Courses

Courses by semester

Courses for Fall 2021

Complete Cornell University course descriptions are in the Courses of Study .

Course ID Title Offered
AMST1115 Introduction to American Government and Politics A policy-centered approach to the study of government in the American experience.  Considers the American Founding and how it influenced the structure of government;  how national institutions operate in shaping law and public policy; who has a voice in American politics and why some are more influential than others; and how existing public policies themselves influence social, economic, and political power.  Students will gain an introductory knowledge of the founding principles and structure of American government, political institutions, political processes, political behavior, and public policy.

Full details for AMST 1115 - Introduction to American Government and Politics

Fall, Summer.
AMST1500 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.

Full details for AMST 1500 - Introduction to Africana Studies

Fall, Spring.
AMST1595 African American History From 1865 Focusing on political and social history, this course surveys African-American history from Emancipation to the present. The class examines the post-Reconstruction "Nadir" of black life; the mass black insurgency against structural racism before and after World War II; and the Post-Reform Age that arose in the wake of the dismantling of legal segregation. The course will familiarize students with the basic themes of African-American life and experience and equip them to grasp concepts of political economy; class formation; and the intersection of race, class and gender.

Full details for AMST 1595 - African American History From 1865

Fall.
AMST1600 Indigenous North America This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the diverse cultures, histories and contemporary situations of the Indigenous peoples of North America. Students will also be introduced to important themes in the post-1492 engagement between Indigenous and settler populations in North America and will consider the various and complex ways in which that history affected - and continues to affect - American Indian peoples and societies. Course materials draw on the humanities, social sciences, and expressive arts.

Full details for AMST 1600 - Indigenous North America

Fall.
AMST1640 U.S. History since the Great Depression An introductory survey to United States history since the Great Depression, this course explores the dramatic social, economic, and political transformations of the last century. It emphasizes domestic political developments, particularly the evolving notions of government responsibility for various social problems. Therefore, the course is especially concerned with the interactions between the state, popular movements, and people's daily lives.

Full details for AMST 1640 - U.S. History since the Great Depression

Fall.
AMST1986 Disasters!: A History of Colonial Failures in the Atlantic World, 1450-1750 This course provides an overview of disastrous attempts at colonization in the Americas from ca. 1500 through ca. 1760. Over thirteen weeks, we will engage with the question of why some attempts at colonization failed and why some succeeded. We will also explore other early modern failures, from bankrupt monopoly trade companies to ill-fated buccaneer communities and entire cities destroyed by earthquakes and hurricanes. Exploring failures, rather than successes, will help students understand the contingent process of colonial expansion as well as the roles of Indigenous dispossession, African slavery, and inter-imperial trade networks to the success or failure of early modern colonies. Over the course of the semester, my lectures will cover broad themes in failed enterprises, while students will read several monographs and primary-source collections on specific disasters. Some central questions include: Why did some colonies fail and other thrived? What role did social factors like gender, race, and class play in colonial failures? What can we learn about colonialism and imperialism through a focus on when those processes ended in disasters?

Full details for AMST 1986 - Disasters!: A History of Colonial Failures in the Atlantic World, 1450-1750

AMST2070 Social Problems in the United States "Social Problems in the U.S." teaches students how to think like a social scientist when encountering claims about major contemporary issues. Through readings and assignments, students develop an analytical toolkit for evaluating the scope, causes, consequences, and proposed solutions to a wide range of complicated social problems, such as: childhood poverty, racial segregation and discrimination, job insecurity, family instability, discrimination by sexual identity, unequal pay for women's work, gender imbalances in family life, health disparities, food insecurity, drug abuse, and educational inequality. Rather than cover all of these (and other) social problems in depth, the course emphasizes a conceptual framework that can be applied broadly. The semester culminates with a written proposal examining a social problem and developing an approach to address it with public policy.

Full details for AMST 2070 - Social Problems in the United States

Fall.
AMST2220 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.

Full details for AMST 2220 - From the New Deal to the Age of Reagan

Fall.
AMST2225 Controversies About Inequality In recent years, poverty and inequality have become increasingly common topics of public debate, as academics, journalists, and politicians attempt to come to terms with growing income inequality, with the increasing visibility of inter-country differences in wealth and income, and with the persistence of racial, ethnic, and gender stratification. This course introduces students to ongoing social scientific debates about the sources and consequences of inequality, as well as the types of public policy that might appropriately be pursued to reduce (or increase) inequality. These topics will be addressed in related units, some of which include guest lectures by faculty from other universities (funded by the Center for the Study of Inequality). Each unit culminates with a highly spirited class discussion and debate.

Full details for AMST 2225 - Controversies About Inequality

Fall.
AMST2320 Latino Music in the US Music and dance cultures have been central topics of study in the development of Chicano studies, Puerto Rican studies, and Latino studies in general. From Americo Paredes to Frances Aparicio and from Jose Limon to Deborah Pacini-Hernandez, focusing on music and embodied culture through sound has allowed scholars to engage the wide variety of cultural experiences of the different ethnic groups usually described with the term "Latino". Taking this scholarship as a point of departure, this class offers a survey of Latino music in the U.S. as a window into the political, cultural and social that struggles Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Brazilians, Colombians, and Central Americans have gone through while becoming hyphenated (Eg. Mexican-American, Cuban American, etc) or not, and into how these processes have continually challenged and enriched mainstream notions of "American identity".

Full details for AMST 2320 - Latino Music in the US

Fall.
AMST2335 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.

Full details for AMST 2335 - Making Public Queer History

Fall.
AMST2381 Corruption, Collusion, and Commerce in Early America and the Caribbean Corruption in politics and economics has become a significant issue in the modern world. This course introduces students to the study of corruption and collusion from the perspective of early America and the Caribbean from 1500 through 1800. By examining the historical evolution of corruption, the course addresses questions such as: What is corruption and, by contrast, what is good governance? Who creates law and when is it enforced? Can societies be corrupt or only institutions? And, does economic corruption help or hurt financial development? Our readings and discussion will examine the intersection of politics, culture, gender, and economics. We will reflect on how early Americans understood corruption and collusion and what that can tell us about similar modern issues. In the end, the course focuses on the concept of corruption as a complex social function through the lens of bribery, piracy, sex crimes, and other forms of social deviancy.

Full details for AMST 2381 - Corruption, Collusion, and Commerce in Early America and the Caribbean

Fall.
AMST2630 Brazil to Brooklyn: Jewish Cultures of the Americas Jewish cultures in the New World are far more diverse than most Americans realize. Some know the history of Ashkenazi (German and Eastern European) Jews, most of whom immigrated to the U.S. between 1880-1920. In addition to Ashkenazi cultures, our course introduces the Sephardi (Spanish/Portuguese), Mizrahi (Arab), Persian, and Ethiopian Jews who have immigrated to the Americas since the 16th century. Students will learn how Jews of all origins have built communities across the Americas, from Jamaica, Bolivia, and Brazil to Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. We will focus on the resources that diverse Jewish communities drew on to face challenges in creating new Jewish American cultures, such as how to navigate assimilation, religious observance, legal discrimination, and gender and sexual reform.

Full details for AMST 2630 - Brazil to Brooklyn: Jewish Cultures of the Americas

Fall.
AMST2650 Introduction to African American Literature This course will introduce students to African American literary traditions in the space that would become North America. From early freedom narratives and poetry to Hip-Hop and film, we will trace a range of artistic conventions and cultural movements while paying close attention to broader historical shifts in American life over the past three centuries. We'll read broadly: poetry, fiction, speculative fiction, newspapers, and the like. We will ask: How do authors create, define, and even exceed a tradition? What are some of the recurring themes and motifs within this tradition? Authors may include: Phillis Wheatley, David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, and Eve Ewing.

Full details for AMST 2650 - Introduction to African American Literature

Fall.
AMST2665 The American Revolutionary Era As we approach the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, this course provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the origins, character, and results of the American Revolution, as well as engaging the enduring significance of its memory in contemporary American life - why do we choose to remember the American Revolution in ways that occlude its divisive and bloody events? This course explores many of the key themes of this critical period of American history: the rise of colonial opposition to Great Britain, the nature of the Revolutionary Wars, and the domestic "republican experiment" that followed the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The course emphasizes student interpretations with an eye toward analyzing the comparative experiences of women and men, "everyday people" and famous leaders, Native Americans, African-Americans, and those who opposed the Revolution.

Full details for AMST 2665 - The American Revolutionary Era

Fall.
AMST2686 The U.S. and the Middle East This course examines the history of the United States' involvement with Middle East beginning with evangelical efforts in the 19th century and President Wilson's engagement with the colonial powers in the early 20th century during and after WWI. The discovery of vast Middle Eastern oil reserves and the retreat of the colonial powers from the region following WWII drew successive US administrations ever deeper into Middle Eastern politics. In due course, the US became entrenched in the post-colonial political imagination as heir to the British and the French especially as it challenged the Soviet Union for influence in the region during the Cold War. And that only takes the story to the mid-1950s and the Eisenhower administration. Our discussions will be based on secondary readings and primary sources as we interrogate the tension between realist and idealist policies toward the Middle East and trace how these tensions play out in subsequent developments including the origins and trajectory of the US strategic alliances with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey and conflict with Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the two Gulf Wars.

Full details for AMST 2686 - The U.S. and the Middle East

Fall.
AMST2721 Anthropological Representations: Ethnographies on Latino Culture Representation is basic to anthropology. In the process of translating societies and cultures, anthropologists produce authoritative accounts about other people, their lives, and their communities. We will here examine, from a critical perspective, the production of representations on Latino culture[s] in anthropological texts. Issues to be explored include the relation between the ethnographer and the people s/he is studying, the contexts in which ethnographic texts are produced, the ways these texts may contribute to the position that different cultural groups have within the United States, and the implications emanating from these processes.

Full details for AMST 2721 - Anthropological Representations: Ethnographies on Latino Culture

Fall.
AMST2810 Migration: Histories, Controversies, and Perspectives This introductory course introduces students to issues and debates related to international migration and will provide an interdisciplinary foundation to understanding the factors that shape migration flows and migrant experiences.  We will start by reviewing theories of the state and historical examples of immigrant racialization and exclusion in the United States and beyond.  We will critically examine the notions of borders, citizenship/non-citizenship, and the creation of diasporas.  Students will also hear a range of perspectives by exposing them to Cornell guest faculty who do research and teach on migration across different disciplines and methodologies and in different world areas. Examples include demographic researchers concerned with immigrant inequality and family formation, geographic perspectives on the changing landscapes of immigrant metropolises, legal scholarship on the rights of immigrant workers, and the study of immigrant culture from a feminist studies lens.  Offered each fall semester.

Full details for AMST 2810 - Migration: Histories, Controversies, and Perspectives

AMST2980 Inventing an Information Society Provides an introduction to the role computing and information technologies played in political public life, from tabulating machines used to calculate the census to Big Tech's impact on democratic procedures, the future of labor, and the environment. Though organized around four thematic units (Recognizing and Representing, Knowing, Working, and Belonging), the course pays attention to the chronological trajectory of technologies and political practices and students will develop the skills necessary for historical analysis. While focusing on the US experience the course also highlights the international flow of labor, materials, and ideas. By studying the development of computing historically, we will grapple with the effects of computing and data sciences on society today, paying special attention to critiques of economic, racial, and gender injustice. The course will meet twice a week, and each meeting will include a lecture followed by a discussion.

Full details for AMST 2980 - Inventing an Information Society

Fall.
AMST3015 Sweetness: How Sugar Built the Modern World When sugar "was king," that is, when it was valued in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as we might value petroleum today, European nations went to war in order to possess the sugar producing islands in the Caribbean. Sugar production, slave labor, and the transatlantic trade that they generated were crucial for European empire building and the creation of the enormous wealth that, in comparison with earlier historical periods, rapidly revolutionized agriculture, nutrition, industry, labor, and free trade; racialized Caribbean peoples; and gave rise to transatlantic debates on freedom, abolitionism, and humanitarian philanthropy. Readings include A. Stuart, Sugar in the Blood, S. Mintz, Sweetness and Power, C.L.R. James, Black Jacobins. Films include, Gutiérrez Alea's The Last Supper and M. Kalatozov's I am Cuba.

Full details for AMST 3015 - Sweetness: How Sugar Built the Modern World

Fall.
AMST3033 Politics of Public Policy in the U.S. Public policies are political outcomes determined by processes that are complex, convoluted and often controversial. The aim of this course is to equip students with the conceptual tools necessary to understand these processes. We will begin with a review of popular approaches to studying policy and then move on to explore the various stages of policy development: agenda-setting, policy design, policy implementation, policy feedback and policy change. We will consider the roles played by both institutions (congress, the bureaucracy and interests groups) and everyday people. Finally, we will closely study several specific policy arenas (a few likely candidates include: education policy, health policy, social welfare policy and housing policy). As we engage all of these ideas, students will be consistently challenged to grapple with the paradoxes of policy making in a democratic polity and to envision pathways for substantive political change.  

Full details for AMST 3033 - Politics of Public Policy in the U.S.

Fall.
AMST3039 Community Engagement in Archaeology Meaningful community-engaged archaeology has the potential to transform the discipline. Increasingly, archaeologists engage intentionally with communities, through education and outreach but also through partnerships and collaboration that entail real power sharing over archaeological research and historical preservation. These developing practices contrast with disciplinary histories that stressed extraction of information and materials and a protective stance toward cultural heritage. In this class we address such histories and have the opportunity to learn about the methods, concepts, and issues encompassed within Indigenous archaeology; archaeological research with descendant, diasporic, and "ethical" communities; participatory and applied research; and communication to broad public audiences. With greater potential relevance outside the academy, engaged archaeology can attract diverse constituents into disciplinary conversations and improve research practices.

Full details for AMST 3039 - Community Engagement in Archaeology

Fall.
AMST3071 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."

Full details for AMST 3071 - Enduring Global and American Issues

Fall, Spring, Summer.
AMST3112 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.

Full details for AMST 3112 - Congress and the Legislative Process

Fall.
AMST3121 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.

Full details for AMST 3121 - Crime and Punishment

Fall.
AMST3261 Health Equity, Politics and Policy COVID-19 did not affect everyone equally. In fact, the opposite is true: the pandemic exposed dramatic health inequities by race, class, gender, and other factors. Not only were some groups more likely to catch and die from the virus than others, these same groups disproportionately suffered from its economic and social fallout, too. In the wake of this devastation, this course examines health (in)equities and what we can do about them. We explore what health equity means and how politics, policy, and power shape it -- both over time and across countries. Students will investigate how a wide range of social determinants (in addition to public health and health care systems) configure differences in health status across demographic groups. Three key touchstones of the class will be (1) a series of "deep dives" into specific policy areas, such as housing and environmental health, maternal and child health, and mental health and well-being (2) a consistent emphasis on politics, markets, and power (3) substantive opportunities for students to actively engage in health equity efforts beyond the classroom.

Full details for AMST 3261 - Health Equity, Politics and Policy

Fall.
AMST3281 Constitutional Politics This course investigates the United States Supreme Court and its role in politics and government. It traces the development of constitutional doctrine, the growth of the Court's institutional power, and the Court's interaction with Congress, the president, and society. Discussed are major constitutional law decisions, their political contexts, and the social and behavioral factors that affect judges, justices, and federal court jurisprudence.

Full details for AMST 3281 - Constitutional Politics

Fall.
AMST3302 Rhythm and Blues to Funk: Black Popular Music Before Hip Hop In this course, we'll investigate the various sounds of black popular music in the post-World War II period, its antecedents, interactions with other popular musics, and influences on later developments, principally to the mid-1970s.  The historical focus of the course locates rhythm & blues (R&B) as both a personal/interactive expression and as an expression of culture; our investigation, therefore, encompasses style history in light of how R&B affects, and is affected by, notions of ethnicity, class, nationalism, racial politics, aesthetics, gender, and genre.  Throughout, we will focus our inquiry through listening to historical recordings.  We'll investigate what has changed over time and try to understand why.  To do this, we'll study writings about music by musicians and non-musicians, study developments in music production and marketing, experience the music hands-on, and do research to add to the body of literature on rhythm-and-blues.

Full details for AMST 3302 - Rhythm and Blues to Funk: Black Popular Music Before Hip Hop

AMST3312 What was the Vietnam War? If you have ever wondered what the Vietnam War was all about, how did it begin, how was it fought, why was it so controversial, why did the American people turn against it, why was it important, why were generations of American students taught the North Vietnamese version of the war, why the South Vietnamese allies of the United States were abandoned, and what happened to the Vietnamese and the Americans as a result of the war—then this class is for you! With fresh eyes and surprising insights, it will take you beyond the fashionable fictions and clichés to look at the twenty-five years during which the United States, through six presidential administrations, was involved in Vietnamese affairs (1950-1975). For decades, Americans have been meditating on "the lessons of the Vietnam War", but it turns out that neither was any lesson ever learned nor were the so-called "lessons" even plausibly related to actual events. Today, Americans continue to be taught myths about the Vietnam War. This course shows why these myths obstruct a realistic understanding of American history during the past half-century.

Full details for AMST 3312 - What was the Vietnam War?

Fall.
AMST3317 Music in the Making and Unmaking of Race How do music, sound, and listening practices construct race? Conversely, how might we critically understand those moments when, in experiences of music, we feel race and other divisions temporarily melt away? What would it take to unmake race for real? Would we even want to? This course seeks answers in everyday experiences like urban noise and voice-overs that racialize nonhuman movie characters, and also in texts by scholars and radical decolonial and abolitionist activists. Our goals will be, first, to build critical awareness of race's own geographic and historical embeddedness, inner logics, and sonic manifestations; and second, to consider when, how, and why race might cease to be, and what the role of sound might be in its unmaking.

Full details for AMST 3317 - Music in the Making and Unmaking of Race

Fall.
AMST3360 American Drama and Theatre Explores major American playwrights from 1900 to 1960, introducing students to American theatre as a significant part of modern American cultural history. We will consider the ways in which theatre has contributed to the construction and deconstruction of a national identity. Similarly, we will examine the influence of the American Theatre on and in film. We will pay special attention to the social, political, and aesthetic contexts of the time period and discuss the shifting popularity of dramatic forms, including melodrama, realism, expressionism, absurdism, and the folk play, in the American theatre canon. Authors include O'Neill, Glaspell, Odets, Rice, Hellman, Hughes, Miller, Williams, and Albee, among others.

Full details for AMST 3360 - American Drama and Theatre

Fall.
AMST3409 Labor and Migration in Asian America How do we make sense of the competing and often contradictory narratives about Asian Americans? For example, Asian Americans are cast as the model minority and as perpetual foreigners. If we take a social scientific approach to exploring this question, labor and migration emerge as two key social phenomena that undergird these narratives. A closer examination reveals how they impact almost every aspect of Asian American political and economic life: education, neighborhoods, entrepreneurship, the military, family, citizenship, and community organizing. By synthesizing multi-disciplinary social science research, we will better understand the ways Asian Americans shape and are shaped by racial logics and will locate Asian America within broader discussions around colonialism, capitalism, heteropatriarchy, and inequality.

Full details for AMST 3409 - Labor and Migration in Asian America

Fall.
AMST3434 Underground Railroad Seminar This course offers undergraduates a unique approach to exploring the abolition movement and the Underground Railroad in Central New York. It is an experiential course that includes visits to specific known underground stations in Ithaca as well as Harriet Tubman's residence and the William H. Seward House in Auburn, NY. It is also a community-engaged course in which students will contribute research for grant writing for two sites: the St. James AME Zion Church in Ithaca, which is a documented Underground Railroad station, and the Howland Stone Store Museum in Sherwood, NY. Readings include classic slave narratives by Frederick Douglass, Equiano, Mary Prince, and Solomon Northup and histories of the Underground Railroad by Eric Foner and Kate Clifford Larson.

Full details for AMST 3434 - Underground Railroad Seminar

Fall.
AMST3452 The Myth of America This course understands "myth" in the sense of "ideological construction."  So we'll be examining the intellectual and cultural life of Americans, over the last two centuries. The emphasis will be on identity, at both the personal and national level. We'll explore the ways in which different versions of "American Culture" have been constructed and contested. Central themes and subjects include individualism, militarism, belonging, technology, philosophy, and art, in addition to race, class, and gender. What cultural baggage are you carrying when you refer to "America" or "Americans"?  Over the years, has the idea of "America" been more unifying or more divisive?

Full details for AMST 3452 - The Myth of America

Fall.
AMST3461 Introduction to African American Cinema This course explores the rich and diverse history of African American filmmaking.  Focusing on films written and/or directed by African Americans, this seminar traces the history of filmmaking from the silent era to the present day.  In exploring Black cultural production and creative expression, students will consider the ways in which film is used as a medium of protest, resistance, and cultural affirmation.  We will look at films through the critical lenses of race and representation in American cinema while locating our analysis within larger frameworks of Hollywood's representation of African Americans and various cultural and social movements within local and global contexts.

Full details for AMST 3461 - Introduction to African American Cinema

Fall.
AMST3617 Cornell Hip-Hop Collective This course is open to experienced rappers, beatmakers, and vocalists interested forging collaborative relationships with other students. Taking as a foundation hip-hop's relationship to social justice, each semester we will work together to plan and record an EP on a theme or keyword chosen as a group. We will construct and analyze playlists of inspirational material, identifying specific hip-hop compositional strategies for creating beats and rhymes on a theme, and will use these tools to create and workshop our own collaborative tracks in weekly meetings. Please contact the instructor to audition.  

Full details for AMST 3617 - Cornell Hip-Hop Collective

Fall, Spring.
AMST3680 The Art of Telling: Chicanx, Latinx, and AfroLatinx Testimonios Testimonio is a genre of prose that offers eyewitness accounts of world-changing events—from crimes against humanity like forced migration, detention, and genocide to the violence of war, both at home and abroad, often caused by circumstances beyond a person's control. Testimonios are created across geographical, linguistic, and cultural differences, and, subsequently, involve more than one person who records, translates, and shares an eyewitness account with broader audiences. Originating in Latin America, testimonio has become a powerful space for Black, Brown, Native, and Mestiza voices to tell stories that are representative of whole peoples or communities. Because of this, testimonio is questioned and debated for its truth, historical accuracy, and literary quality. We will explore the debates by asking what testimonio does to western constructs of literature. Does testimonio change history, challenge norms, and spark social change? We will answer by reading, listening, viewing, and creating testimonio—experiencing its simultaneous textual, visual, and performative modes.

Full details for AMST 3680 - The Art of Telling: Chicanx, Latinx, and AfroLatinx Testimonios

Fall.
AMST3707 Hidden Identities Onscreen From White Chicks to Blackkklansman, American film has often depicted characters who conceal their race or gender, like black male cops "passing" as wealthy white women. This class will examine how Hollywood has depicted race and gender "passing" from the early 20th century to the present. While tracing common themes across films, we will also study the ideological role of passing films: how they thrill audiences by challenging social boundaries and hierarchies, only to reestablish familiar boundaries by the end. We will not treat these films as accurate depictions of real-world passing, but rather as cultural tools that help audiences to manage ideological contradictions about race, gender, sexuality, and class. Students will finish the course by creating their own short films about passing.

Full details for AMST 3707 - Hidden Identities Onscreen

Fall.
AMST3717 Sitcom Jews: Ethnic Representation on Television and on Stage "Sitcom Jews" uses close media analysis, theoretical discussion, and student performances or media projects to examine the representation of Jews on television and on the Broadway stage from 1948-2017. We'll ask whether study of performed Jewish identity can serve as a locus for discussion of cultural representation at large, including African American, Latinx, Asian American and LGBT communities on screen and onstage. Starting with classic sitcoms ("The Goldbergs" (1948), "All in the Family", and "Bridget Loves Bernie"), and continuing through current Jewish TV shows ("The Marvelous Ms. Maisel", "Transparent", "Curb Your Enthusiasm"), as well as major theater landmarks ("Fiddler on the Roof", "Cabaret", "Bad Jews", "Indecent"), we will compare these constructed media images to concurrent political, historical and cultural trends.

Full details for AMST 3717 - Sitcom Jews: Ethnic Representation on Television and on Stage

Fall.
AMST3754 Spoken Word, Hip-Hop Theater, and the Politics of Performance In this course, we will critically examine the production and performance of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender through literature and contemporary performance genres such as spoken word, slam poetry, and hip-hop theatre.

Full details for AMST 3754 - Spoken Word, Hip-Hop Theater, and the Politics of Performance

Fall.
AMST3785 Civil Disobedience This course examines controversies in the theory and history of civil disobedience. Do citizens have obligations to obey unjust laws? Can law breaking ever be civil rather than criminal? Do disruptive protests endanger democracy or strengthen the rule of law? How do acts of protest influence public opinion and policy? How is the distinction between violence and nonviolence politically constructed and contested? We will study classical writings and contemporary scholarship in pursuit of answers to these questions and related debates concerning the rule of law, conscientious objection, the uses of civility and incivility, punishment and responsibility, as well as whistleblowing, direct action, strikes, sabotage, hacktivism, and rioting.

Full details for AMST 3785 - Civil Disobedience

Fall.
AMST3854 Special Topics in Regional Development and Globalization This course addresses pertinent issues relative to the subject of regional development and globalization. Topics vary each semester.

Full details for AMST 3854 - Special Topics in Regional Development and Globalization

Fall, Spring.
AMST3980 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.

Full details for AMST 3980 - Independent Research

Fall, Spring.
AMST3990 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.

Full details for AMST 3990 - Readings in American Studies

Fall, Spring.
AMST4002 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.

Full details for AMST 4002 - Diasporic and Indigenous Health

Fall, Spring.
AMST4021 American Conservative Thought American conservative thought rests on assumptions that are strikingly different from those made by mainstream American liberals.  However, conservative thinkers are themselves committed to principles that are both quite varied and sometimes contradictory.  This course examines the assumptions upon which rest the libertarian, market/economic, and cultural/traditional strains of American conservatism and asks whether the tensions between them weaken or strengthen conservative thought as an alternative to mainstream liberalism.

Full details for AMST 4021 - American Conservative Thought

Fall, Spring.
AMST4202 The Politics of Inequality: The History of the U.S. Welfare State This research seminar explores how Americans and their elected leaders struggled to respond to economic and social inequality throughout the twentieth century. It traces the expansions and retractions of the U.S. welfare state with special attention to the influence of average people's organizing and activism. Among other things, students will study the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Great Society, the "Reagan Revolution," and Clinton's welfare reforms. Assessment will be on the basis of class discussion, weekly reading responses, and a substantial research paper based in primary sources.

Full details for AMST 4202 - The Politics of Inequality: The History of the U.S. Welfare State

Fall.
AMST4252 Migration and the Peopling of America: A Perennial Debate This seminar offers a hands-on approach to US immigration history from the colonial era to the present. In addition to learning the contours of the surprising history of immigration to the United States from all corners of the world, including the impact of questions of legal status, gender, and race, students will strive to develop a sophisticated sense of the historical context of today's immigration debates and issues, with the opportunity to learn about these issues in Washington DC. In the late 19th century, for example, the native born often saw Southern Italian, Eastern European Jewish, and Chinese immigrants as threats to their jobs, their health, and their cultural values. Restrictionists in Congress sought to close the door through legislation or administrative regulation. Others, such as settlement house workers, sought to "Americanize" newcomers and assimilate them into the American population. Immigrants were often aware of the double message and sought to negotiate a place in American society that allowed them to succeed economically while retaining their identities. The debate continues today as millions of migrants from Latin America and Asia, documented and undocumented, arrive. After a discussion of indentured servitude and slavery (involuntary migration) this course seeks to examine the perennial debate over voluntary immigration through the eyes of both native-born Americans and through immigrants eyes to the present. 

Full details for AMST 4252 - Migration and the Peopling of America: A Perennial Debate

Fall.
AMST4262 Environmental Justice: Past, Present, Future "Environmental Justice" is a relatively recent term, coined in the United States in the 1980s.  It usually refers to a social movement fighting against the unfair concentration of toxic sites within impoverished communities of color.  As a broader set of ideas, though, "environmental justice" has a much longer history, going back at least to the 17th century in England, when poor farmers banded together to prevent common land from being enclosed for the exclusive use of the aristocracy.  This course explores that deep history, examining various overlaps between environmental thought and theories of social justice over the past 400 years in the western world.  It concludes with an examination of the current climate justice movement and a consideration of how environmental justice concerns are being played out in recent works of speculative fiction.  What do we owe to the climate refugees of our present day?  What do we owe to future generations?

Full details for AMST 4262 - Environmental Justice: Past, Present, Future

Fall.
AMST4283 Latino Politics as Racial Politics This class will examine the history and contemporary role of Latinos as a minority group in the U.S. political system. This course is intended as an overview of the political position of Latinos y Latinas in the United States. We place special emphasis on how Latinos became racial group which allows us to focus on political relationships between Latinos and non-Latinos as they relate to political institutions, political parties, voting coalitions, representation and public policy.

Full details for AMST 4283 - Latino Politics as Racial Politics

Fall.
AMST4318 American Dream?: Journalism, Politics, and Identity in U.S. Immigration Policy This course examines the journalistic record and political discourse around U.S. immigration policy, in the post 9/11 Bush, Obama, Trump and now Biden administrations, with a particular focus on the contemporary, but in the larger context of the construct of an "American" identity from the 20th century to today. Drawing from the fields of political and social science, history, law, and journalism, the course will engage students in rigorous ethical and academic debate on the social, economic, and geopolitical factors that spur migration; the roles of governance, authority, democracy — including the press — in responding to it and shaping public opinion and policy around it; and the inextricability of those institutions from nativism, xenophobia, and of course, politics. It will require students to conduct research and reporting of their own with primary sources and the very officials, writers and communities who have both shaped and been shaped by the increasingly urgent debate over the "American Dream," in the U.S. and around the world. Immigration isn't stopping. How the U.S. responds will, as it has always done, define what it means to be "American."

Full details for AMST 4318 - American Dream?: Journalism, Politics, and Identity in U.S. Immigration Policy

Fall.
AMST4519 Toni Morrison's Novels In this course, we will engage in close and reflective critical readings of Toni Morrison's eleven novels. Morrison's writing style is characterized by highly distinctive strategies in the development of narrative and in the use of language. As we journey across her body of work as readers, we will examine a range of recurring themes, along with the "love trilogy" on which she focused her repertoire for several years. The course, through a comprehensive, chronological and focused look at Morrison's body of novels, will help students who entirely lack familiarity with it to gain a strong foundation for further research and study. By the end of the course, even students who already know Morrison's work will walk away with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of it. The course will help students to reinforce their skills in reading fiction, and more astute and exacting readers of the novel as a genre.

Full details for AMST 4519 - Toni Morrison's Novels

Fall.
AMST4560 The Politics and Joy in Black Women's Writing This course will look at how Black women writers negotiated enslavement, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow era segregation while also managing to find avenues of joy, escapism, and a certain kind of freedom through art-making. In addition to reading primary texts by Phillis Wheatley, Hannah Bond, Jessie Redmon Fauset, and others we will also look at critical and theoretical work by Toni Morrison, Saidiyah Hartman, Barbara Fields, and Karen Fields.

Full details for AMST 4560 - The Politics and Joy in Black Women's Writing

Fall.
AMST4632 Rethinking Asian American Literature: Indigeneity, Diaspora, Settler Colonialism What are the limits and possibilities for Asian American longing and belonging? Asian Americans have been variously understood as immigrants, refugees, "forever foreigners," and "model minorities." These ideas emerge from and shape US understandings of nation, empire, rights, and citizenship. Native and Indigenous studies scholars have asked how and whether immigrants—including exploited workers—are complicit with settlement and occupation. In this course we will read Asian American literary texts from the Americas through Asian American and Indigenous cultural critique to consider the overlapping dimensions of militarism, carcerality, racial capitalism, heteropatriarchy, and dispossession in order to learn what comparative and relational approaches can teach us.

Full details for AMST 4632 - Rethinking Asian American Literature: Indigeneity, Diaspora, Settler Colonialism

Fall.
AMST4880 Contemporary Poetry and Poetics What gives contemporary poetry and poetics its resonance and value? What are its dominant features, audiences, and purposes? What does 21st-century poetry's textual environment look like, and how does it situate itself among other genres, discourses, disciplines, media? How would we describe its ambient noise and how does that noise shape, inform, inflect its particular concerns and motivated forms? How does contemporary poetry resist, engage, respond to, sound out that noise? How are we to understand its relation to the pivotal cultural, economic, historical, philosophical, political developments of our time? This seminar will explore these and related questions in a wide range of works that open onto the rich interplay of contemporary poetry and poetics with questions of personal and collective identity and language in contexts at once local and global. Poets include Armantrout, Bernstein, Collins, Espada, Gander, Fitterman, Goldsmith, Hong, Osman, Place, Rich, Smith, and Waldrop.

Full details for AMST 4880 - Contemporary Poetry and Poetics

Fall.
AMST4900 New World Encounters, 1500 - 1800 The discovery of the Americas, wrote Francisco Lopez de Gomara in 1552, was "the greatest event since the creation of the world, excepting the Incarnation and Death of Him who created." Five centuries have not diminished either the overwhelming importance or the strangeness of the early encounter between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Taking a comparative approach, this course will conceptualize early American history as the product of reciprocal cultural encounters by assessing the various experiences of Spanish, French, and English newcomers in different regions of the Americas. Critical interpretation of primary source material will be emphasized in the course, as will the development of students' ability to reflect critically on these documents, taking into account the perspective of both the colonizers and the colonized. 

Full details for AMST 4900 - New World Encounters, 1500 - 1800

Fall.
AMST4993 Honors Essay Tutorial I To graduate with honors, AMST majors must complete a senior thesis under the supervision of an AMST faculty member and defend that thesis orally before a committee. Students interested in the honors program should consult the AMST Director of Undergraduate Study during the junior year and submit an honors application by May 1 of the junior year.

Full details for AMST 4993 - Honors Essay Tutorial I

Multi-semester course: (Fall, Spring - on demand).
AMST4998 Inquiry in Politics and Policy This required course forms the core of the Cornell in Washington academic program. The foundational skill of both politics and policy is taking knowledge, analyzing it, figuring out how to convert it into action. This course aims to give students the experience and understanding of how this process of knowledge into action works. Students will undertake a substantial research project in a topic related to or affected by politics and/or policy (broadly defined), and examine it through a variety of approaches and disciplines. The main goal is to understand the issue, analyze what is going on, and evaluate what options are available to respond.  The idea is to not only define and examine the issue, but also think how to create and implement a solution. To do this, students will examine their issue using multiple different forms of inquiry (normative, empirical, and policy analysis) to see what each of those reveal as well as to see how the choice of how they investigate it shapes their results. CAPS students must do a topic that is related to Asia. GPHS students must do a topic that is related to public health.

Full details for AMST 4998 - Inquiry in Politics and Policy

Fall, Spring.
AMST6003 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 concentration will be on the praxis of quantifying and contextualizing the experiences, attitudes, and outcomes of historically marginalized and "hidden" populations, including people who are Black, Latinx and indigenous, LGBTQ+,  and individuals with a mental illness or substance use disorder, with an intersectional lens. While not offering an exhaustive review of individual quantitative and qualitative methodologies, students will learn the fundamentals of curating a research framework on marginalized and hidden populations, engaging and recruiting people into their studies, collecting and analyzing data, and disseminating research findings.

Full details for AMST 6003 - Doing Research With Marginalized Populations

Fall, Spring.
AMST6039 Community Engagement in Archaeology Meaningful community-engaged archaeology has the potential to transform the discipline. Increasingly, archaeologists engage intentionally with communities, through education and outreach but also through partnerships and collaboration that entail real power sharing over archaeological research and historical preservation. These developing practices contrast with disciplinary histories that stressed extraction of information and materials and a protective stance toward cultural heritage. In this class we address such histories and have the opportunity to learn about the methods, concepts, and issues encompassed within Indigenous archaeology; archaeological research with descendant, diasporic, and "ethical" communities; participatory and applied research; and communication to broad public audiences. With greater potential relevance outside the academy, engaged archaeology can attract diverse constituents into disciplinary conversations and improve research practices.

Full details for AMST 6039 - Community Engagement in Archaeology

Fall.
AMST6321 Black Power Movement and Transnationalism This seminar explores the international and transnational dimensions of the Black Power Movement, broadly defined. Beginning with an examination of transnationalism in the early 20th century, it examines the thought and political activities of African-American intellectuals and activists who crossed national boundaries, figuratively and literally, in the quest for black freedom. We will focus on the postwar era, particularly the 1950s through the 1980s, exploring transnationalism in the context of black feminism, Marxism, black nationalism, Pan Africanism, and other political traditions. We will examine the meeting and mingling of transnational discourses, ideologies, and activists in North America, the Caribbean, and Africa. 

Full details for AMST 6321 - Black Power Movement and Transnationalism

Fall.
AMST6335 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.

Full details for AMST 6335 - Making Public Queer History

Fall.
AMST6513 Toni Morrison's Novels Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison received her M.A. in English at Cornell University in 1955.  To study her, in a way, is to gain a deeper understanding of how she journeyed on from her days as a student here to become one of the world's greatest writers, how she has helped to transform world literature, and how she has shaped Cornell's great legacy through the phenomenal one that she has built.  In this course, we will engage in close and reflective critical readings of Toni Morrison's eleven novels.  Morrison's writing style is characterized by highly distinctive strategies in the development of narrative and in the use of language.  As we journey across her body of work as readers, we will examine a range of recurring themes, along with the "love trilogy" on which she focused her repertoire for several years.  The course, through a comprehensive, chronological and focused look at Morrison's body of novels, will help students who entirely lack familiarity with it to gain a strong foundation for further research and study.  By the end of the course, even students who already know Morrison's work will walk away with a deeper and more nuanced critical understanding of it.  The course will help students to reinforce their skills in reading fiction, and help them to become more astute and exacting readers of the novel as a genre.  Morrison's novels have placed her at the vanguard of the globalization of the novel itself, and she is, undisputedly, one the most famous and innovative writers in the world.  Moreover, her thinking is so original and pivotal that her fiction and critical works are absolutely indispensable for all serious students and scholars in fields such as American literature.  Its impact on African American literature is equally vital.  We will focus on reading the repertoire of novels by Morrison, including The Bluest Eye, Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977), Tar Baby (1981), Beloved (1987), Jazz (1992), Paradise (1998), Love (2003), A Mercy (2008) Home (2012), and God Help the Child (2014).  We will screen selected scenes from the 1998 film adaptation of her novel Beloved, along with the documentary on Morrison, The Pieces I Am (2019).  

Full details for AMST 6513 - Toni Morrison's Novels

Fall.
AMST6612 Minoritarian Aesthetics In-And Performance What are minoritarian aesthetics? How do these inform the production and reception of performance, broadly defined? How does attending to the aesthetics involved in the production of artistic and cultural productions open up new ways of critically understanding the world around us? In seeking to answer these questions, and others, this seminar will introduce graduate students to theories and critiques that attend to the aesthetic dimensions of visual culture, scripted staged performances, performance art, and contemporary media created by Black, queer, Asian, Caribbean, and Latinx/Latin people. Drawing on the work of theorists Fred Moten, José Esteban Muñoz, Leticia Alvarado, and Sandra Ruiz amongst others, students will interrogate the dialectical relationship between the artist's subject position and their resultant creative and critical work.

Full details for AMST 6612 - Minoritarian Aesthetics In-And Performance

Fall.
AMST6656 Topics in Social and Political Philosophy Advanced discussion of a topic in social and political philosophy.

Full details for AMST 6656 - Topics in Social and Political Philosophy

Fall.
Top