CSER Undergraduate Course Offerings – Fall 2022


Shana Redmond — Tues/Thur 1:10PM-2:25PM

Bahia Munem — Mon/Wed 11:40AM-12:55PM

Introduction to the field of comparative ethnic studies.



Mae M Ngai — Tues 2:10PM-4:00PM

This course provides an overview of Asian/ Pacific American history from the late 18th Century until the present day. The course follows a thematic format that begins with European and American empires in Asia and the Pacific. The course surveys significant and interrelated topics — including anti-Asian movements, immigration and exclusion, various forms of resistance, Orientalism, media representations, the model minority myth, the Asian American movement, identity, and racial, ethnic, and generational conflicts — in Asian/ Pacific American history of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Each of these concepts and topics will resonant, in various expressions and forms, well into the 21st Century and beyond.


UN3303 Whiteness, Sentiment and Political Belon

Catherine Fennell — Wed 2:10PM-4:00PM

Scholars of gender, sexuality, ethnicity and race have long been preoccupied with the terms, categories, and processes through which the United States has excluded or qualified the citizenship of particular groups, including women, immigrants, indigenous nations, and descendants of enslaved Africans. Yet it has spent less time interrogating the unqualified content of Americanness, and the work that the imagination of a “default” American identity does in contemporary political life. This seminar introduces students to this problem through an unspoken racial dimension of American political belonging — the presumed whiteness of ideal American citizens. Readings drawn from several disciplinary traditions, including anthropology, linguistics, sociology, history, and journalism, will ground students in the course’s key concepts, including racial markedness, the history of racialization, and public sentiment. Students will mobilize these tools to analyze several cases that rendered white sentiment explicit in politically efficacious ways, including the “panic” incited by the destabilization of race-based residential segregation, the “paranoia” of conspiracy theorists, the “sympathy” associated with natural disasters, and the “resentment” or “rage” associated with the loss of racial privileges



Sayantani T Dasgupta — Wed 12:10PM-2:00PM

Corequisites: CSER UN3921 This class, a combination of a seminar and a workshop, will prepare students to conduct, write up, and present original research. It has several aims and goals. First, the course introduces students to a variety of ways of thinking about knowledge as well as to specific ways of knowing and making arguments key to humanistic and social science fields. Second, this seminar asks students to think critically about the approaches they employ in pursuing their research. The course will culminate in a semester project, not a fully executed research project, but rather an 8-10 page proposal for research that will articulate a question, provide basic background on the context that this question is situated in, sketch preliminary directions and plot out a detailed methodological plan for answering this question. Students will be strongly encouraged to think of this proposal as related to their thesis or senior project. Over the course of the semester, students will also produce several short exercises to experiment with research techniques and genres of writing.



Eric Gamalinda — Thur 4:10PM-6:00PM

This seminar focuses on the critical analysis of Asian representation and participation in Hollywood by taking a look at how mainstream American cinema continues to essentialize the Asian and how Asian American filmmakers have responded to Hollywood Orientalist stereotypes. We will analyze various issues confronting the Asian American, including yellowface, white patriarchy, male and female stereotypes, the “model minority” myth, depictions of “Chinatowns,” panethnicity, the changing political interpretations of the term Asian American throughout American history, gender and sexuality, and cultural hegemonies and privileging within the Asian community.



Edward Morales — Tues 2:10PM-4:00PM

Latin music has had a historically strained relationship with mainstream music tastes, exploding in occasional boom periods, and receding into invisibility in others. What if this were true because it is a space for hybrid construction of identity that directly reflects a mixture of traditions across racial lines in Latin America? This course will investigate Latin musics transgression of binary views of race in Anglo-American society, even as it directly affects the development of pop music in America. From New Orleans jazz to Texas corridos, salsa, rock, and reggaeton, Latin music acts as both as a soundtrack and a structural blueprint for the 21st century’s multicultural experiment. There will be a strong focus on studying Latin musics political economy, and investigating the story it tells about migration and globalization.



Karl Jacoby — Tues 10:10AM-12:00PM

Natasha J Lightfoot — Tues 2:10PM-4:00PM

*Prerequisites: Open to CSER majors/concentrators only. Others may be allowed to register with the instructors permission.* This course explores the centrality of colonialism in the making of the modern world, emphasizing cross-cultural and social contact, exchange, and relations of power; dynamics of conquest and resistance; and discourses of civilization, empire, freedom, nationalism, and human rights, from 1500 to 2000. Topics include pre-modern empires; European exploration, contact, and conquest in the new world; Atlantic-world slavery and emancipation; and European and Japanese colonialism in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The course ends with a section on decolonization and post-colonialism in the period after World War II. Intensive reading and discussion of primary documents.



Catherine Fennell — Thur 10:10AM-12:00PM

In this class we will approach race and racism from a variety of disciplinary and intellectual perspectives, including: critical race theory/philosophy, anthropology, history and history of science and medicine. We will focus on the development and deployment of the race concept since the mid-19th century. Students will come to understand the many ways in which race has been conceptualized, substantiated, classified, managed and observed in the (social) sciences, medicine, and public health. We will also explore the practices and effects of race (and race-making) in familiar and less familiar social and political worlds. In addition to the courses intellectual content, students will gain critical practice in the seminar format — that is, a collegial, discussion-driven exchange of ideas.


CSER continues to be Columbia's main interdisciplinary space for the study of ethnicity and race and their implications for thinking about culture, power, hierarchy, social identities, and political communities. The Center also offers a wide range of public programming, including Artist at the Center, Indigenous Forum, and Latino Public Speaker Series and the Transnational Asian/American Speaker Series. CSER's most recent spaces include the Media and Idea Lab and Gallery at the Center, a space dedicated to curating artistic and thematic exhibits around the Center’s key areas of interest.
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Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
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