CSER Undergraduate Course Offerings – Fall 2023


Bahia Munem — TR 2:40pm-3:55pm

Tahani Almujahid  — R 4:10pm-5:00pm

Tahani Almujahid  — R 5:10pm-6:00pm 

What is race and ethnicity? How do constructions of race and ethnicity continue to exert powerful effects in society and over individual lives (politically, socially, and economically) in the United States? This course addresses these questions and provides an introduction to the historical and contemporary ideas and manifestations of “ethnic studies” as a field of study—its subject matters, its methodologies and theories, its literatures, and its practitioners and institutional settings.



Jennifer Lee — M 12:10pm-2:00pm

This course provides an introduction to central approaches and concepts animating the investigation of race and ethnicity. We will not treat either of these categories of difference as a given, nor as separable from other axes of social difference. Rather, we will apply an interdisciplinary and intersectional framework to illuminate how these concepts have come to emerge and cohere within a number of familiar and less familiar socio-cultural and historical contexts. 


UN1488 Indigenous History of North America

Michael Witgen — TR 1:10pm-2:25pm

This course is an introduction to the history of the Native peoples of North America.  Instruction will focus on the idea that indigenous people in North America possess a shared history in terms of being forced to respond to European colonization, and the emergence of the modern nation-state.  Native peoples, however, possess their own distinct histories and culture.  In this sense their histories are uniquely multi-faceted rather than the experience of a singular racial group.  Accordingly, this course will offer a wide-ranging survey of cultural encounters between the Native peoples of North America, European empires, colonies, and emergent modern nation-states taking into account the many different indigenous responses to colonization and settler colonialism.



Carlos G Zuniga-Nieto — W 2:10pm-4:00pm

This course provides an introductory, interdisciplinary discussion of the major issues surrounding this nations Latino population. The focus is on social scientific perspectives utilized by scholars in the field of Latino Studies. Major demographic, social, economic, and political trends are discussed.



Elizabeth Ouyang — R 10:10am-12:00pm

Since September 11, 2001, there has been an avalanche of immigration enforcement policies and initiatives proposed or implemented under the guise of national security. This course will analyze the domino effect of the Patriot Act, the Absconder Initiative, Special Registration, the Real I.D. Act, border security including the building of the 700-mile fence along the U.S./Mexico border, Secured Communities Act-that requires the cooperation of state and local authorities in immigration enforcement, the challenge to birthright citizenship, and now the congressional hearings on Islamic radicalization. 



Denise Cruz — TR 1:10pm-2:25pm

This course is a survey of Asian North American literature and its contexts. To focus our discussion, the course centers on examining recurring cycles of love and fear in Asian North American relations from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. We will first turn to what became known as “yellow peril,” one effect of exclusion laws that monitored the entrance of Asians into the United States and Canada during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the corresponding phenomenon of Orientalism, the fascination with a binary of Asia and the West.


UN3702 Memory and Monuments in the U.S. West

Brian Luna Lucero — F 10:10am-12:00pm

This class explores the relationships among memory, monuments, place, and political power in the United States West. The course begins with an introduction to the theory of collective memory and then delves into case studies in New Mexico, California, and Texas. We will expand our perspective at the end of the course to compare what we have learned with the recent debates over monuments to the Confederacy. We will consider both physical manifestations of collective memory such as monuments and architecture as well as intangible expressions like performance, oral history and folklore.



Sayantani T Dasgupta — R 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.



Eric Gamalinda — R 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 — T 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.



Manan Ahmed — T 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 — R 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.



Bahia Munem — T 12:10pm-2:00pm

Muslims’ roots in the Americas are centuries old despite their presence being considered a recent phenomenon. This legacy emerges from migratory movements from the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia, which were precipitated by multiple and intersecting factors. This course will trace and examine the historical and contemporary waves of Muslim and Arab (forced) migrations into the Americas to explore how empire, globalization, and war have influenced the flow of people across borders and shaped policies and ideas of belonging in receiving nation-states.


GU4006 History of Childhood in the Americas

Carlos G Zuniga-Nieto — T 2:10pm-4:00pm

The transition from the protected status of childhood into adulthood in the United States varies across class, age, socioeconomic, and legal status, but how does law intersect with rites of passage in coming of age experiences with youths in Latin America? How have societies in the Americas define the shifting notions of childhood and adolescence and how have youths experience coming of age? This course will familiarize students with how legal regimes in Latin America and the United States define the fluid parameters of childhood, adolescence and adulthood.


GU4007 Latinx Environmental Justice: Research i

Carlos G Zuniga-Nieto — M 2:10pm-4:00pm

This course explores national case studies of environmental and racial injustice in Latinx communities and their connection to climate change. Students in the course will analyze, interpret, and evaluate cultural symbols and arguments from migrant farmworkers; Black Indigenous in cities; Afro-Latina women in rural, island contexts; and others who confront the most serious consequences of environmental degradation and climate disruption.


GU4196 Mexico’s Disappeared Practicum

Claudio Lomnitz — M 10:10am-12:00pm

This practicum is an exercise in engaged pedagogy.  The academic work we do will be conducted for the benefit of the cause of Mexico’s now over 110,000 disappeared persons.  Students will be engaged in a sustained research effort to development a “context analysis” of disappearances in the state of Zacatecas (Mexico)– an exercise in social study that focuses on the economic, political, social, and criminological context in which disappearances occur.  Research is done in coordination with Mexico’s National Commission for the Search of the Disappeared.  Alongside the practical, real-world, objective, this Practicum is designed to perfect research skills in the social sciences   PREREQUISITE: Spanish language comprehension is compulsory for 60% of those enrolled


GU4400 Histories and Representations of the Bronx

Deborah Paredez — T 10:10am-12:00pm

The history of the Bronx is a history of the struggles, political coalitions, and creative contributions of the dispossessed. To tell the story of the Bronx is to tell the story of how historically marginalized communities have survived and made a home in environments forsaken by the state. And yet, in the popular imagination, the Bronx often circulates simply as a symbol of urban abjection, as the necessary foil against which prosperous urban spaces define themselves. Many of these “Bronx tales” invariably relegate the borough both materially and imaginatively to the past—infused with either white ethnic nostalgia of a lost Bronx innocence or with battle-scar bravado won on its mean streets. This interdisciplinary course invites students to interrogate these long-standing narratives about the Bronx through a critical study of the borough’s rich history and enduring cultural, political, and artistic traditions during the past century.



Matthew Sandler — M 4:10pm-6:00pm

This course explores the set of possibilities presented by American Studies as a comparative field of study. We begin with a brief overview of the history of the field, and then we’ll focus primarily on the range of modes in which its interdisciplinary work has been undertaken (literary, historical, legal, digital, etc.). The idea here is not to arrive a comprehensive picture of American Studies, but to think about the many ways people have produced knowledge under its aegis.


UN3030 Immigration and Citizenship in American History

Jessica Lee — T 4:10 – 6:00pm

This course addresses major questions about how migrants have accessed, used, or been denied citizenship throughout American history. We begin by understanding pathways to citizenship including naturalization, place of birth, colonization, and marriage, before examining barriers to citizenship such as race, poverty, sexuality, and religion. Throughout the course we use political and legal histories to understand the value of citizenship to individual people and the state. The course ends with a close look at contemporary debates in citizenship and unresolved questions about its availability and significance.


UN3913 Video as Inquiry

Frances Negron-Muntaner — W 4:10pm-6:00pm

The goal of this course is to familiarize students with visual production, particularly video production, as a mode of inquiry to explore questions related to race, ethnicity, indigeneity, and other forms of social hierarchy and difference. The class will include readings in visual production as a mode of inquiry and on the basic craft of video production in various genres (fiction, documentary, and experimental). As part of the course, students will produce a video short and complete it by semester’s end.


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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