UNDERGRADUATE

CSER Undergraduate Course Offerings – Fall 2021

ADVANCED READINGS IN ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES

Viola Lasmana — W 2:10PM – 4PM

What constitutes an archive of Asian America, and what defines an Asian American studies archive? If Asian American history has always engaged with the politics of inclusion and exclusion, how does one reconcile the study of Asian America as one marked by both difference and alliance? Taking into account the heterogeneous, multi-layered, transnational, and transpacific nature of Asian American culture, how do we identify a nuanced and unified archive of Asian America? What, then, are the contours and limits of an Asian American studies archive? What is at stake in naming and identifying such an archive? How is an archive of Asian American studies imagined and created? What form would such an archive adopt? This advanced course assumes basic, introductory knowledge of Asian American studies. We will approach the evolving understandings and practices of Asian American studies by analyzing a wide of range of texts, including theory and criticism, film, literature, and digital archives. Together, we will examine the challenges and potentials of Asian American studies in relation to topics such as gender and sexuality, the enduring legacies of American wars in the Pacific, media technologies, and more.

 

CSER 3999 RACE, SPACE, AND POLICING IN THE U.S. CITY

Emma Shaw Crane — W 4:10 – 6:00PM

Race, space, and policing mediate possibilities for life and death in U.S. cities and suburbs. This course introduces students to central approaches and concepts in urban studies. Through a discussion of (sub)urban problems and movements—from environmental racism to police abolition to housing justice—we will explore how race and space are produced and policed. Our course material includes scholarship from American Studies, geography, history, anthropology, and Ethnic Studies along with work by artists, poets, and essayists. Our readings include cities that dominate U.S. urban theory—Chicago, New York, Los Angeles—as well as “ordinary” cities, from the migrant meatpacking town of Beardstown, Illinois, to the suburbs of the San Gabriel Valley. This seminar takes a transnational approach to “U.S. cities” and includes work on occupied Baghdad, Iraq; Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 

CSER UN3946 BLACK CULTURE/BLACK PROTEST

Shana Redmond — W 12:10 – 2:00PM

Visual, sonic, literary, and bodily arts have mobilized the passions and uprisings of African descended peoples with rebellious grace for untold centuries. Barred access to or made peripheral in the colonial political structures of white supremacist modernity, Black people around the world used their unique positions and talents as speech with which to represent themselves and their futures. Though some argue that Black culture has been overdetermined by its relationship to resistance efforts, this proximity remains a resource in exposing the motivations that underlie its production, the methods used in its composition, and the consequences that spring from it. The slash here between the two (“Black Culture” and “Black Protest”) highlights their proximity while also noting that they are distinct formations.

 

CSER 3947 TRANSPACIFIC MEDIA CULTURES

Viola Lasmana — T 10:10AM – 12:00PM

Transpacific Media Cultures underscores the flows and movements of culture, media, ideas, and communities in, around, and along the Pacific, including Asia, the Americas, and Oceania. This course is designed to introduce students to a diverse set of contemporary media productions that are attuned to social, political, and cultural issues across the transpacific. Some of the topics discussed include race, gender, and sexuality in a networked world; migrant labor; indigenous rights; the ethics of new media; and, the intersections of media and social justice. Because this course takes on the study of media from a transpacific and global lens, it necessarily must contend with and consider seriously various literacies and uneven forms of knowledge creations in different locales. To that end, we will be studying different forms of cultural productions (including film, video, multimedia, transmedia storytelling, and poetry) that reveal the multiplicities, differences, and nuances of worldmaking.

 

CSER UN1010 SEC 001 INTRO TO COMPARATIVE ETHNIC STUDIES

*Major Requirement and priority given to majors/concentrators

Prof. Bahia Munem — M W 10:10 – 11:25AM

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.

 

CSER UN1040 CRITICAL APPROACHES – STUDY OF ETH & RACE

Prof. Jennifer Lee — M 2:10PM – 4:00PM

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. 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.

 

CSER UN3490 POST 9/11 IMMIGRATION POLICIES

Prof. 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. Have these policies been effective in combating the war on terrorism and promoting national security? How have states joined the federal bandwagon of immigration enforcement or created solutions to an inflexible, broken immigration system?

 

CSER UN3919 MODES OF INQUIRY

*Major Requirement

Prof. Sayantani Dasgupta — R 10:10PM – 12:00PM

Must register for Lab Session Mondays 2:10-3:10pm. 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.

 

CSER UN3922 RACE & REPRESENTATION IN ASIAN AMERICAN CINEMA

Prof. 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 Orientalist stereotypes. We will analyze various issues confronting Asian American communities, including “yellowface”; white patriarchy; male and female stereotypes; the “model minority” myth; “Chinatowns” as spectacle; 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. Feature films and documentaries will be supplemented by a substantial amount of literature to provide a solid grounding on race theory and help students examine Asian [mis] representation in mainstream media; we will then view some examples of contemporary Asian American films and discuss how they challenge culturally embedded stereotypes.

 

CSER UN3926 LATIN MUSIC AND IDENTITY

Prof. 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. 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 centurys multicultural experiment. There will be a strong focus on studying Latin musics political economy, and investigating the story it tells about migration and globalization.

 

CSER UN3928 SEC 001 COLONIZATION/DECOLONIZATION

*Major requirement and priority given to majors/concentrators

Prof. Mae Ngai — M 2:10PM – 4:00PM

Prerequisites: Open to CSER majors/concentrators only. Others may be allowed to register with the instructor’s 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.

 

CSER UN3928 SEC 002 COLONIZATION/DECOLONIZATION

*Major Requirement and priority given to majors/concentrators

Prof. Claudio Lomnitz — W 10:10AM – 12:00PM

Prerequisites: Open to CSER majors/concentrators only. Others may be allowed to register with the instructor’s 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.

 

CSER UN3942 SEC 001 RACE AND RACISMS

*Major requirement and priority given to majors/concentrators

Prof. Catherine Fennell co-teaching with Bahia Munem— 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. 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 UN3964 MAYA GUATEMALA – NEOLIBERALISM & RESISTANCE

Prof. Czarina Thelen — W 10:10AM – 12:00PM

Guatemala’s recurrent history of Indigenous genocide is closely linked to U.S. interventions. Meanwhile, Maya organizing in Guatemala has helped spearhead Indigenous political visibility globally. This course examines socio-historical dynamics that have shaped Indigenous Guatemala to better understand current crises like migration and postwar violence. We study settler colonialism; Maya land dispossession and labor exploitation; U.S. corporate imperialism via banana republics; Maya autonomy efforts; Maya intellectuals, populist organizing, and the guerrilla revolutionary movement; racism and postwar multiculturalism; genocidal military counterinsurgency; sexual violence and femicide; the social impacts of Guatemalan and U.S. Catholicism and Evangelicalism; postwar neoliberal restructuring; and the rise of the narco-state and resource extraction on Indigenous territories. We will look at contemporary postwar issues of political disillusionment, militarized “war by other means,” conflicts between Indigenous communities and environmental conservationists, gender and the recovery of Indigenous law and anti-GMO organizing involving Native seed banks. We pay special attention to Indigenous political action as resistance to highly oppressive regimes of terror.

 

CSER UN4360 AMERICAN DIVA: RACE, GENDER AND PERFORMANCE

Prof. Deborah Paredez — T 10:10AM – 12:00PM

What makes a diva a diva? How have divas shaped and challenged our ideas about American culture, performance, race, space and capital during the last century? This seminar explored the central role of the diva—the celebrated, iconic, and supremely skilled female performer—in the fashioning and re-imagining of racial, gendered, sexual, national, temporal, and aesthetic categories of American culture.

 

 

Master’s Program

CSER GR5000 INTRO TO AMERICAN STUDIES

Prof. Matt 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. We will also focus on work by Columbia faculty, and sessions of the course are built around visits by faculty in the field to Columbia’s University Seminar in American Studies. Our guiding questions include: How does one do research in a multimedia, “cultural” environment? How does one situate oneself as an “intellectual” or “critic” in relation to one’s object of study? How does one write about different media/genres? How does one incorporate different methodologies into one research project?

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.
Follow Us :        
Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
 420 Hamilton Hall, MC 2880
1130 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

  212-854-0507

212-854-0500