comprised of reported death penalty cases, but will be augmented by a variety of other sources, including empirical studies of the death penalty and the litigation experience of the professors. Although the focus will be on capital punishment as practiced in the United States, we will also consider international and comparative perspectives. Guest speakers will provide a range of views, and law students with experience working on capital cases will lead discussion sections.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: John Blume (jb94)
Sheri Johnson (slj8)
Full details for AMST 4051 : Death Penalty in America
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 4203 Contesting Votes: Democracy and Citizenship Throughout U.S. History

This advanced seminar traces transformations in citizenship and the franchise throughout U.S. history. Through readings, frequent short writings, discussion, and a final paper, the class examines the struggles over who can claim full citizenship and legitimate voice in the political community. It examines the divergent, often clashing, visions of legitimate democratic rule, focusing particularly on the debates over who should vote and on what terms.  We examine the dynamics that have shaped the boundaries of citizenship and hierarchies within it, paying attention to changes in the civic status of Native Americans, property-less white men, paupers, women, African Americans, various immigrant groups, residents of U.S. colonies, felons, and people with intellectual disabilities. A significant portion of the class focuses on debates about U.S. democracy in the decades after the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Julilly Kohler-Hausmann (jkh224)
Full details for AMST 4203 : Contesting Votes: Democracy and Citizenship Throughout U.S. History
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, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Hannah LeBlanc (hfl22)
Full details for AMST 4280 : Health and Environmental Justice
AMST 4337 The 1980s: Politics, Culture, and Memory in the United States

This seminar will examine U.S. culture and politics in the 1980s as a pivotal decade in shaping our contemporary cultural, social, and political landscape. We will consider how U.S. culture and politics shifted with the "Reagan Revolution" and the end of the Cold War, and their connections to and ramifications for social activism, social welfare, media, foreign policy, and everyday life. At the same time, we will consider the methodological opportunities and challenges in researching, writing, reading, and presenting recent history. Students will complete a research paper, and work together to design and launch a digital exhibition on the 1980s. We will also explore how 1980s culture and politics was shaped by nostalgia for the 1950s, and how the 1980s and remembered and misremembered today. Topics include the rise of neoliberalism, privatization of civil and social services, the emergence of digital technologies, activism in response to HIV/AIDS, transnational feminisms, the consolidation of the Christian right, and the "Culture Wars." Readings will include historical scholarship, as well as creative non-fiction, films, TV, and music from the 1980s.

Distribution: (HA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Vider (sv484)
Full details for AMST 4337 : The 1980s: Politics, Culture, and Memory in the United States
AMST 4502 Queer Proximities

How has the fiction and art of queers of color transformed the worlds we know? How have their theoretical interventions created new queer freedoms and new understandings of race and sexualities?  In this course we will focus on the struggles against subjugation led by Black and Latinx artists and writers including Audre Lorde, Gabby Rivera, Marlon Riggs, Félix, González-Torres, Essex Hemphill, Gloria Anzaldúa, James Baldwin, Cherríe Moraga. Building on their work, will turn to queer of color theory, a conceptual field that interrogates the ways race, gender, sexuality, regimes of embodiment, and class reinforce racializing technologies, in order to learn what queer of color thinkers can teach us about globalization, incarceration, immigration as well as joy, pleasure, intoxication, the unruly and the opaque.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Mary Pat Brady (mpb23)
Full details for AMST 4502 : Queer Proximities
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: (ALC-AS, LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Eric Cheyfitz (etc7)
Full details for AMST 4627 : Contemporary Native American Fiction
AMST 4658 Fabricating Race: Art, Clothing, Resistance

Often referred to as a "second skin", aesthetic representations of clothing open the possibility of reimagining the visual economy of race—the belief that race can be located in the body's visible features and characteristics. Bringing together the research methods of visual culture, material culture, and literary studies, and moving among photographic, painted, and literary portrayals by and of African Americans, we will explore fashion and clothing as aesthetic practices of everyday life that defy racism's flattening and objectifying effects. The course will pay particular attention to artwork that explores the multiple valences of "fabrication"—working with materials, making and fictionalizing—to reveal and reconfigure the psychic consequences of living under the gaze of white dominance. For longer description and instructor bio visit The Society for the Humanities website.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kimberly Lamm (kkl63)
Full details for AMST 4658 : Fabricating Race: Art, Clothing, Resistance
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, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Karen Jaime (kj12)
Full details for AMST 4705 : Nightlife
AMST 4716 Law and Empire in Early America

European empires used the law to justify colonialism and project sovereign authority over distant territories. But the legal regimes imposed by imperial centers on colonial peripheries were jurisdictionally complex, overlapping, and contested by colonial actors on the ground. This course explores the role of law in the context of colonialism and imperialism in the Americas, ca. 1490 to 1800. We will consider the transmission and transformation of legal thought and practice throughout the Atlantic world, with a specific focus on the role of law in shaping racial identities, gender norms, imperial competition, and the ultimate unraveling of empires in the Americas. The course will examine the different legal regimes, from Roman civil law to English common law, that shaped societies in the Americas. And we will pay particular attention to actors in colonial spaces—from self-liberated Africans to European smugglers—who manipulated the complexity of imperial legal regimes to suit their own needs, shaping the trajectory of American history from the bottom-up in the process.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Casey Schmitt (cs2437)
Full details for AMST 4716 : Law and Empire in Early America
AMST 4757 Be a Man! Masculinity, Race, and Nation

This course analyzes how cultural beliefs about masculinity intersect with race, sexuality, and citizenship. To emphasize how masculine norms vary across cultures, we will use the plural term "masculinities." Treating gender as a relational system of power, we will investigate how masculinities are defined against femininities, and how different masculinities are defined against each other (for example, the stereotypes of the Latino "bad hombre" vs. the white "all-American football player"). Combining sociological studies with media analysis, we will ask the following questions and more: Where do beliefs about masculinities come from, and how do they change over time? How do these beliefs naturalize certain kinds of violence? How do these beliefs interact with, and help to create, ideas about race and nation?

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jonathan Branfman (jrb557)
Full details for AMST 4757 : Be a Man! Masculinity, Race, and Nation
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 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 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 6003 Doing Research With Marginalized Populations

This course covers the basic epistemology for social sciences research, integrating an explicit focus on applied mixed methods approaches (quantitative and qualitative) for conducting original "real world" research on humans. While these cognates will be approached theoretically, the course's primary concentration will be on the praxis of quantifying and contextualizing the experiences, attitudes, and social/health outcomes of historically marginalized and "hidden" populations, including people who are Black, Latino and indigenous, LGBTQ+, and individuals with a disability, mental illness or substance use disorder, with an intersectional lens. While not offering an exhaustive review of individual quantitative or qualitative methodologies, students will learn the fundamentals of curating a substantive research framework on marginalized and hidden populations, ethically engaging and recruiting people into their studies, collecting and analyzing data, and meaningfully disseminating research findings. 

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Jerel Ezell (jme246)
Full details for AMST 6003 : Doing Research With Marginalized Populations
AMST 6011 The American State

Contemporary politics raise profound questions about the American past and how aspects of it have traveled across time and into the present, shaping US government and politics. This PhD-level seminar uses historical and institutional lenses to examine analytical questions about the origins and development of the American state as well as processes of political change. In Spring 2021, we will explore American political development with an eye toward understanding how threats to democracy have waxed and waned and combined over time, and the implications for the present. We will focus on topics such as political parties and polarization; conflict over belongs, with respect to race and gender; economic inequality; and executive aggrandizement. We will read some classic texts as well as new and recent ones. 

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Suzanne Mettler (sbm24)
Full details for AMST 6011 : The American State
AMST 6337 The 1980s: Politics, Culture, and Memory in the United States

This seminar will examine U.S. culture and politics in the 1980s as a pivotal decade in shaping our contemporary cultural, social, and political landscape. We will consider how U.S. culture and politics shifted with the "Reagan Revolution" and the end of the Cold War, and their connections to and ramifications for social activism, social welfare, media, foreign policy, and everyday life. At the same time, we will consider the methodological opportunities and challenges in researching, writing, reading, and presenting recent history. Students will complete a research paper, and work together to design and launch a digital exhibition on the 1980s. We will also explore how 1980s culture and politics was shaped by nostalgia for the 1950s, and how the 1980s and remembered and misremembered today. Topics include the rise of neoliberalism, privatization of civil and social services, the emergence of digital technologies, activism in response to HIV/AIDS, transnational feminisms, the consolidation of the Christian right, and the "Culture Wars." Readings will include historical scholarship, as well as creative non-fiction, films, TV, and music from the 1980s.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Stephen Vider (sv484)
Full details for AMST 6337 : The 1980s: Politics, Culture, and Memory in the United States
AMST 6424 Ethnoracial Identity in Anthropology, Language, and Law

In this course, we examine the role that law and language, as mutually constitutive mediating systems, occupy in constructing ethnoracial identity in the United States. We will approach law from a critical anthropological perspective, as a signifying and significant sociocultural system, rather than as an objective structure of rational rules and processes, to consider how legal norms, procedures, and discourses inform other processes of sociocultural production and reproduction, thus contributing to the creation and maintenance of differential power relations. We will draw on anthropological, linguistic, and critical race theory as well as ethnographic and legal material to guide and document our analyses.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Vilma Santiago-Irizarry (vs23)
Full details for AMST 6424 : Ethnoracial Identity in Anthropology, Language, and Law
AMST 6502 Queer Proximities

How has the fiction and art of queers of color transformed the worlds we know? How have their theoretical interventions created new queer freedoms and new understandings of race and sexualities?  In this course we will focus on the struggles against subjugation led by Black and Latinx artists and writers including Audre Lorde, Gabby Rivera, Marlon Riggs, Félix, González-Torres, Essex Hemphill, Gloria Anzaldúa, James Baldwin, Cherríe Moraga. Building on their work, will turn to queer of color theory, a conceptual field that interrogates the ways race, gender, sexuality, regimes of embodiment, and class reinforce racializing technologies, in order to learn what queer of color thinkers can teach us about globalization, incarceration, immigration as well as joy, pleasure, intoxication, the unruly and the opaque.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Mary Pat Brady (mpb23)
Full details for AMST 6502 : Queer Proximities
AMST 6596 Violence, Power, and Nonviolence

This course pursues a theoretical and comparative understanding of the relationship between violence and power. Beginning with an overview of disputes over the politics of 'naming' violence, we will examine a series of intersecting historical disputes about the nature, justification, and functions of political violence between a series of realist, Marxist, and pacifist thinkers. Topics to be discussed will include the relationship between tactics and strategy, means and ends, the dynamics of political contention, revolution and mass politics, the relationship coercion and persuasion, and the power of nonviolence, as well as revolutionary terror, general strikes, civil disobedience, hunger strikes, and political rioting. Thinkers studied may include Clausewitz, Tolstoy, Lenin, Luxemburg, Weber, Sorel, Gandhi, Trotsky, Niebuhr, Du Bois, Fanon, King, Arendt, and Deming.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Alexander Livingston (pal229)
Full details for AMST 6596 : Violence, Power, and Nonviolence
AMST 6645 Democratic Theory

In contemporary political contexts "democracy" is often invoked as the very ground of political legitimacy. There is very little agreement, however, on what democracy means or how it is best embodied in state institutions and law. This seminar will introduce students to select debates in contemporary democratic theory over the normative meaning of democracy and the limitations of contemporary democratic practice. Beginning with the work of Rousseau and ending with debates over "radical democracy," we will explore the following themes: How do democratic theorists and democratic actors negotiate the paradoxes of collective self-rule? What is the relationship between liberalism and democracy? Do rights suspend democracy or establish its preconditions? What are the best procedures for democratic decision-making? How does democracy deal with difference? Is democracy best understood as a form of government or a practice of resistance to domination?

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Jason Frank (jf273)
Full details for AMST 6645 : Democratic Theory
AMST 6658 Fabricating Race: Art, Clothing, Resistance

Often referred to as a "second skin", aesthetic representations of clothing open the possibility of reimagining the visual economy of race—the belief that race can be located in the body's visible features and characteristics. Bringing together the research methods of visual culture, material culture, and literary studies, and moving among photographic, painted, and literary portrayals by and of African Americans, we will explore fashion and clothing as aesthetic practices of everyday life that defy racism's flattening and objectifying effects. The course will pay particular attention to artwork that explores the multiple valences of "fabrication"—working with materials, making and fictionalizing—to reveal and reconfigure the psychic consequences of living under the gaze of white dominance. For longer description and instructor bio visit The Society for the Humanities website.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Kimberly Lamm (kkl63)
Full details for AMST 6658 : Fabricating Race: Art, Clothing, Resistance
AMST 6716 Law and Empire in Early America

European empires used the law to justify colonialism and project sovereign authority over distant territories. But the legal regimes imposed by imperial centers on colonial peripheries were jurisdictionally complex, overlapping, and contested by colonial actors on the ground. This course explores the role of law in the context of colonialism and imperialism in the Americas, ca. 1490 to 1800. We will consider the transmission and transformation of legal thought and practice throughout the Atlantic world, with a specific focus on the role of law in shaping racial identities, gender norms, imperial competition, and the ultimate unraveling of empires in the Americas. The course will examine the different legal regimes, from Roman civil law to English common law, that shaped societies in the Americas. And we will pay particular attention to actors in colonial spaces—from self-liberated Africans to European smugglers—who manipulated the complexity of imperial legal regimes to suit their own needs, shaping the trajectory of American history from the bottom-up in the process.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Casey Schmitt (cs2437)
Full details for AMST 6716 : Law and Empire in Early America
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 our urban seminars page.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Tao Goffe (tlg92)
Full details for AMST 6809 : Urban Representation