Courses by semester

Courses for Fall 22

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.
AMST1139 FWS: Topics in American Studies
The American Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary engagement with what America means in the United States and in a global context. Faculty encourage students to look at the histories and cultures of the changing United States as a question still in need of answering and as an experiment still in process, not as a dream fully realized. We use multiple perspectives and methodologies and require that students synthesize knowledge in ways that develop the skills needed for rigorous, complex analysis. Topics vary by section.

Full details for AMST 1139 - FWS: Topics in American Studies

Fall, Spring.
AMST1290 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.

Full details for AMST 1290 - American Society through Film

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.
AMST1585 Sports and Politics in American History
This course will explore the relationship between sports and politics over the course of American history since the 19th century.  Sports and politics have come together surprisingly frequently in the last two centuries and this course will take a "case study" method to examine particular episodes of politicized sports.  In the course of our investigations, we will the following questions: How do we define politics?  How have sports acted as a place for subversion and resistance? Conversely, how have sports reflected the power structure? No background knowledge is necessary.   Course materials will include memoirs, articles, and a variety of visual sources, including film and photography.   Course requirements will include a research paper.

Full details for AMST 1585 - Sports and Politics in American History

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

AMST1800 Immigration in U.S. History
This course examines immigration to the United States since the early national period. The course will consider the root causes of migration; its role in settler colonialism, nation-building, and empire; and the social, cultural and economic adaptation of various populations. We will also examine popular and political responses to immigration, as reflected in legislation and policy, and film and the print media.

Full details for AMST 1800 - Immigration in U.S. History

AMST1850 Thinking about History with the Manson Murders
On August 9-10, 1969, ex-convict, aspiring rock star, and charismatic leader Charles Manson ordered his so-called Family to brutally murder a few of LA's rich, white, "beautiful people" and leave clues implicating black radicals. The idea was to trigger an apocalyptic race war he called "Helter Skelter" (after a song by The Beatles). Today, these murders stand as the most infamous in twentieth-century U.S. criminal history and as synecdoche for the "end of the Sixties." They have also spawned a veritable Manson Industry in the popular realm: there are now Manson books, movies, TV shows, documentaries, podcasts, websites, music, comics, t-shirts, and even a tourist attraction (the Hollywood "Helter Skelter" tour). This course analyzes the history of the Manson murders as well as their incredible resonance in American culture over the past half century. Who was Charles Manson and who were the members of the Family? What was the Family's relation to the counterculture, to Hollywood, Vietnam, the Black Panther Party, and environmentalism? How might we fit the Manson murders into the long history of apocalyptic violence and terror? And what does it mean that the Manson murders have occupied our collective imagination for fifty years? To answer these and other questions, we will analyze a variety of sources including television and newspaper reports, trial transcripts, true crime writing, memoirs, interviews, novels, films and documentaries, podcasts and pop songs.

Full details for AMST 1850 - Thinking about History with the Manson Murders

AMST2012 September 11 and the Politics of Memory
As a country, we are what we remember. But who decides what facts and stories about the past are important enough to memorialize? What does that decision tell us about power and truth? This class will discuss how the attacks of September 11 are remembered in the United States and the rest of the world.

Full details for AMST 2012 - September 11 and the Politics of Memory

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

AMST2106 Introduction to Latinx Studies
This course is an introduction to Latina/o Studies, an interdisciplinary field of knowledge production that focuses on historical, sociopolitical, cultural, and economic experiences of Latinx peoples in the United States—both as a nation and as a geopolitical location in a larger world. We will survey and analyze the arts, histories, cultures, politics, and sociological landscapes of Puerto Ricans, Dominican Americans, Cuban Americans, Mexican Americans, Central Americans, as well as other Latinx peoples who have made communities within the United States for centuries, and who are part of Latinx diasporas. Intersections of U.S. Latinx identities are also explored in this course by asking questions related to the fields housed within Latina/o Studies: How is Latina/o/x identity defined and performed? What does the use of an 'x' in Latinx mean or do? How do histories of race, class, gender, and sexuality in the U.S. impact one's Latina/o/x identity?  Many of these questions will be answered by using scholarship produced by the Latina/o Studies Program faculty at Cornell, familiarizing students with the breadth of research and expertise of program.

Full details for AMST 2106 - Introduction to Latinx Studies

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

AMST2251 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. 

Full details for AMST 2251 - U.S. Immigration Narratives

AMST2401 Introduction to U.S. Latinx Literature
From radical manifestos written by revolutionaries and satirical plays of union organizers to experimental novels, poetry, art, and music, this course examines Latinx literatures published in the United States beginning in the nineteenth century and continuing to the present. We also pay particular attention to the precursors of U.S. Latinx literature, pushing back on the "borders" of national canons of art and culture to rethink "the start" or origin point of "American" literature. Exploring oral histories and intergenerational memory in the narratives of spoken word, visual, craft, and ephemeral art, we sample fiction, poetry, letters, and other forms of storytelling that document the experience of Latinx peoples. Authors include Julia Alvarez, Gloria Anzaldúa, Luisa Capetillo, José Martí, José Montoya, Cherríe Moraga, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, Pedro Pietri, Ernesto Quiñonez, Helena Viramontes, and others. This course satisfies the Literatures of the Americas requirement for English majors.

Full details for AMST 2401 - Introduction to U.S. Latinx Literature

AMST2600 Introduction to Native American Literature
The production of North American Indigenous literatures began long before European colonization, and persists in a variety of printed, sung, carved, painted, written, spoken, and digital media. From oral traditions transmitted through memory and mnemonics to contemporary genres and media, Native North American authors offer Indigenous perspectives on social, political, and environmental experience, through deft artistry and place-specific aesthetics. Our attention will focus on the contexts from which particular Native American literatures emerge, the ethics to consider when entering Indigenous intellectual territory, and close attention to common themes and techniques that frequently appear in contemporary Native American literature. Readings will feature a range of novels, poetry, short fiction, graphic novel/comics, and film.

Full details for AMST 2600 - Introduction to Native American Literature

AMST2640 Introduction to Asian American History
An introductory history of Chinese, Japanese, Asian Indians, Filipinos, and Koreans in the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1990s. Major themes include racism and resistance, labor migration, community formation, imperialism, and struggles for equality.

Full details for AMST 2640 - Introduction to Asian American History

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. This course satisfies the Literatures of the Americas requirement for English majors.

Full details for AMST 2650 - Introduction to African American Literature

AMST2669 American Political Thought
This course offers a survey of American political thought from the colonial period to the present. We will read Puritan sermons, revolutionary pamphlets, philosophical treatises, presidential orations, slave narratives, prison writings, and other classic texts, in order to understand the ideas and debates that have shaped American politics. Topics to be discussed will include the meaning of freedom, the relationship between natural rights and constitutional authority, the idea of popular sovereignty, theories of representation and state power, race and national identity, problems of inequality, and the place of religion in public life. Lectures will be organized around both historical context and close reading of primary texts.

Full details for AMST 2669 - American Political Thought

AMST2690 American Poetry Since 1850
This course introduces students to major American poets from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. It is designed for anyone wanting to deepen their knowledge of and appreciation for poetry while also addressing its relationship to modern American social and cultural history. It addresses questions about what poetry is for, why it is often "difficult," how it is related to language-play as a basic human drive that engages with personal anxieties, bodily rhythms, social and existential tensions, and the riddles of existence. Another through-line of this course is the relationship of poetry to democracy in the United States.

Full details for AMST 2690 - American Poetry Since 1850

Fall or Spring.
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

Fall or Spring.
AMST2955 Socialism in America
"Why no socialism in America?" Scholars and activists have long pondered the relative dearth (compared to other industrialized societies) of sustained, popular, anticapitalist activity in the United States. Sure, leftist movements in the U.S. have often looked and operated differently than those in other parts of the world. But many Americans have forged creative and vibrant traditions of anticapitalism under very difficult circumstances. This class examines socialist thought and practice in the U.S. from the 19th century to the present. We trace intersections of race, class, and gender while exploring the freedom dreams of those who have opposed capitalism in the very heart of global power.

Full details for AMST 2955 - Socialism in America

AMST3092 Strategic Advocacy: Lobbying and Interest Group Politics in Washington, D.C.
How is public policy really formed in the United States today? Who are the key actors and decision makers who shape the laws and regulations that impact us at the local, state and federal levels of government? Most importantly, how do private individuals (lobbyists, trade associations, media and other influencers) sway how laws, rules and regulations impact our daily lives? The goal of this course is to provide a foundation of how private influence impacts our public policy. Building upon this foundation, students will learn who the key policymakers are in the public sector alongside of those in the private sector who seek to influence them. Students will gain knowledge through academic texts looking at the role of interest group politics in America as well as the Instructor's 30 years of experience working as a public policy practitioner working at the highest levels of government on Capitol Hill and the White House as well as being a former lobbyist and licensed attorney at law.

Full details for AMST 3092 - Strategic Advocacy: Lobbying and Interest Group Politics in Washington, D.C.

Fall, Spring.
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 Fall 2022, 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

AMST3214 Dance in America: Cultures, Identities, and Fabrication
This course 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.

Full details for AMST 3214 - Dance in America: Cultures, Identities, and Fabrication

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

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?

AMST3330 Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Place-Based Ecological Knowledge
Based on indigenous and place-based "ways of knowing," this course (1) presents a theoretical and humanistic framework from which to understand generation of ecological knowledge; (2) examines processes by which to engage indigenous and place-based knowledge of natural resources, the nonhuman environment, and human-environment interactions; and (3) reflects upon the relevance of this knowledge to climatic change, resource extraction, food sovereignty, medicinal plant biodiversity, and issues of sustainability and conservation. The fundamental premise of this course is that human beings are embedded in their ecological systems.

Full details for AMST 3330 - Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Place-Based Ecological Knowledge

AMST3358 Why Forget the Korean War?
The Korean War (1950-1953) followed the Chinese Civil War (1945-1949) when the People's Republic of China promoted communist revolutions in Korea and Vietnam that were resisted by the United States. Often called "the forgotten war," the Korean War was a time of great suffering for the Korean people, involved the armies of several countries, and had a large influence not only on the subsequent history of Korea but also on the direction of the Cold War and on American politics, society, and military organization. This course will examine the war and why it became important for Americans to forget it. American memories of the war were swamped by the experience of the Vietnam War, but deeper than that was the troubling adjustment to the Cold War after the sense of accomplishment produced by the end of the Second World War. It was the beginning of the American perception of limitations on what the United States could and should do to promote its interests in global affairs.

Full details for AMST 3358 - Why Forget the Korean War?

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

AMST3430 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.

Full details for AMST 3430 - History of the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction

AMST3434 Underground Railroad Seminar
This seminar offers students the unique opportunity to explore the abolition movement of upstate New York and to visit and research some of the Underground Railroad routes in Ithaca and the Central New York region. The course provides an introductory examination of antebellum slavery and its abolition in the United States, including slave narratives and the alliances among free African Americans, Quakers, and other abolitionists in the United States. One of the principal student projects includes writing a brief fictional piece on the experience of being on the Underground Railroad or assisting someone to travel on it. These creative writing exercises will be considered for uploading to the Voices on the Underground Railroad website.

Full details for AMST 3434 - Underground Railroad Seminar

AMST3562 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.

Full details for AMST 3562 - Thinking from a Different Place: Indigenous Philosophies

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.
AMST3745 Parody
In A Theory of Parody, Linda Hutcheon defines parody broadly as "repetition with critical difference, which marks difference rather than similarity." Taking a cue from Hutcheon, we will consider parody as a form of meaning making that is not necessarily used in the service of ridicule. Rather, we will examine a number of late-twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century imitative works in order to distinguish the rich variety of political agendas and aesthetic rationales for recent parody. An emphasis on postmodern or contemporary performances and media that renovate images, ideas, and icons from modernism and modernity will unite our otherwise diverse efforts. Some of these efforts will also highlight what happens when an artist takes up a work made for one platform (for example, theatre, performance art, installation, cinema, television, the Web) and parodies it in another. Creators and works under consideration may range from Christopher Durang, Split Britches, and Pig Iron Theatre Company to The Simpsons, Cookie's Fortune, and Strindberg and Helium.

Full details for AMST 3745 - Parody

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.
AMST3885 Race and War in History: Workers, Soldiers, Prisoners, Activists
Across twentieth-century history, race and war have been dynamic forces in shaping economic organization and everyday livelihoods. This course will approach labor and working-class history, through a focus on global war as well as 'wars at home.' Racial and warfare events often intersect—in the histories of presidents and activists, business leaders and industrial workers, CIA agents and police, soldiers and prisoners, American laborers abroad and non-Americans migrating stateside. In this course, we'll consider how race and war have been linked—from the rise of Jim Crow and U.S. empire in the 1890s, to the WWII 'Greatest Generation' and its diverse workplaces, to Vietnam and the civil rights movement, to the Iraq wars and immigrant workers, to debates about what has been called a 'military-industrial complex' and a 'prison-industrial complex'.

Full details for AMST 3885 - Race and War in History: Workers, Soldiers, Prisoners, Activists

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.
AMST4040 Fictions of Dictatorship
Fictions of dictatorship, as termed by scholar Lucy Burns, denote both the narratives and spectacles produced by authoritarian governments and the performances, events, and cultural objects that work against these states of exception. This course will critically examine histories of dictatorships, through both documentary & creative forms (i.e. novels, memoirs, and performance) and with a geographic focus on Asia and Latin America, in order to understand authoritarian returns in our present historical moment.

Full details for AMST 4040 - Fictions of Dictatorship

AMST4203 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.

Full details for AMST 4203 - Contesting Votes: Democracy and Citizenship Throughout U.S. History

AMST4220 Locke and the Philosophies of Dispossession: Indigenous America's Interruptions and Resistances
This course looks at the philosopher John Locke as a philosopher of dispossession. There is a uniquely Lockean mode of missionization, conception of mind and re-formulations of the 'soul' applied to dispossess Indigenous peoples of the social institutions, intellectual traditions and the material bases and practices which sustain(ed) them. While colonization is typically used as a kind of shorthand for this process, we will be attempting to stay focused on the specific dimensions of Lockean dispossession and its mutually informing relationship with English colonialism.

Full details for AMST 4220 - Locke and the Philosophies of Dispossession: Indigenous America's Interruptions and Resistances

AMST4533 The Lower East Side: Jews and the Immigrant City
American Jews have frequently been touted as a "model minority." This course will take a more critical look at the historical interactions between Jewish immigration, United States industrialization, and processes of social and geographical mobility—all through the prism of New York's Lower East Side, first home for over 750,000 Jewish immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere between the mid-19th century and the 1920s.  We will compare the Jewish experience to that of other immigrants/migrants by considering social institutions as well as material and other cultural practices. We will examine interactions with the built environment —most especially the tenement—in Lower East Side culture. Special attention will be paid to immigrant labor movement politics including strikes, splits, and gender in the garment trade. From the perspective of the present, the course will examine how commemoration, heritage tourism and the selling of [immigrant] history intersect with gentrifying real estate in an "iconic" New York City neighborhood. Projects using the ILR's archives on the Triangle Fire and other topics are explicitly encouraged. This course counts as an out of college elective for B. Arch and M. Arch students.

Full details for AMST 4533 - The Lower East Side: Jews and the Immigrant City

AMST4556 Decolonial Poetics and Aesthetics: Arts of Resistance in the Americas
Exploring a genealogy of Latinx, Afro-Latinx, Black, Indigenous, and Chicana/o/x theorizations of modernity and identity, the course asks, what is the decolonial? Is it a space between the colonial and post-colonial? Is it a creative process, an intellectual theorization, or a historical period? Is it a performance, intervention, or embodied experience? Tracing a historical trajectory of the decolonial in poetry, performance, installation, and visual art, the course examines decolonial modes of making and being from the sixteenth to the twenty first century. 

Full details for AMST 4556 - Decolonial Poetics and Aesthetics: Arts of Resistance in the Americas

AMST4627 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.

Full details for AMST 4627 - Contemporary Native American Fiction

AMST4674 Dispossession, Truth, and Reconciliation
The dispossession of Indigenous nations by Europeans represents the foundation of the past five centuries of North American history. Yet the truth of that history remains cloaked behind various Western legal-religious justifications for the dispossession of lndigenous American populations by Europeans (i.e., terra nullius, the Doctrine of Discovery, the right of conquest, and Manifest Destiny). Through analysis of primary texts and up-to-date historical and legal scholarship, students in this course will unpack these still-thriving tropes of settler-colonial justification for dispossession, assess the true impact of the taking of Indigenous lands, and explore prospects for meaningful reconciliation in the present. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

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AMST4681 Cages and Creativity: Arts in Incarceration
This course explores the increasing presence of all the arts in prisons throughout the country and examines the increasing scholarship surrounding arts programs and their efficacy for incarcerated persons. The course uses video's, archival material, reading material and in-person or Zoom interviews to investigate how and why art is taught in prisons. The course will also look at art produced by incarcerated artists as well as art by those who are still practicing after going home. And finally, the course will explore the increasing scholarship around the impact practicing the arts while incarcerated has on recidivism rates and preparation for re-entry.

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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.

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Offered 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.

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Fall, Spring.
AMST6122 Racial and Ethnic Politics in the U.S.
This course examines racial and ethnic politics in the United States, highlighting its fundamental and constitutive role in shaping American politics more broadly. We will explore the political origins of the American racial order and the ways it has both persisted and changed over time. Focusing on participation, representation and resistance, we will emphasize the political agency of racialized groups while recognizing the power of institutions and policies in shaping their trajectory. This course should provide students with the knowledge and analytical tools necessary to better understand and more effectively study the complexities of race that loom large in a post-Ferguson, post-Obama America.  

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AMST6220 Locke and the Philosophies of Dispossession: Indigenous America's Interruptions and Resistances
This course looks at the philosopher John Locke as a philosopher of dispossession. There is a uniquely Lockean mode of missionization, conception of mind and re-formulations of the 'soul' applied to dispossess Indigenous peoples of the social institutions, intellectual traditions and the material bases and practices which sustain(ed) them. While colonization is typically used as a kind of shorthand for this process, we will be attempting to stay focused on the specific dimensions of Lockean dispossession and its mutually informing relationship with English colonialism.

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AMST6322 Readings in 20th Century African-American History
This graduate seminar will explore major currents in historical writing about African-American life and culture in the twentieth century. Focusing on social, intellectual, and labor history, we will identify key themes in recent studies of the formation of modern black communities and politics before and after World War Two. The course will place special emphasis on class, gender, social movements, and migration.

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AMST6585 American Political Thought
This course is a graduate seminar that examines a selection of important texts that have helped shape and contest the political idea—and the political ideals—of America, placing particular emphasis on the dissenting traditions of American political thought. Beginning with a sermon delivered to Puritans on their way to the "New World," and ending with a seminal debate between John Dewey and Walter Lippman over the very possibility of democratic self-rule in the modern age, the course will emphasize how intellectual argument in America has shaped—and been shaped by—the larger political culture of which it is a part. We will place particular emphasis on four significant periods in American political history: Puritan New England, the Revolution and Founding, Abolition and Civil War, and the Progressive Era. (PT)

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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.

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AMST6674 Dispossession, Truth, and Reconciliation
The dispossession of Indigenous nations by Europeans represents the foundation of the past five centuries of North American history. Yet the truth of that history remains cloaked behind various Western legal-religious justifications for the dispossession of lndigenous American populations by Europeans (i.e., terra nullius, the Doctrine of Discovery, the right of conquest, and Manifest Destiny). Through analysis of primary texts and up-to-date historical and legal scholarship, students in this course will unpack these still-thriving tropes of settler-colonial justification for dispossession, assess the true impact of the taking of Indigenous lands, and explore prospects for meaningful reconciliation in the present. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

Full details for AMST 6674 - Dispossession, Truth, and Reconciliation