Courses

Courses by semester

Courses for Fall 2024

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.
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

Fall.
AMST1500 Introduction to Africana Studies
At the inception of this department at Cornell University in 1969, the Africana Studies and Research Center became the birthplace of the field "Africana studies." Africana studies emphasizes comparative and interdisciplinary studies of Africa, the U.S., the Caribbean and other diasporas. In this course, we will look at the diverse contours of the discipline. We will explore contexts ranging from modernity and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and plantation complex in the New World to processes of decolonization and globalization in the contemporary digital age. 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 an 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, investigate through one or more of the disciplines relevant to the question, and 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.
AMST1576 War in U.S. History: From the Frontier to the Wars on Terror
Is war a "way of life" for Americans, as some historians have suggested? In recent years, many Americans have come to think about war as something that happens "over there", away from our own shores, but war – the act of fighting itself, as well as the political, economic and social demands of mobilisation, and the foreign and domestic consequences of military violence – has shaped the United States in countless ways. This course explores both the shadow of war – the seen and unseen effects it has on people and societies – and the substance – the wars themselves – to explore America's relationships with the rest of the world, from the revolutionary period to the present day. At the same time, we we'll also examine non-military and quasi-military encounters between Americans and peoples abroad, including tourism, romantic entanglements, business relationships, and religious proselytising, asking "what is war?", and even whether the United States has ever been at peace. Through this multi-layered focus we will discover some of the many ways in which Americans have thought about, engaged with, impacted, and been impacted by, the world beyond the country's borders, and the extent to which war and violence have played a prominent role in those interactions.

Full details for AMST 1576 - War in U.S. History: From the Frontier to the Wars on Terror

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.
AMST1770 U.S. History through Literature
This lecture course combines historical and literary approaches to explore the inner life of Americans over the last two hundred years. No prior knowledge of US history is assumed. We'll examine the ways in which historical context can shape literary works and the ways in which literature, in turn, can shape history.  How have Americans imagined themselves and their nation?  Has there ever been a stable American identity? The focus will be on literary works that pose questions about race, gender, individualism, and belonging, allowing us to see how writers have both reinforced and resisted cultural pressures.  My hope is that tracing US history through works of the imagination will help in the collective (and perpetual) effort to reimagine American life.

Full details for AMST 1770 - U.S. History through Literature

Fall.
AMST1951 Foreign Policy as Subversion
To what extent does the ideal of the US as a vanguard for democracy and freedom in the world match up with other aspects—military, economic, and humanitarian—of US foreign policy? This same question about the degree to which discourses and practices correspond might be asked of other countries, like the Soviet Union, China, and Britain, but this course examines the ways in which US foreign policy has been deployed over the course of the twentieth century and the ways those policies have been perceived and received by people living in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Particular case studies will be addressed stemming from the faculty's specializations (for example, Vietnam, Cambodia, Guatemala, and Chile) and the emphasis is on the role of the United States in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Prominent themes will include forms of subversion, from military muscle to economic coercion, and how and why they have changed over time; meanings of liberty, democracy, freedom, and sovereignty in different places and times; popular responses to policies and actions of foreign administrations; the relationships between sovereign states and transnational corporations; the uses and abuses of History in the formulation and justification of policy initiatives and in local responses to them; and the complexities involved in discerning internal and external forces in an increasingly transnational world.

Full details for AMST 1951 - Foreign Policy as Subversion

Fall.
AMST1985 American History from 1500 to 1800
On the eve of the American Revolution Britain administered 26 colonies—not just the 13 that would become the United States. British North America's dramatic struggle for independence has led many history textbooks to read the revolution back into colonial history, focusing on those 13 North American colonies that would become the United States, often at the expense of global connections that defined the colonial and revolutionary periods. As this class will explore, key elements of early American history can only be understood through a broader perspective, from the economic growth of New England as a result of the African slave trade and exchange in the Caribbean, to the use of citizenship as a category of exclusion in response to the myriad inhabitants—European, Indigenous, and African—who neighbored or lived within the original 13 colonies. In this course, we will explore the history of early America from the 1490s through the 1800s from a global perspective. Voices usually peripheral to the narrative of American development, from enslaved African mariners to Spanish American nuns, will become central to processes of cultural encounter, labor exploitation, revolutionary upheavals, and state formation that shaped the making and unmaking early America.

Full details for AMST 1985 - American History from 1500 to 1800

Fall.
AMST2006 Punk Culture: The Art and Politics of Refusal
Punk Culture–comprised of music, fashion, literature, and visual arts–represents a complex critical stance of resistance and refusal that coalesced at a particular historical moment in the mid-1970s, and continues to be invoked, revived, and revised. In this course we will explore punk's origins in New York and London, U.S. punk's regional differences (the New York scene's connection to the art and literary worlds, Southern California's skate and surf culture, etc.), its key movements (hardcore, straight edge, riot grrrl, crust, queercore), its race, class and gender relations, and its ongoing influence on global youth culture. We will read, listen, and examine a variety of visual media to analyze how punk draws from and alters previous aesthetic and political movements. No previous experience studying music is necessary.

Full details for AMST 2006 - Punk Culture: The Art and Politics of Refusal

Fall.
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

Fall.
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.
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

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.
AMST2253 Diasporas from the Spanish Caribbean
This seminar examines the Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican diasporas in the United States. We will examine US relations with these three countries; the root causes of this Caribbean migration; their history in particular urban areas of the United States; and the political, social, and cultural issues that have attracted attention.

Full details for AMST 2253 - Diasporas from the Spanish Caribbean

Fall.
AMST2350 Archaeology of Indigenous North America
This introductory course surveys archaeology's contributions to the study of American Indian cultural diversity and change in North America north of Mexico. Lectures and readings will examine topics ranging from the debate over when the continent was first inhabited to present-day conflicts between Native Americans and archaeologists over excavation and the interpretation of the past. We will review important archaeological sites such as Chaco Canyon, Cahokia, Lamoka Lake, and the Little Bighorn battlefield. A principal focus will be on major transformations in lifeways such as the adoption of agriculture, the development of political-economic hierarchies, and the disruptions that accompanied the arrival of Europeans to the continent.

Full details for AMST 2350 - Archaeology of Indigenous North America

Fall.
AMST2354 African American Visions of Africa
This seminar examines some of the political and cultural visions of Africa and Africans held by African-American intellectuals and activists in the 19th and 20th centuries. Emphasis is placed on the philosophies of black nationalism, Pan Africanism and anticolonialism and the themes of emigration, expatriation, repatriation and exile. Awareness of Africa and attitudes toward the continent and its peoples have profoundly shaped African-American identity, culture and political consciousness. Notions of a linked fate between Africans and black Americans have long influenced black life and liberation struggles within the U.S. The motives, purposes and outlooks of African-American theorists who have claimed political, cultural, or spiritual connection to Africa and Africans have varied widely, though they have always powerfully reflected black experiences in America and in the West. The complexity and dynamism of those views belie simplistic assumptions about essential or "natural" relationships, and invite critical contemplation of the myriad roles that Africa has played in the African-American mind."

Full details for AMST 2354 - African American Visions of Africa

Fall.
AMST2375 US Climate Catastrophes: Rethinking US History through the Climate
How does our understanding of the current climate emergency change when we examine the past with an environmental lens? In this course, we will think of US history through climate catastrophes, human-made and naturally occurring, to consider how humans and the environment have interacted with each other over time and to reconsider how that relationship has changed within a US context. Rather than focus on the traditional turning points of the US, such as wars or presidents, we will look at the California Gold Rush, the use of DDT, the building of the Oahe Dam, the Love Canal, and 21st-century hurricanes.

Full details for AMST 2375 - US Climate Catastrophes: Rethinking US History through the Climate

Fall.
AMST2391 From Terra Incognita to Territories of Nation-States: Early American History in Two Dozen Maps
This course engages the rich cartographic record of colonial North America via an in-depth analysis of two dozen iconic maps. Integrating visual and textual analysis, students will assess human representations of space across cultural boundaries, explore change over time in the mapmaking practices of indigenous peoples and various European intruders, and study the evolving relationship between cartography and power, attending particularly to the process by which mapping promoted a revolutionary new understanding of American geography as composed of the bounded territories of nation-states.

Full details for AMST 2391 - From Terra Incognita to Territories of Nation-States: Early American History in Two Dozen Maps

Fall.
AMST2401 Introduction to U.S. Latinx Literature
Latina/os have always been part of U.S. history, yet the media often represents Latinx as only recent immigrants or as stereotypes that reduce rich cultures into a single, unified category or group of people. This practice hides the many unique and varied voices, stories, experiences, and ideas produced by Latinx expressive practices in forms ranging from novels and poetry to podcasts, tiktoks, films, theater, comics, memoirs, visual arts, and dance. This course will sample all of these forms while considering how artists meditate on their experiences of home, friendship, languages, love, migration, education, racialization, within the contexts of histories of colonization, discrimination, war, invasion, revolution, and ongoing activist organizing for resistance, sustainability, and thriving futures. In addition to common material, students will also have the chance to explore specific expressive practices that interest them.

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

Fall.
AMST2620 Introduction to Asian American Literature
This course will introduce both a variety of writings and media by Asian North American authors and some critical issues concerning the production and reception of Asian American texts. Working with a variety of genres, we will be asking questions about the relation between literary forms and the socio-historical context within which they take on their meanings, and about the historical formation of Asian American identities. 

Full details for AMST 2620 - Introduction to Asian American Literature

Fall.
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

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

Full details for AMST 2650 - Introduction to African American Literature

Fall or Spring.
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.
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

Fall.
AMST2682 Sex, Drugs, and Experimenting with Democracy in 1960s and 1970s America
Roots of the United States' most vexing problems can be traced to the 1960s and 1970s. This class explores the struggles to explain these turbulent decades in both popular memory and historical scholarship and the consequences of our interpretations for understanding today. Students will use movies and oral history to investigate the role of perspective, framing, and agency in historical analysis. We will examine the era's struggles over issues such as racial hierarchy, gender roles, abortion, climate change, economic inequality, war, drugs, crime, and democracy.

Full details for AMST 2682 - Sex, Drugs, and Experimenting with Democracy in 1960s and 1970s America

Fall.
AMST2755 Race and Slavery in the Early Atlantic World
The legacies of slavery remain all too obvious in the modern Atlantic World. From demographic imbalances to pervasive social and economic inequality, much of the recent past has involved addressing that destructive early modern heritage. This course traces the roots of slavery and race in the Atlantic World from 1400 to 1800. Through lectures, readings, and class discussion, we will examine how politics, culture, gender, and the law intersected to shape the institution of slavery and the development of conceptions of race. As an Atlantic World course, we will take a comparative perspective and ask how different imperial regimes (Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English) fostered different systems of race and slavery in the Americas. We will also ask how the law as a lived experience, gender norms, and imperial politics all worked to shape the production of racial hierarchies.

Full details for AMST 2755 - Race and Slavery in the Early Atlantic World

Fall.
AMST2760 American Cinema
From the beginning of the twentieth century to the present moment, movies - and in particular Hollywood - have profoundly influenced the ways in which people see, think and talk about the world. Focusing mostly on Hollywood film, this course introduces the study of American cinema from multiple perspectives: as an economy and mode of production; as an art form that produces particular aesthetic styles; as a cultural institution that comments on contemporary issues and allows people to socialize. We will consider the rise of Hollywood in the age of mass production; the star system; the introduction of sound and the function of the soundtrack; Hollywood's rivalry with television; censorship; the rise of independent film, etc. Weekly screenings introduce major American genres (e.g. science fiction, film noir, the musical) and directors (e.g. Hitchcock, Kubrick, Tarantino).

Full details for AMST 2760 - American Cinema

Fall or Spring.
AMST2792 Monuments, Museums, and Memory: An Introduction to Public History
In this course we will examine how we have come to narrate social, cultural, and political history in the United States, investigating the ways scholarly, curatorial, archival, and creative practices shape conceptions of the American past, in particular understandings of racial, gender, sexual, and class oppression and resistance. Students will build skills in historical interpretation and archival research and explore possibilities and challenges in preserving and presenting the past in a variety of public contexts—monuments, memorials, museums, historical sites, movies and television, and community-based history projects.

Full details for AMST 2792 - Monuments, Museums, and Memory: An Introduction to Public History

Fall.
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

Fall.
AMST3024 Being Native in the 21st Century: American Indian and Alaska Native Politics, History, and Policy
The course examines the historical political landscape of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States and the interplay between tribal interests, politics, and the federal government. The course also looks at contemporary Native issues, federal policy and programs, tribal governance, relations between Tribal Nations and states and between Tribal Nations and the federal government. Finally, the course will explore Indigenous pop-culture and its influence on federal policy.

Full details for AMST 3024 - Being Native in the 21st Century: American Indian and Alaska Native Politics, History, and Policy

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

Fall.
AMST3122 Democracy
The United States has been widely associated with democratic ideals, and yet American democracy has been long in the making, even in recent decades retaining hallmarks of an "unfinished work." It has evolved over time through an arduous and halting process, and it has not always moved in the direction of progress. How would we know if American democracy today was truly endangered and subject to "backsliding?" This course engages this question by grappling with what democracy means, how we can measure its attributes, and how we can assess whether they are robust or deteriorating. We focus on four key threats to democracy: political polarization; conflict over membership and status, particularly around race and gender; economic inequality; and the growth of executive power. We will consider the status of of free and fair elections, the rule of law, the legitimacy of the opposition, and the integrity of rights, including voting rights, civil rights, and civil liberties, studying how these features have developed historically and what happened in periods when they were under threat. We will also evaluate the contemporary political context by applying the same analytical tools.

Full details for AMST 3122 - Democracy

Fall.
AMST3145 Political Journalism
This course will explore the traditional dynamic and norms of political press coverage in the United States, and the impact of those patterns on both the government and the nation; some of the ways longstanding norms have recently shifted, and continue to shift; the larger historical forces and long-term trends driving those changes; and the theoretical questions, logistical challenges and ethical dilemmas these changes pose for both political journalists and those they cover. The course will equally cover the practice of political reporting, including weekly analysis and discussion of current press coverage, in-class exercises and simulations, readings from academic and journalistic sources, and visits from leading political reporters and former spokespeople able to offer a firsthand perspective on the topics.

Full details for AMST 3145 - Political Journalism

Spring.
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.
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

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.
AMST3380 Urban Inequality
This is an interdisciplinary seminar on inequality in metropolitan American that draws on scholarship from sociology, history, political science, and public policy. The first part of the course is dedicated to understanding the political, historical, and social determinants of inequality in America's cities and their surrounding suburbs. Politically and socially, cities face unique challenges. Municipalities lack much formal authority to resolve issues that arise within their borders and their populations are often highly heterogeneous. In the second part of the course, we investigate several contemporary urban issues, such as schooling, gentrification, immigration, climate change, and downtown development.

Full details for AMST 3380 - Urban Inequality

Fall.
AMST3420 Social Justice: Special Topics
Social Justice highlights refugee-led organizing and its intersections with un/documented and Indigenous beyond borders activism. We will work with and learn from refugee and asylum seekers led organizations that are started by and run by members of formerly displaced groups. These organizations build collectives and coalitions to organize communities across identities and legal categories and advocate for access to mobility and social justice. We will closely collaborate with these organizations and work on joint research projects.

Full details for AMST 3420 - Social Justice: Special Topics

Fall.
AMST3436 History of the Cops: Racialized Policing in the US
The course will study the history of policing and race in the US. Beginning with the origins of American policing in a settler-colonial society, it will study the way whiteness emerged as an identity that depended on the control of both Indigenous and Black people. We will discuss the role of policing in national identity, the defense of slavery, American empire, the rise of urban industrialization, the emergence of professionalized policing, the control of immigrants, and the undermining of Reconstruction. The emergence of twentieth-century America, the identification of crime as a key political and the further development of racialized policing as a core fiscal and ideological project of the American state will be the main focus of the second half of the course. The course will also cover organization against racialized policing in particular as a major political project, source of identity, and root of both solidarity and estrangement between Black and other working class Americans.

Full details for AMST 3436 - History of the Cops: Racialized Policing in the US

Fall.
AMST3463 Contemporary Television
This course considers issues, approaches, and complexities in the contemporary television landscape. As television has changed drastically over the past fifteen years, this course provides students with a deeper understanding of the changes in narratives, technologies, forms, and platforms that structure/restructure the televisual world. Students will grapple with how "new media" forms such as web-series and on-demand internet streaming services have changed primetime television. We will balance our look at television shows with nuanced readings about the televisual media industry. By watching, analyzing, and critiquing the powerful medium of television, students will situate their understanding within a broader consideration of the medium's regulation, production, distribution, and reception in the network and post-network era.

Full details for AMST 3463 - Contemporary Television

Fall.
AMST3464 Representational Ethics in Film and Television
This course is designed to explore the varied ways that race and gender intersect with the media industry. While common industrial logic suggests these descriptors of identity are not a factor in terms of its business models and assumptions, the reality is much more complex. Race, as well as gender, class, and sexuality, play large parts in how media industries function and in informing and shaping audience expectations and assumptions. Thus, the time spent in class will largely consist of deconstructing several media industries, including film, television, and new media to show just how race, as well as other modes of identity such as gender, sexuality, and class, operate within it. 

Full details for AMST 3464 - Representational Ethics in Film and Television

AMST3503 Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes
This course offers an opportunity to read in depth two major writers of the twentieth century, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston.  Friends and one-time collaborators in the New York City of the 1920s, each had important careers that extended long after the Harlem Renaissance period in which they achieved early renown.  This class will survey the myriad genres in which each writer worked (short stories, poetry, novels, drama, critical writing, folklore and anthropology).  And it will also consider the literary, cultural, and political contexts in which both writers achieved early renown and which their work critically contested.  The class concludes by examining the reading works of later major authors (Toni Morrison, Harryette Mullen) who drew directly with Hughes' and Hurston's legacy.

Full details for AMST 3503 - Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes

Fall or Spring.
AMST3510 United We Stand - Divided We Fall: The Rise of Polarization and Social Division - and What it Means
When did bipartisan become a bad word? Should we unfriend and unfollow people who have different opinions than our own? How did we become a country that grows more polarized and divided every year? Most importantly, can we change, or are we destined to continue down this path?

Full details for AMST 3510 - United We Stand - Divided We Fall: The Rise of Polarization and Social Division - and What it Means

Fall.
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

Spring.
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.
AMST3679 Diasporas, Disasters, and Dissent: Re-Thinking Puerto Rican Studies in the 20th and 21st Centuries
"Foreign in a domestic sense" is the perplexing way that the Supreme Court of the United States chose to define Puerto Rico's status in the so-called "Insular Cases" of the early 20th century. Written over 100 years ago, this contradictory ruling looms large over Puerto Rico's precarious legal standing, despite the fact that there are now more Puerto Ricans living on the US mainland than in the island itself. Seeking to counter the obfuscation of Puerto Rico in the US imaginary, in this course students will analyze how key historical, political, and social moments connected to diasporas, disasters, and dissent have galvanized Puerto Rican cultural production in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Full details for AMST 3679 - Diasporas, Disasters, and Dissent: Re-Thinking Puerto Rican Studies in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Fall or Spring.
AMST3717 Sitcom Jews: Ethnic Representation on Television, 1948-Present
Jews have been on TV since the beginning of the medium – over 70 years – and have made decisions about how they are represented. What kind of Jews do we put on screen, and do they actually represent Jews in America? What about the representation of other ethnic and cultural groups? What can we learn from the history of Jewish television that might apply to Black, Latinx, Muslim, LGBTQ, Asian and other communities as they present themselves to the American public? "Sitcom Jews" uses media analysis, theoretical discussion, and student writing to examine a huge range of TV, starting with classic sitcoms ("The Goldbergs" (1948), "All in the Family, and "Bridget Loves Bernie"), continuing through current Jewish TV shows ("Broad City", "Transparent", "Curb Your Enthusiasm"), and adding a range of ethnic television ("The Jeffersons", "Black-ish", "Insecure", "Ramy", "Will & Grace", "Never Have I Ever").

Full details for AMST 3717 - Sitcom Jews: Ethnic Representation on Television, 1948-Present

Fall.
AMST3732 Africans and African Americans in Literature
When an African and an African American meet, solidarity is presumed, but often friction is the result.  In this course, we will consider how Africans and African Americans see each other through literature.  What happens when two peoples suffering from double consciousness meet?  We will examine the influence of historical forces including slavery, colonialism and pan-Africanism on the way writers explore the meeting between Africans and African Americans. Specifically we will look at how writers and political figures such as Maya Angelou, Chimamanda Adichie, Richard Wright, Eugene Robinson, Philippe Wamba, Martin Luther King Junior and Malcolm X have understood the meeting.

Full details for AMST 3732 - Africans and African Americans in Literature

Fall or 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

Fall.
AMST3775 Latinos and the United States, 1492-1880
In this course, we will answer two major questions: What is Latino history? And how should we write Latino History? We will explore these questions without attempting to cover all of Latino history before 1800. We will focus on a variety of experiences to better understand how differences in race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, and class have shaped Latino communities over time. We will read academic journal articles and books (secondary sources) and documents from the past, such as diaries, letters, court records, and maps (primary sources). Throughout the semester we will be working in groups toward creating a final project: a Latino history website.

Full details for AMST 3775 - Latinos and the United States, 1492-1880

Fall.
AMST3800 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 3800 - Migration: Histories, Controversies, and Perspectives

Fall or 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.
AMST4030 Poetry in Process
Many distinguished poets have taught at Cornell. In this course we'll focus on three, all of them widely acclaimed: A. R. Ammons, Alice Fulton, Ishion Hutchinson. A. R. Ammons is best known for charting the interplay of scientific and spiritual phenomena, in poems ranging from brief lyrics to book-length epics written on adding machine tape. Alice Fulton, who was Ammons's student, carries on his interests in science and spirituality while bringing to them a distinctively feminist perspective. Born in Jamaica, Ishion Hutchinson writes poems that explore the fraught relations between geography and history in the light of colonial violence.  We'll survey each poet's work from earliest to most recent phases, paying special attention to their development of new techniques and original visions. Students may write poems as well as critical essays responding to the poets' work. 

Full details for AMST 4030 - Poetry in Process

Fall or Spring.
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

Fall.
AMST4212 Black Women's Autobiography in the 21st Century WritingHerStory
Black women first began to shape the genre of autobiography during antebellum era slavery. They were prolific in developing the genre of autobiography throughout the twentieth century, to the point of emerging as serial autobiographers in the case of Maya Angelou. Significantly, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings(1970), the first autobiography of six by Angelou, along with autobiographies by a range of other black women writers, helped to launch the renaissance in black women's literature and criticism in African American literature during the 1970s. In this course, we will focus on how black women have continued to write and share their personal stories in the new millennium by examining autobiographies that they have produced in the first years of the twenty-first century. More broadly, we will consider the impact of this writing on twenty-first century African American literature, as well as African diasporan writing in Africa and the Caribbean. In the process, we will draw on a range of critical and theoretical perspectives.  We will read memoirs and autobiographies by a range of figures, including Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lewis, Monica Coleman, Serena Williams, Gabrielle Union, and Tiffany Haddish, among others. 

Full details for AMST 4212 - Black Women's Autobiography in the 21st Century WritingHerStory

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.
AMST4272 Archaeology of Colonialism and Cultural Entanglement
This seminar uses archaeology to examine engagements between settlers and indigenous peoples throughout world history. Archaeology provides a perspective on settler-indigenous encounters that both supplements and challenges conventional models.  We will assess the strengths and weaknesses of various theories of cultural engagement, examine methodologies, and explore a series of archaeological case studies, using examples from both the ancient world and the European expansion over the past 600 years. The seminar provides a comparative perspective on indigenous-colonial relationships, in particular exploring the hard-fought spaces of relative autonomy created and sustained by indigenous peoples. 

Full details for AMST 4272 - Archaeology of Colonialism and Cultural Entanglement

Fall.
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

Fall.
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

Fall.
AMST4675 The Environmental Imagination in American Literature
This course focuses on works that exemplify environmental consciousness—a sense that humans are not the center of the world and that to think they are may have catastrophic consequences for humans themselves. Environmental literature is not just a major strand of American literature but one of its most distinctive contributions to the literature of the world. We will be reading works mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries, both poetry and fiction, confronting the challenges of thinking and writing with an ecological consciousness in the 21st. Cornell being a rich environment in which to pursue such investigations, creative projects will be encouraged. Inspiration is assured.

Full details for AMST 4675 - The Environmental Imagination in American Literature

Fall or Spring.
AMST4695 Queer Archives and Archiving Queerness
This course contemplates challenges associated with researching and representing LGBTQ+ pasts. We approach this topic from several angles: 1) by asking what constitutes "queer" and "trans" in different historical contexts and different geographical locations, when sexuality and gender are by their nature fluid; 2) by training in LGBTQ+ archival methods; and 3) by engagement with queer and trans artivists who make archives central to their praxis. We will visit Cornell's Human Sexuality collection, explore online repositories and academic databases (e.g., ONE and Cengage), and consider archive-based artistic projects (e.g., Killjoy's Castle and MOTHA).

Full details for AMST 4695 - Queer Archives and Archiving Queerness

Fall.
AMST4851 Refugees
Since World War II, over 4 million people have migrated to the United States as refugees. In this seminar we will examine some of these refugee migrations and the ways these migrations challenged our understanding of the United States as a "haven for the oppressed." We will examine the crafting of refugee/asylum policy, the role of nongovernmental actors in influencing policy, and the ways policy reflected foreign-policy interests and security concerns. The last weeks of the course will pay particular attention to climate refugees and asylum-seekers, and our changing definitions of who 'merits' protection in the United States.

Full details for AMST 4851 - Refugees

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

Offered on demand.
AMST4998 Engaged Learning About Policy Making in Washington D.C.
The core course at Cornell in Washington is an experiential learning class that focuses on engaging with the professional experience of being in DC. Its primary purposes are to give students to build their understanding of their internship work by analyzing and reflecting on that work, understanding the context and structures of the policy and political world with which they are engaging, and learning and practicing the professional forms of writing that that world uses. This process occurs through readings, written assignments, guest speakers, and signature events.

Full details for AMST 4998 - Engaged Learning About Policy Making in Washington D.C.

Fall, Spring.
AMST6272 Archaeology of Colonialism and Cultural Entanglement
This seminar uses archaeology to examine engagements between settlers and indigenous peoples throughout world history. Archaeology provides a perspective on settler-indigenous encounters that both supplements and challenges conventional models.  We will assess the strengths and weaknesses of various theories of cultural engagement, examine methodologies, and explore a series of archaeological case studies, using examples from both the ancient world and the European expansion over the past 600 years. The seminar provides a comparative perspective on indigenous-colonial relationships, in particular exploring the hard-fought spaces of relative autonomy created and sustained by indigenous peoples. 

Full details for AMST 6272 - Archaeology of Colonialism and Cultural Entanglement

Fall.
AMST6510 United We Stand - Divided We Fall: The Rise of Polarization and Social Division - and What it Means
When did bipartisan become a bad word? Should we unfriend and unfollow people who have different opinions than our own? How did we become a country that grows more polarized and divided every year? Most importantly, can we change, or are we destined to continue down this path?

Full details for AMST 6510 - United We Stand - Divided We Fall: The Rise of Polarization and Social Division - and What it Means

Fall.
AMST6695 Queer Archives and Archiving Queerness
This course contemplates challenges associated with researching and representing LGBTQ+ pasts. We approach this topic from several angles: 1) by asking what constitutes "queer" and "trans" in different historical contexts and different geographical locations, when sexuality and gender are by their nature fluid; 2) by training in LGBTQ+ archival methods; and 3) by engagement with queer and trans artivists who make archives central to their praxis. We will visit Cornell's Human Sexuality collection, explore online repositories and academic databases (e.g., ONE and Cengage), and consider archive-based artistic projects (e.g., Killjoy's Castle and MOTHA).

Full details for AMST 6695 - Queer Archives and Archiving Queerness

Fall.
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