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Courses *

Courses offered in the MA in the Study of the Americas


fall 2017

"Graduate Research Methodologies," IAS A5010, 2 CWE, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Urban Studies, PhD, AICP, Susanna Schaller, Tuesdays, 5:30-7:10 p.m. 

"Childhood Poverty in the Americas," IAS A61130, 2 CWE, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, Elizabeth Matthews. Tuesdays, 7:30-9:10 p.m.

"Dreams, Ethics, and Society in the Americas," IAS A 6115, 4 CWE, Visiting Scholar Craig E. Stephenson,  Thursdays, 6:00-7:40 p.m.

Spring 2017

"Urban Sustainability and Neighborhood Change," IAS 5090, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Urban Studies, PhD, AICP, Susanna Schaller, Tuesdays, 5:30-7:10 p.m. Hybrid in-class & online course.

"Inventing the Americas," IAS 5000, Associate Professor of Literature, Marlene Clark. Tuesdays, 7:30-9:10 p.m.

"Populism and Popular Culture in the Americas," IAS 6011, Associate Professor of Latin American Cultural Studies, Carlos Aguasaco, Wednesdays, 7:30-9:10 p.m.

FALL 2016

"Graduate Research Methodology," Assistant Professor of History, Justin Williams.

"Making Race in the 21st Century," Assistant Professor of Anthropology Susanna Rosenbaum, taught as a B.A./M.A. course.

"Religion in the Americas," Associate Professor of History, Martin Woessner.

"Crime Narratives of the Americas," Assistant Professor of Literature, Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken, taught as a B.A./M.A. course.

 

Spring 2016

"Special Topics Capstone: Dictatorships in the Americas," Assistant Professor of History, Justin Williams.

"Latinos and Race, Assistant Professor of Anthropology," Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Susanna Rosenbaum, taught as a B.A./M.A. course.

“Special Topic Series: Human Rights,” taught as a pro-seminar, while at the same time offering students an introduction to human rights theory, taught by Dr. Danielle Zach, Acting Director of Human Rights Studies and Frances S. Patai Postdoctoral Fellow in Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies, taught as a B.A./M.A. course.

“Witches, Masons, Slaves, and Revolutionaries,” Assistant Professor of Literature, Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken, taught as a B.A./M.A. course.

Fall 2015


IAS A5000, 1CWE                                                                                                                  

Monday, 5:30 – 7:10 PM

Inventing the Americas                                                                                                                                    

Alessandra Benedicty

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of the Americas.  It examines some of the ways in which the Americas have been constructed, defined, and redefined since the time of Columbus (and before).  Touching upon some of the topics that have come to define the history of the Americas, students will discuss the science(s) of exploration; the imaginaries of the new world and the old; the politics and economics of empire and colonialism; the cruelties of invasion, conquest, and slavery; the transformations of ecology and biology; the contours of nationalism and transnationalism; as well as the more recent phenomenon of globalization. Open only to students accepted into the M.A. in the Study of the Americas program.  3 hr.; 3 cr. (Graduate)

 

IAS A6010, 3CWE                                                                                                             

Wednesday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM

Race and Gender in the Americas                                                                                                               

Susanna Rosenbaum                     

This course takes up a comparative approach rooted in the anthropology of race and gender. Students will build a theoretical framework from grounded studies of people’s everyday lives in particular historical and cultural contexts across the Americas.  We will engage with topics ranging from the role of science in perpetuating and then dismantling inequalities predicated on race, the forced sterilization of women of color, to relationships of power emergent in increasingly diasporic lives. While the course focuses onethnographic readings, students will be able to develop an interdisciplinary perspective for analyzing, race, gender, and sexuality.  3 hr.; 3 cr. (Graduate)
 

IAS A6080, 1CWE                                                                                                             

Wednesday, 5:30 – 7:10 PM

Gated Cities, Gated Communities, Gated Minds (Hybrid, and taught as a B.A./M.A.)                                                                          

Susanna Schaller                   

This course explores the global phenomenon of "gating" and privatizing urban spaces to create residential and commercial areas that offer a sense of heightened security and seclusion, a respite from the perceived chaos, violence and anonymity of the ever encroaching city. Gated communities are no longer to be found in the suburbs but are fracturing city space as fortified enclaves become sanitized, re-imagined, branded and sold. In this course we will explore the contours and content of this physical gating of urban metropolitan spaces through divergent lenses, taking an interdisciplinary journey into some of the "cities of walls" that have been emerging in the Americas.  We will read ethnographic and sociological studies and urban theory as well as literary works and watch several films that examine how "gating" or "walling" shapes the urban and specific cities and how this is redefining urban life in the Americas and beyond. What does this (re)segregation by class, race, ethnicity and gender imply in terms of our day-to day encounters and relationships as well as our roles as citizens?  Are we just gating our lives or our minds as well?  We will cover some of the theoretical debates on gated communities, thinking about the reasons behind gating, assessing the impact on the urban fabric as well as investigating the implication the increasing privatization of neighborhood and commercial spaces has in term of social inclusion and exclusion. We will read several novels, such as T.C. Boyle's Tortilla Curtains set in California, The Thursday Widows by Claudia Piñeiro set in Argentina and The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler also set in California and Perilous Kinship by a German Turkish author.  3 hr.; 3 cr. (Graduate)

This is course is a hybrid course and BA and MA students will meet together from 5:30 to 7:10. Face to Face classes will end at 7:10 for graduate students. The undergraduate section will reconvene from 7:30 until 8:50 on most evenings to work on writing assignments or deepen themes through professor-facilitated small group discussions; on some evening undergraduate students may be dismissed earlier but will be expected to participate in online discussions. Three of our class sessions will be scheduled as online sessions for all students, meaning they will not meet face to face.  Graduate students will be expected to do additional reading and produce a longer final paper in addition to the other assignments.   3 hr.; 3 cr. (Graduate)
 

IAS A61120, 1CWE                                                                                                                

Monday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM

Indigenous People and Human Rights                                                                                                        

Marcia Esparza                  

Used as human fodder in war, Indigenous peoples are also exploited on coffee and cotton plantations during the picking season or in political campaigns to corral votes across the Global South. The history of their hidden resistance, in Michael Foucault’s classic words, becomes “subjugated knowledge.” This interdisciplinary course will examine the history of human rights undermining Indigenous peoples’ collective lives. We will explore postcolonial theories and research methodologies to raise these questions: What is the link between globalization and violations of Indigenous peoples’ rights? What are the most salient human rights crimes committed against Indigenous communities, and in which socio-economic, cultural and political contexts?  3 hr.; 3 cr.  Also, 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. 

 


Spring 2015

IAS A5010, 2CWE                                                                                                                                      

Tuesday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM

Graduate Research Methodology                                                                                                                                         

Karen Gregory
This course will trace the changing definition of American Studies, originating as a field of study with a focus primarily on the United States to projects spanning both American continents.  Students will study the field’s relationship to twentieth-century social movements and related theoretical categories, including Marxist theory, cultural studies, feminist theory, post- colonial theory, and ethnic studies. They will learn the various research techniques necessary to produce graduate-level writing in their courses in the Study of the Americas.  Students will choose a topic, develop a research agenda, conduct interdisciplinary research, and write a final paper of 15-20 pages. Open only to students accepted into the M.A. in the Study of the Americas program.  3 hr,; 3 cr. (G)

 

IAS A6110, 2CWE                                                                                                                                      

Tuesday, 5:30 – 7:10 PM

Critical Childhood and Youth Studies Across the Americas                                                                                               

Wendy Lutrell

In this seminar, we will consider changing concepts of childhood and adolescence across the Americas and in different historical periods.   Drawing on interdisciplinary texts we examine various notions of childhood, including the romantic child, the sinful child, the working child, the sacred child, the child as miniature adult, the developing child, and the child as radically other.  As we do so, we will examine how our shifting—and often contradictory—conceptions of childhood both align and clash with the way children actually live in different regions of the Americas, emphasizing the ways in which age intersects with other dimensions of social experience:  sex/ gender, race, class, nation, and religion.  In addition, we consider what young people do, how they live their lives and imagine their futures, as illustrative of the ongoing development of societies across the Americas.  Finally we will look at childhood experiences that challenge the historically recent notion of a “protected” and “innocent” childhood: child sex, child labor, child soldiers and child criminals.

The class will examine the conceptual framework of critical childhood studies and its intersection with feminist theories, critical race theory, disability studies, and how children’s rights promoted by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) have been adopted and implemented in Latin and South American countries in contrast to the United States.  We will explore how different institutions, discourses and systems shape how childhood is experienced: including family, school, the juvenile (in)justice system, media and consumer culture, NGOs and children’s rights organizations.  While attending to the force of structural inequalities in cultural and economic arrangements, we don’t want to risk rendering children or adults invisible. Thus we will look at adults with whom children are in relationship, including parents, teachers, police, and counselors; and we will together build an archive of children and youth-generated materials that exist within our particular fields (education, sociology, women’s studies, critical psychology, urban planning, Latin American Studies, etc.)  Finally, we will consider methodological and pedagogical strategies used by various researchers and practitioners working with rather than on or about children. 3 hr. 3 cr. (G)



IAS A6111, 1CWE                                                                                                                                      

Monday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM          

Race and Nation in the Americas                                                                                                                                        

Justin C. Williams
This course is an interdisciplinary survey of the legacies of trans-Atlantic slavery/settler colonialism and their roles in forming ideas about race, nation and citizenship across the Americas. During the course, students will read theoretical, empirical and comparative texts on Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and the United States.  By the conclusion of the term, students will have a sense of the socially constructed nature of racial ideas, their historical evolution and diverse manifestations in different nation-building projects.   3 hr. 3 cr. (G)


IAS A7010, 1CWE                                                                                                                                      

Monday, 5:30 – 7:10 PM          

MA Capstone Seminar: American Revolutions of the 20th Century                                                                                    

Marlene Clark
American Revolutions of the 20th Century: The mid-to-late 20th century in Latin America and the Caribbean was no less turbulent than in the North. Throughout the Americas during this period, leftists were insisting upon the redress of a number of socio-cultural ills. In response to their demands, the more conservative, or “right-wing” elements—the Church, the military, the upper classes—often supported military coups as a bulwark against the perceived threat of communism. The unrest was further fueled by the interference of two important Cold War combatants: the United States, and the Soviet Union, often represented in the region by Cuba. This capstone course will closely examine “case studies” of several mid-to-late 20th century revolutions in the Americas, one in South America, one in Central America, one in the Caribbean, and one in North America. The history leading up to each will be closely examined. The revolution itself will be explored through the best sources for each, including but not limited to: Liberation Theology, art, Theatre of the Oppressed, novels, poetry, film, political theory, philosophy, and the law. As a final “capstone” project students will produce a case study of their own on a country in the Americas not covered in the course. These case studies will be presented at the end of the semester at a small conference hosted by seminar members. 3 hr. 3 cr. (G)


For more information about the M.A. in the Study of the Americas program, please contact the M.A. advisor, Carlos Aguasaco, at (212) 925-6625 x224, ma.americas@ccny.cuny.edu, or caguasaco@ccny.cuny.edu,  or visit  www.ccny.cuny.edu/cwe for more details.


Fall 2014

 

IAS A5000, 2CWE                                                                                                                 

Tuesday, 5:30 – 7:10 PM

Inventing the Americas                                                                                                                                   

Martin  Woessner        
This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of the Americas.  It examines some of the ways in which the Americas have been constructed, defined, and redefined since the time of Columbus (and before).  Touching upon some of the topics that have come to define the history of the Americas, students will discuss the science(s) of exploration; the imaginaries of the new world and the old; the politics and economics of empire and colonialism; the cruelties of invasion, conquest, and slavery; the transformations of ecology and biology; the contours of nationalism and transnationalism; as well as the more recent phenomenon of globalization. Open only to students accepted into the M.A. in the Study of the Americas program.  3 hr.; 3 cr. (Graduate)

 

IAS A6011, 4CWE                                                                                                                   

Tuesday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM

Populism and Popular Culture in the Americas                                                                                            

Carlos Aguasaco                                    

This course explores the symbiotic relation between political populism and the emergence of national and transnational popular culture(s) in the Americas. Following Garcia Canclini’s concept of economic citizenship, and Ernesto Laclau’s visions on Populism as an articulatory form, this course focuses on revealing the economic and political aspects that constitute both cultural practices and products in the Americas. The class discussions and readings will provide the theoretical framework while the students concentrate in studying cultural practices or products of their own choosing.  3 hrs.; 3 cr. (G)

 

IAS A6100, 1CWE                                                                                                                  

Monday, 6:00 – 7:40 PM

Microfinance in the Americas                                                                                                                             

Rosa Franco                    

Microfinance became an alternative to providing financial products and services to low-income people including self-employees around the world. Microfinance works to offer alternative lending and to promote access to quality services to all those excluded from the traditional financial system. How did this movement start?  What are the main characteristics of the demand-and-supply of the products and services created by microfinance?  How is microfinance implemented in the United States and what are the similarities and differences when comparing it to how other countries and societies implement microfinance?  During the course, we will explore and answer these questions, reflecting and analyzing the impacts that microfinance has made on over 85 million borrowers around the world, taking into consideration  that 90% of them are women.

Through this course, students will also understand why as a movement microfinance is innovative in its ethical approach to self-empowerment: it proposes the idea of investing in people, rather than that of promoting philanthropy, largely seen as charity. During the semester, students will have the opportunity to meet with representatives of Monetary Financial Institutions (MFI’s)  and practitioners whose operations are based in New York City (for example: Accion NY; Grameen Bank; Project Enterprise; Community Development Credit Unions, among others) as well as MFI's that work in the U.S.A. and in lower-income countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe (such as Pro Mujer; Women World Banking; Kiva, etc).  As a final product, students will develop and present a group project that explores the implementation of a microfinance program in New York City.They will compare it with at least two project/programs currently implemented outside of the U.S.A. After this exercise students will have (a) a better understanding of how the context (social, economic, etc.) influences the implementation of this financial alternative, and (b) how to analyze and make recommendations for best practices.  3 hr.; 3 cr. (G)
 


Spring 2014

IAS A5010, 2CWE                                                                                                                                      

Tuesday, 5:30 – 7:10 PM

Graduate Research Methodology                                                                                                                                   

Susanna Rosenbaum
This course will trace the changing definition of American Studies, originating as a field of study with a focus primarily on the United States to projects spanning both American continents.  Students will study the field’s relationship to twentieth-century social movements and related theoretical categories, including Marxist theory, cultural studies, feminist theory, post- colonial theory, and ethnic studies. They will learn the various research techniques necessary to produce graduate-level writing in their courses in the Study of the Americas.  Students will choose a topic, develop a research agenda, conduct interdisciplinary research, and write a final paper of 15-20 pages. Open only to students accepted into the M.A. in the Study of the Americas program.  3 hr,; 3 cr. (G)

 

IAS A6020, 2CWE                                                                                                                                      

Tuesday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM

Comparative Slaveries of the Americas                                                                                                                             

Justin C. Williams

This course explores the rise and fall of African slavery in the Americas from the 15th to the 19th centuries.  Through readings discussions and films/documentaries, we shall analyze how slavery became the predominant mode of production in the Americas until the late 19th century.  This course surveys the history, cultures and political economy of the Atlantic slave trade and its ongoing legacies in the Americas. In many ways, the themes of the course mirror the development of research interests and sensibilities concerning the defining of modernity and the emergence of new world transformations of European and African identities and transnationalisms. While we will concentrate on the Americas, there is little doubt that this forced migration was one element in an intertwined set of global exchanges and trade circuits. The consequences of extending new forms of labor, technology and capital alongside colonial exploration and expansion were germane in the development of ideologies of race and nationality on three continents. In this sense the Atlantic system conjoins multiple social practices, languages, and religions into new narratives of globalized identities. One of the goals of this course is to explore African Diasporic cultural expression and slave resistance in all of its manifestations.  Another important objective of this course is to read and reflect upon the historical underpinnings of race relations across the Americas and internationally.  3hr., 3 cr. (G)


IAS A7010, 3CWE                                                                                                                                

Wednesday, 6:00 – 7:40 PM          

MA Capstone Seminar                                                                                                                                                           

Jerry Carlson
Slavery & Its Historical Legacy in the Film & Fiction of the Americas

The course will investigate the ways in which New World slavery and its historical consequences have been represented in fictional feature films. The course will take a hemispheric approach viewing works from Brazil, Cuba, Martinique, the United States, and elsewhere. The focus will be a comparative analysis of the storytelling forms used to render the three historical stages common to all slave owning societies of the Americas. First is an extensive plantation system and resistance to it from within and without. Second, an unstable agrarian period follows the abolition of slavery. Finally, massive migrations to urban industrial economies take place.

Close analysis of the films will be complemented by attention to the roles played by music, religion, and prose fiction in telling and preserving the same historical knowledge. How do musical forms such as the American blues, the Cuban son, and the Brazilian samba sing history? In what ways do Afro-Atlantic religions such as Haitian vodou, Cuban Santeria, and Brazilian candomble interpret the African presence in the Americas? And how do the oral cultures of peoples long denied access to literacy find their voices in the written literatures of the 20th century? These questions and others will contribute to our understandings of the films and their allied forms of cultural production.

The course seeks both to identify commonalities among the cinematic forms and arts of peoples of African descent in the New World and to make distinctions among local cultures and their particular expressive forms. To do so, the course draws from the diverse theoretical perspectives offered by writers such as Leroi Jones (The Blues People), Antonio Benitez Rojo (The Repeating Island), and Edouard Glissant (Caribbean Discourse), among others 3hr. 3cr. (G)


Fall 2103

IAS A5000, 2CWE                                                                                                                 

Tuesday, 5:30 – 7:10 PM

Inventing the Americas                                                                                                                                           

Marlene Clark
This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of the Americas.  It examines some of the ways in which the Americas have been constructed, defined, and redefined since the time of Columbus (and before).  Touching upon some of the topics that have come to define the history of the Americas, students will discuss the science(s) of exploration; the imaginaries of the new world and the old; the politics and economics of empire and colonialism; the cruelties of invasion, conquest, and slavery; the transformations of ecology and biology; the contours of nationalism and transnationalism; as well as the more recent phenomenon of globalization. Open only to students accepted into the M.A. in the Study of the Americas program.  3 hr.; 3 cr. (Graduate)

 

IAS A6080, 4CWE                                                                                                               

Thursday, 6:00 – 7:40 PM

Gated Cities, Gated Communities, Gated Minds                                                                                            

Susanna Schaller                       

This course explores the global phenomenon of “gating” and privatizing urban spaces to create residential and commercial areas that offer a sense of heightened security and seclusion, a respite from the perceived chaos, violence and anonymity of the ever encroaching city. Gated communities are no longer to be found in the suburbs but are fracturing city space as fortified enclaves
become sanitized, re-imagined, branded and sold. In this course we will explore the contours and content of this physical gating of urban metropolitan spaces through divergent lenses, taking an interdisciplinary journey into some of the “cities of walls” that have been emerging in the Americas.  We will read ethnographic and sociological studies and urban theory as well as literary works that examine how the privatization of the city is redefining urban life in the Americas -from Buenos Aires and Sao Paolo to Los Angeles and New York. What does this (re)segregation by class, race, ethnicity and gender imply in terms of our day-to day encounters and relationships as well as our roles as citizens?  Are we just gating our lives or our minds as well?.    3 hr,; 3 cr. (Graduate)

 

IAS A6090, 2CWE                                                                                                                  

Tuesday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM

Labor Strategies in the Americas

Ian MacDonald                                                                                                                                      

Labor movements across the Americas are revising strategies, deepening cooperation across borders and drawing inspiration from each other’s struggles in difficult times for workers everywhere. While closer economic integration across the hemisphere may call for more internationalist union perspectives, it remains the case that labor politics is focused on the nation state, and the relations between unions and their allies in social movements and community organizations are most rooted at the local level. ‘Neoliberalism’ - free-market, bro-business policies enforced through the IMF, the World Bank and written into free trade agreements – presents a common challenge to labor. And yet labor’s response to neoliberalism has been uneven between Latin-, Anglo- and Franco-American nations. Asymmetries in power and wealth between the North and South remain highly relevant to attempts at closer, more effective labor cooperation.
 

Labor Strategies in the Americas is a survey of emergent labor strategies across the hemisphere, encompassing labor organizing, collective bargaining and political strategies. We will take a multi-scale approach, examining how strategies play out at the local, national and regional scales. The class will cover major debates, including the rise of new forms of worker representation, labor migration, labor-party and labor-state relations, free trade and alternative regional integration projects, and how to confront the power of multinational corporations. Case studies will include: coordinated cross-border bargaining and organizing in the steel and auto industries; comparative anti-privatization and anti-austerity strategies in the public sector; the relationship between labor and labor-backed parties in power in Southern Cone and Andean nations; North American labor’s response to NAFTA and mobilization against the defeated Free Trade Agreement of the Americas; labor’s ‘green jobs’ agenda and perspectives on climate change and ecological crises; organizing immigrant workers and migrant workers’ rights in the US and Canada; the labor rights/trade agreement nexus. The class will be taught in seminar format and rely on extensive student participation. 3 hr.; 3 cr. (graduate)
 


Spring 2013

 

IAS A5010, 2CWE                                                                                                                                      

Tuesday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM

Graduate Research Methodology                                                                                                                                        

 Justin C. Williams             

This course will trace the changing definition of American Studies, originating as a field of study with a focus primarily on the United States to projects spanning both American continents.  Students will study the field’s relationship to twentieth-century social movements and related theoretical categories, including Marxist theory, cultural studies, feminist theory, post- colonial theory, and ethnic studies. They will learn the various research techniques necessary to produce graduate-level writing in their courses in the Study of the Americas.  Students will choose a topic, develop a research agenda, conduct interdisciplinary research, and write a final paper of 15-20 pages. Open only to students accepted into the M.A. in the Study of the Americas program. 2hr./wk plus conf.; 3 cr. (G)

 

IAS A5020, 2CWE                                                                                                                                      

Tuesday, 5:30 – 7:10 PM

Society and Cultures of the Americas from the 19th to 21st Century                                                                           

Carlos Aguasaco                     

This foundation course intends to answer the question: “What are the Americas today?” Addressing that question, the course will take an interdisciplinary approach in the study of the divergent post colonial experiences in the Americas. This approach will incorporate history, anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies in its analysis of decolonization, economic “imperialism,” and the emergence of current transnational and racialized identities and hierarchies. The study of cultural changes and the ways in which processes are gendered as a result of migrations, hybridizations and techno-economical dependency is a main focus in this course. Being by definition part of an inclusive program, this course should always contrast the experiences of Native, French, Anglo, Spanish, and Lusophone speaking populations in the Americas. 3 hrs. 3cr. (G)  

 

IAS A6010, 3CWE                                                                                                                                

Wednesday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM          

Race and Gender in the Americas                                                                                                                                 

Susanna Rosenbaum

This course takes up a comparative approach rooted in the anthropology of race and gender.  Students will build a theoretical framework from
grounded studies of people’s everyday lives in particular historical and cultural contexts across the Americas.  We will engage with topics ranging from the role of science in perpetuating and then dismantling inequalities predicated on race, the forced sterilization of women of color, to relationships of power emergent in increasingly diasporic lives.  While the course focuses on ethnographic readings, students will be able to develop an interdisciplinary perspective for analyzing race, gender, and sexuality.  3 hr.; 3 cr. (G)
 


IAS A7010, 3CWE                                                                                                                                

Wednesday, 5:30 – 7:10 PM          

MA Capstone Seminar                                                                                                                                                        

Alessandra Benedicty
Capstone Seminar on ‘Poverty’

The notion of ‘poverty’ is one that lacks precise meanings. For example, what used to be called United Nations Development Programme’s Human Poverty Index in 2010 was replaced by the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which takes into account ‘health,’ ‘education,’ and ‘living standards.’ It ranks the ability of a country to provide ‘well-being’ to its citizens, and takes into account a country’s economic status, but also its ability to provide services to the average citizen (for example, schools, hospitals). This course will explore ‘poverty’ in two ways. On the one hand, we will look at social sciences’ multiple engagements with notions of poverty as related to initiatives that involve multiple sectors: public (including a comparative exploration of varying types of governments’ approaches to poverty), non-profit, grassroots, non-governmental, as well as civil society. On the other hand, the capstone will look at how the arts (including photojournalism), cinema (including documentary), and new media intervene in disseminating information and raising awareness about poverty, as well as how poverty is represented in literature and the arts. Students will be required to attend two-three events, one of which includes a fee of about $30. Most of the readings will be in the form of articles uploaded to Blackboard and/or printed out in a course reader. The capstone is a course that usually comes towards the middle or end of a student’s curriculum in a program. (If you are in the second or third semester of your coursework for the Master in the Study of the Americas, please contact the professor to discuss the modalities of participation: abenedicty@ccny.cuny.edu.) As such it requires students to reflect not only on  their own research and methodological approaches, but it asks students to engage critically with theoretical debates and conversations that address the benefits and challenges of academic scholarship in addressing social issues. The capstone is a graduation requirement for students who are not writing a thesis. That said, students who are writing a thesis may also take the capstone as a means of engaging their research interests in a seminar setting. 3 hr.; 3cr. (G)

 

 


Fall 2012

                                                                                                                             

IAS A50300, 3CWE                                                                                                           

Wednesday, 5:30 – 7:20 PM

Geopolitics and Diplomacy Across the Americas                                                                                            

Susanna Schaller                  

This foundation course looks at the formation of U.S. hegemony across the Americas. Using specific case studies, the course will examine the diplomatic relationships among specific nations and the impact of these relations on the entire Americas. Some examples include the Spanish-American War of 1898, the creation of an open U.S./Canadian border in the interwar years, the involvement of the Americas in World War II and its aftermath, Cuba and its impact on American relations, revolutionary struggles in the Americas and their impact on diplomacy, the Cold War and the Americas, and NAFTA and its diplomatic implications.  3 hr,; 3 cr. (Graduate)

 

IAS A60400, 2CWE                                                                                                                 

Tuesday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM

Religion in the Americas                                                                                                                                 

Martin  Woessner                  

This course offers an interdisciplinary survey of religious life in the Americas from the pre-Columbian period to the present.  Starting with a survey of indigenous religious belief, it moves on to consider the role of religion in the gradual evolution of the Americas from the age of exploration through the age of empire up to the emergence of modern nation-states.  Particular emphasis will be placed on the institutional, cultural, and political forces that have both shaped and been shaped by religious traditions.  From Catholic missionaries to modern televangelists, and from old-world orthodoxy to new-world syncretism, we examine some of the many ways in which the Americas have been defined by the plurality of faiths it has both spawned and sustained.  Readings include primary and secondary texts from a variety of disciplines.  Requirements include short papers and one research paper of fifteen to twenty pages.  3 hr,; 3 cr. (Graduate)

                                                                                                     

IAS A60600, 3CWE

Wednesday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM
Musics of the Americas                                                                                                                                             

Antoni Piza

Music of the Americas will present a survey of selected styles of Latin America music including the classical and popular traditions and will consider its native, African, and European heritage.  Each session will be dedicated to discussing one genre or style (such as son, cumbia, tango, bolero, samba, corrido, Latin jazz etc.) through guided listening of relevant recordings, pertinent readings, and screening of videos.  In addition, the course will present the relevant theoretical issues pertinent to those musical styles, including perspectives that shed light on ethnic identities, gender issues, migration, and diaspora questions.  Weekly assignments will include listening and readings.  A term paper and a class presentation will also be required.  3 hr.; 3 cr. (Graduate)


 


Spring 2012


IAS A5010, 1CWE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Monday, 6:00 – 7:40 PM

Graduate Research Methodology                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Marlene Clark

This course will trace the changing definition of American Studies, originating as a field of study with a focus primarily on the United States to projects spanning both American continents.  Students will study the field’s relationship to twentieth-century social movements and related theoretical categories, including Marxist theory, cultural studies, feminist theory, post- colonial theory, and ethnic studies. They will learn the various research techniques necessary to produce graduate-level writing in their courses in the Study of the Americas.  Students will choose a topic, develop a research agenda, conduct interdisciplinary research, and write a final paper of 15-20 pages. Open only to students accepted into the M.A. in the Study of the Americas program. 2hr./wk plus conf.; 3 cr. (G)

 

IAS A6045, 4CWE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Wednesday, 5:30 – 7:10 PM

Wild Animals in the Literature of the Americas                                                                                                                                                                                                              Carla Cappetti

Our literary safari explores the numerous trails that wild animals have carved in the literatures of the Americas.  Through fiction, poetry and drama by a wide range of authors from North, Central and South America, we will focus on threatening “animal” or “animal-like” protagonists as embodiments of natural, social and historical forces.  Like the ghost and the monster, the wild beast marks the boundary that separates the human and the inhuman.  In times of war, intolerance or persecution, the wild beast silently speaks what is unspeakable.  On the frontiers of race, gender and class, the wild beast unveils what is invisible.  We will start with some general questions: why are wild animals so haunting and populous in pan-American literature?  why should we pay attention to these wild animals?  what is their role in the literary works we will read? are they our enemies or our friends?  Do they make us more human or more inhuman?  Hopefully we will end with more and better
questions.  2hr./wk plus conf.; 3 cr. (G)  

 

IAS A7010, 3CWE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Wednesday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM          

MA Capstone Seminar: Weimar in America                                                                                                                                                                                                            Martin  Woessner 

The rise of political extremism in Europe during the decades leading up to the Second World War precipitated one of the largest intellectual and cultural migrations in history.  As refuge scholars, writers, and artists lucky enough to have found a way out of Hitler’s Europe made their way across the Atlantic, they brought with them cultural traditions and intellectual paradigms that have enjoyed long and profound afterlives in the Americas, especially in the United States.  This course examines the lasting effects of this “sea change” in the realms of the arts, higher education, politics, and even popular culture.  From academic philosophy to film noir, a great many “America” things have been transformed by this distinctly European influence.  In addition to studying the historiography of this intellectual and cultural migration, we will also undertake an interdisciplinary exploration of some of the key documents to emerge from the period.  We will read primary texts from thinkers, writers, and artists such as Hannah Arendt, Theodor Adorno, Bertolt Brecht, Thomas Mann (as well as his children Klaus and Erika), Herbert Marcuse, Stefan Zweig, and Paul Tillich.  We will also examine the music of Kurt Weill and Arnold Schoenberg, as well as the films of Fritz Lang, the architecture of Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler, and the art of George Grosz and Max Ernst.  As a capstone seminar, this course will combine a survey of the topical subject matter with a rigorous discussion of student-initiated final projects. Students will be asked to carry out investigations into subjects of their own choosing.  This research need not be limited to a narrow understanding of the subject of “Weimar in America,” but may address any number of themes that arise out of, or in conjunction with it. Possible research topics may include the politics or economics of migrations and immigrations; the fate of specific cultural traditions (indigenous, imported, or syncretic) in and across the Americas; the interaction—whether political, intellectual, cultural, and/or economic—of the Americas with the rest of the globe; or the theories and realities of phenomena such as modernity, empire, and globalization, especially as they inform our contemporary understanding of the Americas. As an alternative to theses, capstone projects allow more freedom and flexibility in the creation and execution of a final, culminating research experience.  Projects may include, but are not limited to, any the following: organization and oversight of an academic colloquium; design and research of an educational curriculum; work towards the production of a public event; production of a media project such as a documentary film, an archival collection, or a cultural or historical program); or a policy paper.  All final projects require prior approval, and will be presented to the MA community at CWE.
 

MA students who opt not to write a thesis are required to take a capstone seminar instead.  Topics for this seminar will rotate.  Students may register for a capstone seminar after eighteen credits have been completed. 2hr./wk. plus conf.; 3 CR.  (G)

 

SPAN B7700, 2SU

Tuesday, 6:50 PM – 8:30 PM          

Spanish American Short Story                                                                                                                                                                         

Carlos Riobó
PLEASE NOTE: This course will be taught on the uptown campus.  See MA Coordinator for more information. In this course we will explore the trajectory of the short story in Spanish America.  We will depart from the contributions made by Edgar Allan Poe up until our present days, including the most outstanding male and female authors of short narrative.  We will examine several theoretical approaches to the short story, especially those by Horacio Quiroga, Monterroso, García Márquez, Julio Cortázar, Rosario Ferré, and others.  We will look at themes including monsters, doppelgangers, incest, detective fiction, and female killers. THIS COURSE WILL BE TAUGHT IN ENGLISH.  2hr./wk plus conf.; 3 cr. (G)

   


Fall 2011


IAS A5000, 3CWE                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Wednesday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM

Inventing the Americas                                                                                                                                                                                       

Martin  Woessner
This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of the Americas.  It examines some of the ways in which the Americas have been constructed, defined, and redefined since the time of Columbus (and before).  Touching upon some of the topics that have come to define the history of the Americas, students will discuss the science(s) of exploration; the imaginaries of the new world and the old; the politics and economics of empire and colonialism; the cruelties of invasion, conquest, and slavery; the transformations of ecology and biology; the contours of nationalism and transnationalism; as well as the more recent phenomenon of globalization. Open only to students accepted into the M.A. in the Study of the Americas program.  3 hr.; 3 cr. (Graduate)

 

IAS A5020, 2CWE                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Tuesday, 5:30 – 7:20 PM

Society & Cultures of the Americas from the 19th to the 21st Century                                                                                

Carlos Aguasaco                     

This foundation course intends to answer the question: “What are the Americas today?” Addressing that question, the course will take an interdisciplinary approach in the study of the divergent post colonial experiences in the Americas. This approach will incorporate history, anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies in its analysis of decolonization, economic “imperialism,” and the emergence of current transnational and racialized identities and hierarchies. The study of cultural changes and the ways in which processes are gendered as a result of migrations, hybridizations and techno-economical dependency is a main focus in this course. Being by definition part of an inclusive program, this course should always contrast the experiences of Native, French, Anglo, Spanish, and Lusophone speaking populations in the Americas. 3 hr,; 3 cr. (Graduate)

 

IAS A6020, 2CWE                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Tuesday, 7:30 – 9:10 PM

Comparative Slaveries of the Americas                                                                                                                                                                 

Justin C. Williams                     

This course explores the rise and fall of African slavery in the Americas from the 15th to the 19th centuries.  Through readings discussions and films/documentaries, we shall analyze how slavery became the predominant mode of production in the Americas until the late 19th century.  This course surveys the history, cultures and political economy of the Atlantic slave trade and its ongoing legacies in the Americas. In many ways, the themes of the course mirror the development of research interests and sensibilities concerning the defining of modernity and the emergence of new world transformations of European and African identities and transnationalisms.While we will concentrate on the Americas, there is little doubt that this forced migration was one element in an intertwined set of global exchanges and trade circuits. The consequences of extending new forms of labor, technology and capital alongside colonial exploration and expansion were germane in the development of ideologies of race and nationality on three continents. In this sense the Atlantic system conjoins multiple social practices, languages, and religions into new narratives of globalized identities. One of the goals of this course is to explore African Diasporic cultural expression and slave resistance in all of its manifestations.  Another important objective of this course is to read and reflect upon the historical underpinnings of race relations across the Americas and internationally.3 hr,; 3 cr. (Graduate)

 

IAS A6051, 3CWE                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Wednesday, 5:30 – 7:10 PM
Markets, Power and People:  Scrutinizing “Development and Governance”                                                                            
   

Susanna Schaller

Privatization, devolution, and decentralization in many ways define neoliberal governance; these processes of shifting government services and political participation to the local level have redefined the role of the public sector not only in the US but internationally. We will raise questions about the public values we associate with the provision of government services as well as how the notion of “citizenship” changes as it becomes reframed within a “consumer-citizen” model. We will ask how the increasing emphasis on efficient and competitive “market-driven governance” has structured economic as well as political access and exclusion.  3hr.,3cr. (Graduate)