CSER Undergraduate Course Offerings – Spring 2022


GU4003 Ethnicity, Race & Gender in Latin American Revolutions

Renzo Aroni — F 10:10AM – 12PM

From the late 1950s to the late 1990s, Latin America has experienced a wave of violent and non-violent revolutionary movements that attempted to change economic inequalities and create a more just society. An important dimension of these movements was the participation of Indigenous groups—whether taking the shape of collaboration, resistance, or self-defense. Why did ethnic groups participate in such avowedly class-based revolutions? How did the revolutionary leaders address the ethnic, race, and gender questions? How about the role of women? Furthermore, what role did the United States play in preventing or fomenting violence and atrocities? This seminar explores the roots and internal dynamics of revolutions and counterrevolutions and their ideological positionalities about ethnicity, race, and gender issues, focusing on Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, and Peru.


Brian Luna Lucero — F 10:10AM – 12PM

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.


Jessica Lee T —  12:10PM-2PM


Audra Simpson and Manu Karuka —  T 4:10PM – 6PM

This course takes up the question “How do we think, live and act in the wake of dispossession?” What literatures archive, theorize and tell us about what has been lost? How have people written through and after loss, how have they documented grief, how have they pushed to regain what has been lost? Recent works in critical ethnic studies have thought archivally and theoretically about these questions. In this advanced seminar we examine core texts on dispossession as well as recent and historical works from American Studies, History, Political Theory, English Literature, Feminist Gender and Sexuality Studies with focus upon the institutions of slavery, Boarding Schools, pipeline construction, property law, as well as primary documents that address the enduring ethical and political issues around alienated land, property and life. In its final moments this course will ask: How may we think about “repair” or justice in the face of this loss?



Viola Lasmana — W 2:10PM – 4PM

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.



Shana Redmond — Th 12:10PM – 2PM

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. We will consider how racial and ethnic differentiation as fraught but powerful processes have bolstered global labor regimes and imperial expansion projects; parsed, managed, and regulated populations; governed sexed and gendered logics of subject and social formation; and finally, opened and constrained axes of self-understanding, political organization, and social belonging. Special attention will be given to broadening students understanding of racial and ethnic differentiation beyond examinations of identity. Taken together, theoretical and empirical readings, discussions, and outside film screenings will prepare students for further coursework in race and ethnic studies, as well as fields such as literary studies, women’s studies, history, sociology, and anthropology.



Emma Shaw Crane — W 4:10PM – 6:00PM

*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.



Elizabeth Ouyang — Th 10:10AM – 12:00PM

*Priority to CSER students* This course will examine how the American legal system decided constitutional challenges affecting the empowerment of African, Latino, and Asian American communities from the 19th century to the present. Focus will be on the role that race, citizenship, capitalism/labor, property, and ownership played in the court decision in the context of the historical, social, and political conditions existing at the time. Topics include the denial of citizenship and naturalization to slaves and immigrants, government sanctioned segregation, the struggle for reparations for descendants of slavery, and Japanese Americans during World War II.



Bahia Munem — T 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.



Czarina F Thelen — W 10:10AM -12:00PM

After being marginalized for decades, Indigenous theater and performance studies is now a burgeoning field that draws together attention to the body, the senses, ontology, affect, structural violence, trauma, agency, political life, cultural embodied memory, and sociocultural revitalization. In this course, we will engage with current theory-building about Indigenous theater and performance and its political implications. We will explore what attention to performance and embodiment reveals about competing sovereignties, the colonial present, and decolonization; settler colonial ideologies, racism, and gendered structural violences; sensory performativity and the production of imaginaries to resist coloniality; and Indigenous treatment of affect, emotion, embodied intergenerational trauma, vital materiality, and more-than-human relationality. We will study interpretive approaches; artists’ creative process; Indigenous performance cultures spanning dance, soundscapes, storytelling, and dramatic forms; and critical theoretical frameworks for understanding Indigenous theater and performance. We will read works by Indigenous scholars and artist-authors and bring into dialogue performances and texts traversing Canada, the U.S., and Latin America.



Bahia Munem — W 2:10PM – 4:00PM

*Priority to CSER students* Migratory movements from the Middle East and North Africa into the Americas were precipitated by multiple and intersecting factors. This course will examine the historical and contemporary waves of Arab and Muslim migrants and refugees into the Americas. It will explore how empire, globalization, and war influenced and continue to influence the flow of people across borders and impact policies and ideas of belonging in receiving nation-states. We will examine Arab and Muslim identity in light of gendered, ethnoreligious, class, and national affiliations and investigate the racialization of Islam and the gendered-Orientalist constructions of Arabs and Muslims in the US and Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile). Utilizing interdisciplinary texts, we will trace the ways that specific diasporic subjects have been incorporated into host nation- states and analyze, through a comparative framework, the receptions and rejections of Arabs and Muslims in the US and Latin America.



Darius V Echeverria— W 12:10PM – 2:00PM

*CSER Honors Majors ONLY* The Senior Paper Colloquium will focus primarily on developing students ideas for their research projects and discussing their written work. The course is designed to develop and hone the skills necessary to complete the senior paper. Students will receive guidance in researching for and writing an advanced academic paper. Conducted as a seminar, the colloquium provides the students a forum in which to discuss their work with each other. The CSER preceptor, who facilitates the colloquium, will also provide students with additional academic support, supplementary to the advice they receive from their individual faculty sponsors. While most of the course will be devoted to the students work, during the first weeks of the term, students will read and discuss several ethnic studies-oriented texts to gain insight into the kinds of research projects done in the field.



Eric Gamalinda — R 4:10PM – 6:00PM

Russian filmmaker Andre Tarkovsky said that “the artist has no right to an idea in which he is not socially committed.” Argentine filmmaker Fernando Solanas and Spanish-born Octavio Getino postulated an alternative cinema that would spur spectators to political action. In this course we will ask the question: How do authoritarian governments influence the arts, and how do artists respond? We will study how socially committed filmmakers have subverted and redefined cinema aesthetics to challenge authoritarianism and repression. In addition, we will look at how some filmmakers respond to institutional oppression, such as poverty and corruption, even within so-called “free” societies. The focus is on contemporary filmmakers but will also include earlier classics of world cinema to provide historical perspective. The course will discuss these topics, among others: What is authoritarianism, what is totalitarianism, and what are the tools of repression within authoritarian/totalitarian societies? What is Third Cinema, and how does it represent and challenge authoritarianism? How does film navigate the opposition of censorship, propaganda and truth? How do filmmakers respond to repressive laws concerning gender and sexual orientation? How do they deal with violence and trauma? How are memories of repressive regimes reflected in the psyche of modern cinema? And finally, what do we learn about authority, artistic vision, and about ourselves when we watch these films?




Matthew Sandler — M 4:10PM – 6:00PM

*MA Students only* Conceived in the 1920’s and 1930’s, American Studies sought to make a synoptic account of the “national character.” Since the 1960’s, the field has turned towards a focus on various forms of inequality as the dark side of American exceptionalism. This course surveys the development of the field’s current preoccupations, covering a range of periods, regions, groups, and cultural practices that present productive problems for generalizations about U.S. identity. We begin with the first academic movement in American Studies, the myth and symbol school—and think through its growth in the context of post-WWII funding for higher education. We then move on to a series of debates centered at intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. We’ll close by examining the historical background of protest movements built around the identitarian concerns about rape culture and mass incarceration.


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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