Mission of the MA and BA/MA in the Study of the Americas
Under the leadership of Dean Juan Carlos Mercado and Kathlene McDonald, the mission of the Master of Arts in the Study of the Americas at the City College of New York is to offer students a liberal arts degree, in step with the most cutting-edge trends in interdisciplinary education. For undergraduates in our program, we also offer the possibility to earn both a BA and an MA in the Study of Americas in less time.
The program seeks to address new questions and concepts about the Americas as it focuses on topics such as: racial and ethnic identities, migration and immigration, popular culture, politics, gender, and human rights. One of the practical goals of our program is to nourish a collaborative space within which students may develop their intellectual engagement, applying diverse and myriad disciplinary approaches to investigate the intersection between and among education, policy, government, society, history, culture, and the arts.
For students who already have careers, we offer a scholarly space in which they may engage their current professional responsibilities and interests using theoretical frameworks. For students who are preparing for a first career or career change, our program offers varying perspectives from which to explore potential paths. A second concrete objective of our program is to provide students with a rigorous, well-defined curriculum, which grounds students in an interdisciplinary perspective, but one that also allows them to explore more individual interests. Our 30-credit program enables students, with approval, to take up to three 3-credit courses as an Independent Study (only one suggested); at another division within the City College, or at another CUNY campus; or even benefit from the study abroad programs whose content areas complement those of the MA in the Study of the Americas.
Enrollment and Graduates' Success
Thanks to the degree, our graduates are excelling in the next steps in their intellectual and professional pursuits. Our first graduate, Cristian Santana, went on to an internship at the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations. Brian Easy, after graduating in May 2013, was promoted from Branch Manager for the Westchester/Crosby branch at CITI to Global Business Trainer, VP, with a specialty in the Americas. Agatha Samudio gained employment with the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce as Project Developer and Event Coordinator (Person of the Year Awards Gala). For his part, Ellis Brooks-Rua was offered a position as Research Support Specialist in the School of Communication at the University of Miami. Also, Jorge Arteaga was accepted to Teach for America in Boston.
On the academic front, Rosa Abreu changed careers, and is now Assistant Professor at CUNY's City Tech. Nelson Santana, who graduated in February 2013, received the Dean's Fellowship at Drexel University to pursue a Master of Science in Library and Information Science, one of the top programs in the country for library science. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in History at the equally esteemed Rutgers University. Bonnie Ip, a September 2012 graduate, is currently pursuing a degree at the New School for Social Research. Lara Rodriguez is pursuing a second MA in Anthropology at Hunter College. Jing Zhao is currently a Chinese language instructor in the Oriental Studies Department of Hunter College of CUNY, and an adjunct faculty member in ASA College and a teacher in Learn Language Hoboken. He is also a Chinese-English translator and interpreter who has worked for Brooklyn College, and the Bank of China.
In June 2016, we graduated the largest number of students since the program's launch in Spring 2010. In total, eleven students graduated this past 2015-2016 academic year. Hesley Keenan graduated having opted to write a thesis, titled “From Tulsa to Ferguson: Redefining Race Riots and Racialized Violence” under the aegis of Associate Professor of History Martin Woessner and Assistant Professor of History Justin Williams. Other notable accomplishments are that Christian René Gonzalez, a current student in our program participated in the City College Study Abroad Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Miho Egoshi’s paper titled “Is an Equal Encounter with ‘Others’ Possible? Las Casas, a Pioneer of Human Rights,” was selected to be part of the Second International Congress: On Historical Links between Spain and North America: Past, Present, and Future, co-organized by City College of New York (CUNY) and Universidad de Alcalá. Finally, Maarja Sau, was a finalist and also received an honorable mention for the Human Rights Poster Contest that is CUNY-wide, working closely with Dr. Danielle Zach, Acting Director of Human Rights Studies and Frances S. Patai Postdoctoral Fellow in Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies.
2015 - 2017 - Alessandra Benedicty Ph.D.
2014 - 2015 - Carlos Aguasaco Ph.D.
2012 - 2014 - Alessandra Benedicty Ph.D.
2011 - 2012 - Marlene Clark Ph.D.
2009 - 2010 - Irina Carlota Silber Ph.D.
Initiatives of the MA in the Study of the Americas at the City College
These are events either organized by the MA in the Study of the Americas or events to which the MA in the Study of the Americas has lent its support.
2016 The Americas Poetry Festival of NY, organized by Associate Professor Carlos Aguasaco in collaboration with the Consulate General of Argentina, the Instituto Cervantes, Walt Whitman State Historic Site, and Poetizer.
2016 Lecture series organized by Susanna Schaller and John Calagione on the Right to the City.
2016 Art exhibit in honor and memory of the 26,000 disappeared in Mexico and other victims of injustice around the world. Curated by Andrea Arroyo, with 300 international artists participating.
2016 We gained approval for the Special Topic Capstone Seminar to be offered as repeatable, allowing students to take it twice. This past year Assistant Professor of History Justin Williams designed the course around the title “Dictatorship in the Americas.”
2016 This past academic year, 2015-2016, the M.A. in the Study of the Americas inaugurated the implementation of the B.A./M.A. in the Study of the Americas. The first student, Pedro Gonzalez, has made his way quickly through the first semester of the MA, while also working on completing the required credits for his undergraduate degree, a BA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. The joint program requires that an undergraduate declare “Study of the Americas” as her/his concentration and complete 108 undergraduate credits (instead of the normal 120 undergraduate credits required for a B.A.). From this point onward, the student devotes the rest of her or his curriculum to the 30-credit M.A. program. At the end of the student’s studies, she or he receives two degrees in less time.
2016 Associate Professor of Sociology Marcia Esparza joined the M.A. in the Study of the Americas program in Fall 2015 from her home institution John Jay College (CUNY), to teach “Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights.” Esparza’s course led to collaborations with the non-profit Historical Memory Project (HMP) founded by Esparza, which “documents and advocates for truth, historical memory, justice and public access to state violence war and genocide archives in Latin America” (HMP website). MA students William Collazo, Agatha Samudio, Maarja Sau, and Selvia Sikder all continued after the course to volunteer with HMP.
2015 (Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, April 9-11)
The MA in the Study of the Americas is a co-organizer of the First International Conference on the Historical Links between USA and Spain: Past, Present and Future
The MA in the Study of the Americas supports The Americas Poetry Festival of New York
Our MA program is a cosponsor of The Americas Film Festival of New York.
Human Rights: A Yearlong Forum
We are collaborating on Human Rights: A Yearlong Forum at the City College
Thanks to a grant, we organized various events and initiatives, including, “Indigeneity in the Americas: A Transnational Roundtable and Workshop” (Spring 2013), which included special invitees Circe Sturm, author of Blood Politics: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (University of California Press, 2002) and Becoming Indian: The Struggle over Cherokee Identity in the 21st Century (School for Advanced Research Press, 2011) and John Haworth, Director, National Museum of the American Indian in New York (Smithsonian), as well as panelists working through the City SEEDS grant on indigeneity and other East coast scholars.
In conjunction with CUNY’s Center for the Humanities’ Mellon Seminar dedicated in 2012-2013 to thinking through ‘poverty’ as a category of critical analysis, the M.A. in the Study of the Americas welcomed a luncheon discussion with Rob Nixon, Rachel Carson Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, moderated by Joseph Entin, Associate Professor of English and Director of the American Studies Program, Brooklyn College (CUNY).
In March 2012, under the leadership of Kathlene McDonald, we co-sponsored "Women & Work in the Americas: A symposium on gender, labor, immigration and human rights," with keynote speakers Denise Brennan (Anthropology, Georgetown) and Carolina Bank Muñoz (Sociology, Brooklyn College/CUNY), along with a panel of scholars and activists discussing issues facing immigrant woman workers.
In Fall 2011, we organized a lecture series titled “Aesthetic and Cultural Expressions of African-Derived Religions”
“Human Rights: Theory and Practice,” Symposium at the City College’s Center for Worker Education, co-organized by Irina Carlota Silber and Martin Woessner, sponsored by the Frances S. Patai Fund on the Nazi Holocaust, the M.A. Program in the Study of the Americas, and the Dean of the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies.