Ethnicity and Race Studies

Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race420 Hamilton; 212-854-0507

Program Co-Directors: Professors Mae Ngai (mn53@columbia.edu) and Karl Jacoby (kj2305@columbia.edu)  | 425 Hamilton | 212-854-2564

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Deborah Paredez, 425 Hamilton | 212-854-2564 | Office Hours: 1-3pm | Online Appointment Scheduling | d.paredez@columbia.edu

Assistant Director: Josephine Caputo |424 Hamilton Hall |212-854-0510 | jc2768@columbia.edu

Founded in 1999, the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER) is an interdisciplinary intellectual space whose mission is to advance the most innovative teaching, research, and public discussion about race and ethnicity. To promote its mission, the Center organizes conferences, seminars, exhibits, film screenings, and lectures that bring together faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students with diverse interests and backgrounds. Moreover, CSER partners with departments, centers, and institutes at Columbia, as well as with colleagues and organizations on and off campus, in order to reach new audiences and facilitate an exchange of knowledge.

Programs of Study

Ethnicity and Race Studies major and concentration encompass a variety of fields and interdisciplinary approaches to the critical study of ethnicity and race. What makes CSER unique is its attention to the comparative study of racial and ethnic categories in the production of social identities, power relations, and forms of knowledge in a multiplicity of contexts including the arts, social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. In addition to the major, CSER also offers a concentration in ethnicity and race studies.

In both the major and concentration, students have the opportunity to select from the following areas of specialization:

  • Asian American studies
  • Comparative ethnic studies
  • Latino/a studies
  • Native American/Indigenous studies
  • Individualized courses of study

Faculty and students find this field exciting and important because it opens up new ways of thinking about two fundamental aspects of human social existence: race and ethnicity. Although various traditional disciplines such as history, sociology, anthropology, and literature, among others, offer valuable knowledge on race and ethnicity, ethnicity and race studies provides a flexible interdisciplinary and comparative space to bring the insights of various conceptual frameworks and disciplines together in critical dialogue.

Overall, this program introduces students to the study of ethnicity and race, and the deep implications of the subject matter for thinking about human bodies, identity, culture, social hierarchy, and the formation of political communities. The major encourages students to consider the repercussions of racial and ethnic identifications to local and global politics, and how race and ethnicity relates to gender, sexuality, and social class, among other forms of hierarchical difference.

Students majoring in ethnicity and race studies may focus their work on specific groups, such as Asian Americans, Latino/a, or Native Americans/Indigenous; or a comparative study of how race and ethnicity are formed and how conceptions of race and ethnicity transform and change over time and place. Students also have the option of designing an individualized course of study, which may encompass a wide variety of themes. Among the most studied are those involving the relationship between race, ethnicity and law; health; human rights; urban spaces; cultural production; visual culture; and the environment.

Due to its rigorous curriculum, which trains students in theory, history, and a wide range of modes of inquiry, the major enables students to follow multiple directions after graduation. According to our internal surveys, nearly half of CSER students continue to Ph.D. programs in history, anthropology, and ethnic studies, among other areas. A second significant number of students continue on to professions most notably related to law, public policy, medicine, human rights, community organizing, journalism, and the environment.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to participate in study abroad programs, as they represent an exciting opportunity to learn new languages and live in countries that are germane to their areas of study. In addition, traveling abroad can enrich every student's intellectual experience by providing an opportunity to learn about other perspectives on ethnicity and race.

In summer 2017 CSER, together with Columbia's Office of Global Programs (OGP) launched a pilot summer program in Mexico City in collaboration with the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Economicas--CIDE, a leading institution of higher education with a focus in the social sciences.  The program consists of an intensive 5-week CSER core course, "Colonization-Decolonization," visits to various historical colonial sites and a field trip to Oaxaca.  Professors Claudio Lomnitz and Manan Ahmed jointly taught the class.  Eleven Columbia students participated in this exchange.  For more information about the CSER 2018 Global Program in Mexico, please contact cser@columbia.edu

In the past, students have also participated in study abroad programs in Australia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and South Africa. To ensure that study abroad complements the major and integrates effectively with the requirements of the major, students are encouraged to consult with CSER's undergraduate adviser as early in their academic program as possible. The director of undergraduate studies can advise students on what may be exciting programs for their areas.

Departmental Honors

CSER majors may choose to write and/or produce an honors project. The senior thesis gives undergraduate majors the opportunity to engage in rigorous, independent, and original research on a specific topic of their choosing. If a monograph, the honors thesis is expected to be 35-50 pages in length. Honors projects can also take other forms, such as video or websitesThese projects also require a written component, but of a shorter length than the traditional thesis. During their senior year, honors students perform research as part of CSER UN3990 Senior Project Seminar. Senior projects are due in early April. The Honors Thesis is an excellent option for any student interested in pursuing a Master’s degree or Ph.D. Students should consult with their director of undergraduate studies no later than the beginning of the first term of their senior year if they wish to be considered for departmental honors. Students who are awarded departmental honors are notified by their department in mid-May.

In order to qualify for departmental honors, students must satisfy all the requirements for the major, maintain a GPA of at least 3.6 in the major, and complete a high quality honors project. In addition, each student is expected to meet periodically with his or her supervising project adviser and preceptor. Although the senior thesis is a prerequisite for consideration for departmental honors, all Ethnicity and Race studies majors are strongly encouraged to consider undertaking thesis work even if they do not wish to be considered for departmental honors.

Core Faculty and Executive Committee

  • Sayantani DasGupta (CSER, Professional Studies)
  • Jennifer Lee (Sociology)
  • Catherine Fennel (Anthropology)
  • Kevin Fellezs (Ethnomusicology and IRAAS)
    Karl Jacoby CSER Co-Director (History)
  • Claudio Lomnitz (Anthropology) 
  • Frances Negrón-Muntaner (English and Comparative Literature) 
  • Mae Ngai CSER Co-Director (History)
  • Ana Maria Ochoa (Ethnomusicology) 
  • Deborah Paredez (CSER and Professional Practice)
  • Audra Simpson (Anthropology)
  • Neferti Tadiar (Barnard, Women's Studies)
  •  

Affiliated Faculty

Rachel Adams
Associate Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature
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Carlos Alonso
Morris A. & Alma Schapiro Professor in the Humanities, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
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Vanessa Agard-Jones
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
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Christina Duffy-Ponsa
Associate Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
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Nadia Abu El-Haj
Professor of Anthropology

Kevin Fellezs
Assistant Professor, Music Department/Institute for Research in African American Studies
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Kaiama L. Glover
Associate Professor, French Department /African Studies Program, Barnard College
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Steven Gregory
Associate Professor of Anthropology and African-American Studies, Department of Anthropology and Institute for Research in African-American Studies
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Frank Guridy
Associate Professor of History
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Kim Hall
Professor, Department of English, Barnard College
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Jill Hill
Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education, Department of Counseling & Clinical Psychology, Teachers College
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Marianne Hirsch
Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature
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Jean Howard
George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities, Department of English and Comparative Literature
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Theodore Hughes
Professor of Korean Studies

Elizabeth Hutchinson
Associate Professor of Art History, Barnard 
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George Lewis
Edwin H. Case Professor of Music, Department of Music
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Ana Paulina Lee
Assistant Professor of Luso-Brazilian Studies, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures
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Natasha Lightfoot
Associate Professor of History

Celia Naylor
Associate Professor, Department of History and Africana Studies, Barnard College
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Pablo Piccato
Professor, Department of History; Director, Institute of Latin American Studies
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Caterina Pizzigoni
Assistant Professor, Department of History
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Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Professor, Department of Anthropology
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Samuel Roberts
Associate Professor, Department of History
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Joseph Slaughter
Associate Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature
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Gray Tuttle
Leila Hadley Luce Associate Professor of Modern Tibetan Studies

Christopher Washburne
Associate Professor, Department of Ethnomusicology
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Major in Ethnicity and Race Studies

The requirements for this program were modified on September 28, 2018. Students who declared this program before this date should contact the director of undergraduate studies for the department in order to confirm their correct course of study.

The major in ethnicity and race studies consists of a minimum of 27 points. All majors are required to take three core courses as listed below:

Points
Core Courses
1.
CSER UN1010Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies (or)4
OR
CSER UN1040Critical Approaches to the Study of Ethnicity and Race0
2.
CSER UN3928Colonization/Decolonization4
OR
CSER UN3942Race and Racisms4
3.
CSER UN3919Modes of Inquiry4
Specialization
All majors will select one of the areas of specialization listed below from which to complete their remaining coursework:
Asian American studies
Comparative ethnic studies
Latino/a studies
Native American/Indigenous studies
Individualized courses of study
Majors who elect NOT to follow the Honors track must complete at least five CSER elective courses, in consultation with their major adviser, within their area of specialization. At least one of these electives must be a writing-intensive seminar (3000 or above level courses must be chosen within the department). Majors who elect to follow the Honors track must complete at least four CSER elective courses, in consultation with their major adviser, within their area of specialization.
Honors
In lieu of a fifth elective, Honors majors are required to enroll in the following course in the spring semester of their senior year, during which they are required to write a thesis:
CSER UN3990Senior Project Seminar4
Honors majors are required to present their senior essays at the annual undergraduate symposium in April. Students may fulfill this option in one of the following two ways:
1. By matriculating in the Senior Thesis course and writing the thesis under the supervision of the course faculty.
2. By taking an additional 4-point seminar where a major paper is required and further developing the paper into a thesis length work (minimum of 30 pages) under the supervision of a CSER faculty member.
Language Courses
- One of the following is highly recommended, although not required for the major:
- One course beyond the intermediate-level in language pertinent to the student's focus
- An introductory course in a language other than that used to fulfill the degree requirements, but that is pertinent to the student's focus
- A linguistics or other course that critically engages language
- An outside language and study abroad programs that include an emphasis on language acquisition

Concentration in Ethnicity and Race Studies

The requirements for this program were modified on September 28, 2018. Students who declared this program before this date should contact the director of undergraduate studies for the department in order to confirm their correct course of study.

The concentration in ethnicity and race studies requires a minimum of 19 points. Students take two core courses (may choose between CSER UN1010 and CSER UN1040) and four elective courses, one of which must be a seminar:

Points
Core Courses
The concentration in ethnicity and race studies requires a minimum of 19 points. All students who choose a concentration are required to take two core course as listed below:
1.
CSER UN1010Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies (or)4
OR
CSER UN1040Critical Approaches to the Study of Ethnicity and Race3
2.
CSER UN3928Colonization/Decolonization4
OR
CSER UN3942Race and Racisms4
Specialization
Students must complete at least four courses, in consultation with their major adviser, in one of the following areas of specialization. At least one of the elective courses must be a seminar.
Asian American studies
Comparative ethnic studies
Latino/a studies
Native American/Indigenous studies
Individualized courses of study

Fall 2020

Ethnicity and Race Studies

CSER UN1010 Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Students MUST register for a Discussion Section.

Introduction to the field of comparative ethnic studies.

Fall 2020: CSER UN1010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 1010 001/20893 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Online Only
Frances Negron-Muntaner 4 75/90

CSER UN3444 The Decolonial Appeal: Desiring Decolonization in Sites of Representation. 4.00 points.

Contemporary sites of representation - museums and institutions - operating in a readymade terrain of settler colonial public secrets, have increasingly been called upon, from within and without, to reckon with their own entanglements, to decolonize. Responses to this appeal reveal the difficulties of navigating in the wake of contradictions left by partial past attempts. As institutional moves risk recurrent denials of contemporaneity and slippages into neo-primitivism, manifesting as symptoms of the creation of museums as sites with a dependence on racialized territorial dispossession and foundational displacement, with the inheritance of collections, sites of containment, and conditions of display as legacies to uphold, how can we escape entrapment? In this course, through comparative analysis of texts, film screenings, and events of currency, augmented by site visits and interactions with visiting art world practitioners and cultural informants, we will create space to examine strategies in the age of contested progressivisms, to confront and evaluate risks and rewards of variant approaches, of art practice, advocacy and activism. This class offers an opportunity to address the tenability of methodologies and strategies arising from this appeal, to increase our ability to propose and enact speculative and effective models for engagement.

Fall 2020: CSER UN3444
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3444 001/15465 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Jackson Polys 4.00 11/18

CSER UN3490 Post 9/11 Immigration Policies. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 22.

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? Who stands to benefit from these enforcement strategies? Do immigrant communities feel safer in the U.S.? How have states joined the federal bandwagon of immigration enforcement or created solutions to an inflexible, broken immigration system?

Fall 2020: CSER UN3490
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3490 001/11309 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Elizabeth OuYang 4 19/22

CSER UN3904 Rumor and Racial Conflict. 4 points.

This course will take a transnational look at the strange ways that race and mass rumors have interacted. From the judicial and popular riots in the U.S. justified by recurrent rumors of African-American insurrection, to accusations that French Jews were players in the 'white slave trade,' to tales of white fat-stealing monsters among indigenous people of Bolivia and Peru, rumors play a key role in constructing, enforcing, and contesting regimes of racial identity and domination. In order to grasp rumor's importance for race, we will need to understand how it works, so our readings will cover both instances of racialized rumor-telling, conspiracy theories and mass panics, and some key approaches to how rumors work as a social phenomenon. The instructor will expect you to post a response to the reading on Courseworks each week and to engage actively in class discussion. There will be an in-class midterm exam, and you will be able to choose between writing an independent research project or doing a take-home exam.

CSER UN3919 Modes of Inquiry. 4 points.

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.

Fall 2020: CSER UN3919
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3919 001/11311 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Sayantani DasGupta 4 12/15

CSER UN3922 Race and Representation in Asian American Cinema. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 22.

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.

Fall 2020: CSER UN3922
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3922 001/11312 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Eric Gamalinda 4 23/15

CSER UN3923 LATINX & ASIAN AMER MEMOIR. 4 points.

In this class, we will explore Latino and Asian American memoir, focusing on themes of immigration and duality. How do we construct identity and homeland when we are multiple? How do we define ourselves and how do others define us? By reading some of the most challenging and exciting memoirs by Latino and Asian Americans, we will attempt to answer these questions and/or at least try to understand these transnational and multicultural experiences. This class combines the critical with the creative--students have to read and critic memoirs as well as write a final 10-page nonfiction creative writing piece. Students will also have the opportunity to speak to some Latino and Asian authors in class or via SKYPE. Students will be asked to prepare questions in advance for the author, whose work(s) we will have read and discussed. This usually arises interesting and thought-provoking conversations and debates. This Dialogue Series within the class exposes students to a wide-range of voices and offers them a deeper understanding of the complexity of duality.

Fall 2020: CSER UN3923
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3923 001/13942 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Nathalie Handal 4 15/15

CSER UN3926 Latin Music and Identity. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

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 music's 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 music's political economy, and investigating the story it tells about migration and globalization.

Fall 2020: CSER UN3926
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3926 001/11318 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Edward Morales 4 19/15

CSER UN3928 Colonization/Decolonization. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Enrollment limited to 22.

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. 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.

Fall 2020: CSER UN3928
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3928 001/12187 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Manan Ahmed 4 19/19
Spring 2021: CSER UN3928
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3928 001/11808 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Claudio Lomnitz 4 0/22

CSER UN3932 US Latinx History. 4 points.

With a current presence of over fifty-five million people of Hispanic descent, Latina/o/xs have played a significant role in shaping U.S. history and national identity. This course is intended to introduce students to some of the major themes in U.S. Latinx history with particular attention to source material and methodologies in assigned readings. More broadly, we will explore the histories of the diverse Latina/o/x populations in the U.S. to understand how Latina/o/xs maintain cultural and political links within the diaspora and fit within shifting national projects of race and citizenship. To this end, we will also discuss the incorporation of Latina/o/xs into society both as a broad demographic group and specifically within major immigrant groups: Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Central Americans, and South Americans.

Fall 2020: CSER UN3932
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3932 001/11325 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Alex LaRotta 4 15/18

CSER GU4000 INTRO TO AMERICAN STUDIES. 3 points.

See department for course description

CSER GU4040 Whiteness, Sentiment and Political Belonging. 4 points.

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

In addition to this intellectual work, students will gain practice in the seminar format: a collegial development and exchange of ideas and arguments through discussion and writing.

CSER GU4361 Documenting Disaster. 4.00 points.

COURSE DESCRIPTION How have writers from across the Americas written into and from and through and beyond disaster? How can their work guide us through our current moment? Disaster simultaneously obliterates and generates language. The language of disaster is found in the silenced plea or the official decree that denies or ensures the disaster's spread. To speak toward and against the disaster is to speak in a stutter or a slash or a song. What labor and what ethical, political, and aesthetic considerations are required of and modelled by writers who document disaster? What can we learn from the techniques of point of view, form, voice, silence, sound, and shape used by these writers? What do their works teach us about the intersections among racial and class disparities, gendered and sexual violence, homo-and trans-phobia, war, public health emergencies, disaster capitalism, environmental racism, authoritarian regimes, and militarized policing? Genres studied include poetry, lyric essays, fiction, graphic novels, memoir, and drama

Fall 2020: CSER GU4361
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 4361 001/21368 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Deborah Paredez 4.00 17/12

Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology

EEEB GU4321 Human Nature: DNA, Race & Identity. 4 points.

The course focuses on human identity, beginning with the individual and progressing to communal and global viewpoints using a framework of perspectives from biology, genetics, medicine, psychiatry, religion and the law.

Fall 2020: EEEB GU4321
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EEEB 4321 001/13983 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Robert Pollack, Marya Pollack 4 19/20
Spring 2021: EEEB GU4321
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
EEEB 4321 001/10448  
Robert Pollack, Marya Pollack 4 0/20

Spring 2021

Ethnicity and Race Studies

CSER UN1010 Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Students MUST register for a Discussion Section.

Introduction to the field of comparative ethnic studies.

Fall 2020: CSER UN1010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 1010 001/20893 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Online Only
Frances Negron-Muntaner 4 75/90

CSER UN1011 Introduction to Asian American Studies. 4 points.

This course provides an overview of Asian/ Pacific American history from the late 18th Century until the present day. 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.  Specifically it will explore historical and contemporary Asian American issues and rights. 

Spring 2021: CSER UN1011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 1011 001/11124 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Glenn Magpantay 4 0/15

CSER UN3701 US Latina/o Cultural Production. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 22.

The course will investigate the possibility that hybrid constructions of identity among Latinos in the U.S. are the principal driving force behind the cultural production of Latinos in literature and film. There will be readings on the linguistic implications of “Spanglish” and the construction of Latino racial identity, followed by examples of literature, film, music, and other cultural production that provide evidence for bilingual/bicultural identity as a form of adaptation to the U.S. Examples will be drawn from different Latino ethnicities from the Caribbean, Mexico, and the rest of Latin America.

Spring 2021: CSER UN3701
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3701 001/10911 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Edward Morales 4 0/15

CSER UN3913 Video as Inquiry. 4 points.

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 UN3924 Latin American and Latina/o Social Movements. 4 points.

In Latin America, a wave of new popular social movements have been transforming politics and social reality. In the United States, latino/as are building on decades of organizing and demographic growth to claim a new public persona and challenge their marginal status. What are the significant areas of political action, and how can we understand them? What claims can those disenfranchised for reasons of race, class, or national origin make on societies? Indigenous survival movements in Brazil, multi-ethnic electoral alliances in Bolivia, growing Afro-Colombian assertion, Dominican community organizing in New York City, and poetic post-marxist guerrillas in Mexico are just a few of the new forms of social activism that are transforming class, ethnic identity, and citizenship throughout the Americas, and combating the dominance of free-market social and economic policies. We will discuss a number of important social movements throughout the region, while developing tools for understanding social movements and their possibilities. This class is designed to give you an opportunity to do independent research; as a result, it will demand your intensive engagement, and your willingness both to master the information and tools we go over in class, and to pursue a specific topic of your own choosing. Students will all write a term paper based on independent research.

CSER UN3934 Black/Brown History of Rock and Roll. 4 points.

This course is designed to get students to think more deeply about the ethno-racial roots—and routes—of rock and roll music as a national, historical phenomenon. In this class, we’ll conceive rock and roll broadly to include peripheral genres which are related to or derived from its origins, including rhythm and blues, jazz, soul, funk, boogaloo, salsa, disco, and hip-hop, to thread together and discuss the relationships between music, identity, and race in the United States. Latinxs and African Americans have played significant, if underrecognized, roles in shaping American popular music; the cultural connections and musical interactivity between these communities are lesser understood in popular narratives of postwar American music. To this end, this course will uncover a broad social, racial, national, and transnational history of rock and roll to understand how musicians of color innovated long-standing musical traditions in their communities; maintained cultural and political links within the diaspora; and navigated regional racial schemas in the United States and Latin America.

Spring 2021: CSER UN3934
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3934 001/10914 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Alex LaRotta 4 0/15

CSER UN3935 Historical Anthropology of the US-Mexico Border. 4 points.

Beginning in the 1980s, border crossing became an academic rage in the humanities and the social sciences. This was a consequence of globalization, an historical process that reconfigured the boundaries between economy, society, and culture; and it was also a primary theme of post-modernist aesthetics, which celebrated playful borrowing of multiple and diverse historical references. Within that frame, interest in the US-Mexican border shifted dramatically. Since that border is the longest and most intensively crossed boundary between a rich and a poor country, it became a paradigmatic point of reference. Places like Tijuana or El Paso, with their rather seedy reputation, had until then been of interest principally to local residents, but they now became exemplars of post-modern “hybridity,” and were meant to inspire the kind of transnational scholarship that is required in today’s world. Indeed, the border itself became a metaphor, a movable imaginary boundary that marks ethnic and racial distinction in American and Mexican cities. This course is an introduction to the historical formation of the US-Mexican border.

CSER UN3940 Comparative Study of Constitutional Challenges Affecting African, Latino, and Asian American Communities. 4 points.

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.

Spring 2021: CSER UN3940
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3940 001/10912 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
Online Only
Elizabeth OuYang 4 0/20

CSER UN3942 Race and Racisms. 4 points.

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 course's intellectual content, students will gain critical practice in the seminar format -- that is, a collegial, discussion-driven exchange of ideas.

CSER UN3970 Arab and Asian Diaspora in Literature and Film. 4.00 points.

This course explores contemporary Arab American and the Arab Diaspora culture and history through literature and film produced by writers and filmmakers of these communities. As a starting historical point, the course explores the idea of Arabness, and examines the Arab migration globally, in particular to the U.S. focusing on three periods: 1875-1945, 1945-early 1960s, and late 1960s-present. By reading and viewing the most exciting and best-known literary works and films produced by these writers and filmmakers, students will attain an awareness of the richness and complexity of these societies. Additionally, students will read historical and critical works to help them have a deeper understanding of theses creative works. Discussions revolve around styles and aesthetics as well as identity and cultural politics. Some of the writers the class will cover include, Wajdi Mouawad, Diana Abu Jaber, Amin Maalouf, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Anthony Shadid, Hisham Matar, and Adhaf Soueif

Spring 2021: CSER UN3970
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3970 001/11264 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Nathalie Handal 4.00 0/20

CSER UN3990 Senior Project Seminar. 4 points.

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.

Spring 2021: CSER UN3990
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3990 001/10913 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Darius Echeverria 4 0/15

CSER GU4340 Visionary Medicine: Racial Justice, Health and Speculative Fictions. 4 points.

In Fall 2014, medical students across the U.S. staged die-ins as part of the nationwide #blacklivesmatter protests. The intention was to create a shocking visual spectacle, laying on the line “white coats for black lives.” The images were all over social media: students of all colors, dressed in lab coats, lying prone against eerily clean tile floors, stethoscopes in pockets, hands and around necks. One prone student held a sign reading, “Racism is Real.” These medical students’ collective protests not only created visual spectacle, but produced a dynamic speculative fiction. What would it mean if instead of Michael Brown or Eric Garner or Freddie Gray, these other, more seemingly elite bodies were subjected to police violence? In another viral image, a group of African American male medical students from Harvard posed wearing hoodies beneath their white coats, making clear that the bodies of some future doctors could perhaps be more easily targeted for state-sanctioned brutality. “They tried to bury us,” read a sign held by one of the students, “they didn’t realize we were seeds.” Both medicine and racial justice are acts of speculation; their practices are inextricable from the practice of imagining. By imagining new cures, new discoveries and new futures for human beings in the face of illness, medicine is necessarily always committing acts of speculation. By imagining ourselves into a more racially just future, by simply imagining ourselves any sort of future in the face of racist erasure, social justice activists are similarly involved in creating speculative fictions. This course begins with the premise that racial justice is the bioethical imperative of our time. It will explore the space of science fiction as a methodology of imagining such just futures, embracing the work of Asian- and Afroturism, Cosmos Latinos and Indigenous Imaginaries. We will explore issues including Biocolonialism, Alien/nation, Transnational Labor and Reproduction, the Borderlands and Other Diasporic Spaces. This course will be seminar-style and will make central learner participation and presentation. The seminar will be inter-disciplinary, drawing from science and speculative fictions, cultural studies, gender studies, narrative medicine, disability studies, and bioethics. Ultimately, the course aims to connect the work of science and speculative fiction with on the ground action and organizing.

CSER GU4350 Cinema of Subversion: Responses to Authoritarianism in Global Cinema. 4 points.

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?

CSER GU4484 Cultural Rights as Human Rights. 4 points.

The seminar will situate the historical, legal and political analysis within the context of current debates of human rights theory, cultural relativism, racism, “dialogue among civilizations”, the post- September 11th era and the increasingly prominent phenomenon of destruction of cultural heritage.  Reviewing international legal instruments, national and international practice, jurisprudence and literature of the last sixty years, and using a multidisciplinary approach, the seminar will explore what cultural rights mean both as individual and as collective human rights, with special references to the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples, women, migrants and other groups, offering a vision for pluricultural democratic and peaceful societies.