SHUM 4673/6673 The Kinship of Repair: Asian and Asian American Artists in Collaboration
(also ARTH 4673/6673, ASIAN 4467/6667, FGSS 4673/6673, VISST 4673/6673)
Fall. 3 credits.
J. Joon Lee
Collaborations among and between Asian and Asian American artists in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have sought to redefine kinship by exploring the politics of belonging, generational disconnections, and the legacy of the Cold War, and to reimagine what reparation might mean for the Asian Americas. Through examining collaborative, multi-media artworks and performances by artists and filmmakers who engage with the questions of memory, belonging, militarism, and the formation of reparative kinship -- including An-My Lê, siren eun young jung, Ishiuchi Miyako, Dinh Q. Lê, Kang Seung Lee, Jane Jin Kaisen, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, JT Takagi, Grace Lee, and Patty Chang -- this seminar expands on the discourses of transnational Asia and trans-Pacific Asia, where the history of anti-Asian racism and lingering Cold War geopolitics have become ever more palpable since the COVID-19 pandemic. Students will also critically engage with what “Asian Americas” means when settler colonialism and anti-Black racism continue to fracture our work on ecological decoloniality and make alliances against white supremacy fragile.
Initial class sessions establish a theoretical framework, introducing students to interdisciplinary vocabularies and methodologies for addressing the politics and ethics of reparation and representation in art and visual culture. We move on to interrogating specific topical issues in Asian and American collaborative and individual artworks. Each week centers on a critical topic, drawing together relevant texts and art practices from art history, area studies, media studies, gender and sexuality studies, and film studies to cross-fertilize different approaches and encourage creative and critical thinking.
Jung Joon Lee is Associate Professor in the Department of Theory and History of Art and Design at Rhode Island School of Design. A specialist in histories and theories of photography, Lee’s research and teaching interests span the intersections of art and politics, transoceanic intimacies and decoloniality, and gender and sexuality.
Lee’s forthcoming monograph, Shooting for Change: Korean Photography after the War (under contract with Duke University Press) explores the onto-epistemology of “national” photography through the ways that photography in Korea and its diaspora presents an everyday cathected by 20th-century war and militarism and their ongoing pervasiveness. Lee is currently working on two book projects: a monograph exploring exhibitions as a space of minoritarian aesthetics, kinship-making, and historical rupture; and the co-edited volume Queer Feminist Elsewhere: Decolonial Making in Trans-Pacific Art, bringing together writings and artworks by scholars, artists and activists on queer feminist praxis in Korea and the Korean diaspora. Lee has published in such journals as History of Photography, photographies, TransAsia Photography, and PhotoResearcher. Lee’s recent publications include essays on Cold War temporality and images of transnational adoption; and queer methodological explorations of military photography.
In Spring 2022, Lee was the visiting professor of media studies and critical theory at the Graduate School of Communication and Arts, Yonsei University. Prior to her studies in art history, Lee trained in urban planning and worked for a global planning consortium. Issues of urbanity remain one of Lee’s major interests.
SHUM 4674/6674 Dispossession, Truth, and Reconciliation
(also AMST 4674/6674, HIST 4674/6674)
Fall. 3 credits.
Reconciliation has become an increasingly important component of political discourse and practice over the past three decades. Often invoked as a way of (re)building peaceful relations between ethnic, cultural, and religious communities after periods of conflict or oppression, reconciliation has had a profound effect on the shaping of contemporary public discourse related to the rights of Indigenous peoples in "settler states" such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States. Canada's recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015), established to acknowledge and assess government-inflicted damage on Indigenous children in federally-managed Residential Schools, represents a prime example of a constitutionally-sanctioned, court-driven jurisprudence of reconciliation.
This course seeks to apply critical insights from scholarship on reconciliation to the phenomenon of Indigenous dispossession in North American history. Acknowledging that the dispossession of Indigenous nations by Europeans represents the foundation of the past five centuries of North American history, we still find the truth of that history cloaked behind various Western legalreligious justifications for the dispossession of Indigenous American populations by Europeans (i.e., terra nullitis, the Doctrine of Discovery, the right of conquest, and Manifest Destiny). Tirrough analysis of primary texts and up-to-date historical and legal scholarship, students in this course will unpack these still-thriving tropes of settler-colonial justification for dispossession, assess the true impact of the taking of Indigenous lands, and explore prospects for meaningful reconciliation in the present. Reconciliation may include strategies for legal, constitutional, and political redress, including financial reparations, the restoration of land, and even health and wellbeing outcomes for members of affected communities. Yet we must also be alert to the ways in which the reconciliation practices and processes of settler states might replicate colonial ideals of national benevolence and white civility, and thereby overwrite or elide power asymmetries and inequities.
Jon Parmenter is an associate professor in Cornell’s department of History. I am a historian of early North America specializing in the history of Indigenous peoples of what is now the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. My research interests center on the relationships of Indigenous nations to their spatial environments, the subject of my first monograph The Edge of the Woods: Iroquoia, 1534-1701 (2010). I have published article-length studies in Diplomatic History, William and Mary Quarterly, and the Journal of Early American History. Most recently I have published a peer-reviewed essay on “Indigenous Nations and US Foreign Policy” for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History. Since September 2021 I have also been active in preparing reports and providing expert testimony in several Canadian court cases pertaining to Indigenous nations’ treaty rights and land claims.
SHUM 4675/6675 Pandemics Past and Pending
(also ANTHR 4472/7472, FGSS 4675/6675, STS 4675/6675)
Fall. 3 credits.
Illnesses are always profoundly social: who cares for whom and how? who treats whom and how? and who exactly suffers and how? Yet, illness is never just limited to the sociality of contagion and recovery. Illnesses, when they become epidemics or pandemics, cast wide social nets and reveal much deeper ailments. This course ultimately argues that pandemics are never just about a singular bacterium or virus. Instead, pandemics and epidemics reveal deeper social inequalities, interact with profound cultural and historical relations, and both create and foreclose different kinds of futures.
Students in this class will make connections between epidemics, pandemics, society, and culture as documented by textual and visual evidence. For the final projects, students will create an eBook together. In teams of three, they will compose long form text and use sustained visual imagery, all of which must be rigorously supported by scholarly citations. The stakes of this project are especially high as more SARS-COV variations and different illnesses like monkeypox emerge alongside a proliferation of visual and textual misinformation. By producing a visually dynamic eBook, students will learn how to support their claims about the connections between health, environment, and society by using empirical evidence; curate and harness images in the most effective way for supporting their arguments; and develop open-ended discussion questions for other classrooms at other universities and colleges.
This course ultimately argues that pandemics are never just about a singular bacterium or virus. Instead, pandemics and epidemics reveal deeper social inequalities, interact with profound cultural and historical relations, and both create and foreclose different kinds of futures.
Juno Salazar Parreñas is an Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Cornell University. She examines human-animal relations, environmental issues, and efforts to institutionalize justice. She is the author of Decolonizing Extinction: The Work of Care in Orangutan Rehabilitation (Duke UP, 2018), which received the 2019 Michelle Rosaldo Prize from the Association for Feminist Anthropology and honorable mentions for the 2020 Harry Benda Prize from the Association of Asian Studies, the 2019 Society for Medical Anthropology’s New Millennium Book Award and the Anthropology of Work and Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology and Computing’s 2019 Diana Forsythe Prize. Her articles appear in such journals as American Ethnologist, Anthropology and History, Cahiers d’Anthropologie Sociale, Catalyst: feminism, theory, technoscience, Environmental Humanities, History and Theory, positions: asia critique, and Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology, and Society. Her collaborations and conversations with artists such as Daniel Lie, Ines Lechleitner and Islands Songs (Nicolas Perret and Sylvia Ploner) have been hosted by MOMA, Ö1 Kunstradio, and Dokumenta 14. At Cornell, she teaches a range of interdisciplinary courses that include environmental ethics, introduction to feminist, gender and sexuality studies, as well as courses that speak to Southeast Asian studies.
SHUM 4676/6676 Lyric Interventions: Illness Narratives and the Aesthetics of Repair
(also FGSS 4676/6676, ENGL 4976)
Fall. 3 credits.
This hybrid course in health humanities and creative nonfiction explores the generative
theme of repair by turning an imagined kaleidoscope around diagnostic, metaphoric, and corrective discourses about bodies to embodied expressions of human suffering, divergence, and resilience. Adapting physician Sayantani DasGupta’s practice of narrative humility as our class praxis, we will approach illness narratives as encounters for deep listening. Etymology reminds us that the creative essay is a practice (to assay is to attempt, to practice by way of trial, to experiment) that mirrors the contemporary bioethics of care in their shared attentiveness, responsiveness, and responsibility to others. Unlike its thesis-driven counterpart, the creative essay—in its flash, narrative, lyric, speculative, and hybrid forms—meanders and notices, juxtaposes and questions, refusing easy answers. As Nicole Walker suggests in “The Braided Essay as Social Justice Action,” experimental essay forms “best represent a broken self and a broken world. But there is also something reparative.”
Students will read creative essays and listen to podcasts across an expansive range of health-related topics (see attached reading list) including the following. Patient and physician stories of biased diagnoses and flawed treatment. The aesthetic limitations and neurobiology of words in representing ineffable and diopathic states of being. Discursive (rather than reductive) pain scales opening fruitful conversations about suffering. The discriminatory politics and poor standards of women’s healthcare. Claudia Rankine’s redefinition of “sickness” as the body’s disgust and physical rejection of structural racism and internalized microaggressions causing stress-related illness in people of color. Embodied and performative accounts of disability and neurodiversity that reverse accessibility paradigms to one advocating ableist readers’ adaptative understanding. Neurological mysteries, mental illness, and irrecuperable memories. The shared social responsibility to first, do no harm. And the intimate privileges and burdens of caregiving. Students will write their own health-related essays, engaging peer review and revision as encounters, attempts, as trials toward repair.
Humanities Scholars Program Courses
SHUM 2750 Introduction to Humanities
Fall, Spring. 4 credits.
Limited to 15 students.
This seminar offers an introduction to the humanities by exploring the historical, cultural, social and political stakes of the Society for the Humanities annual focal theme. Students will explore the theme in critical dialogue with a range of texts and media drawn from the arts, humanities, and/or humanistic social sciences. Guest speakers, including Cornell faculty and Society Fellows, will present from different disciplines and points of view. Students will consider local sites relevant to the theme, including Cornell special collections and archives. Students enrolled in this seminar will have the opportunity to participate in additional programming related to the Society’s theme and the Humanities Scholars Program for undergraduate humanities research.
(FA22) SHUM 2750 Introduction to Humanities: Afterlives of 9/11 (SEM 101)
(also HIST 2050)
September 11, 2001 was a global and historical event that changed how we understand security, democracy, and terrorism. Through a careful reading of accounts from a variety of perspectives, students will be asked to evaluate how the course of history changed for the United States as well as nations in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.
(FA22) SHUM 2750 Introduction to Humanities: Can the Humanities Help Us To Repair the World? The Case of Climate Change (SEM 102)
(also ENGL 2950)
Can we repair the planet? If so, how might we go about that immense task? And how can the arts and humanities participate in this work? We will read about how artists and writers and different disciplines, including history, literary and media studies, political theory, and communications, approach the problem of climate change, and we will connect humanities thinking to action in the world. There will be 80-100 pages of reading/week. You will be asked to write 5 short response papers (1-2 pages). There will be a 3-5 page paper mid-semester that will be a launching pad for your final project. From week 8 onward, you will develop a final research project, which will be a 10-12 page paper and an oral presentation.
SHUM 4750 Senior Capstone Seminar
Limited to 10 students per section.
This 1-credit course is designed to support seniors in the Humanities Scholars Program. Seniors will meet for one hour per week with HSP mentors to work on their capstone projects. The course has three learning goals: creating a cohort of humanities researchers, sharing work in progress, and working collaboratively and in groups.
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow Courses
SHUM 2009 Prison Literature: Race, Carcerality, and Abolition
(also COML 2009)
Fall. 3 credits.
The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. In addition to the more than two million people imprisoned under the criminal justice system, the U.S. government captures even more people into carceral spaces within and beyond its borders. This course examines the U.S. penal system—manifested not only in the prison as a physical place or institution, but also as enacted in practices that seek to shore up state authority by (1) deciding the social value of people, oftentimes (2) disadvantaging them due to racial bias, and (3) punishing them through forms of displacement and enclosure. Reading prison narratives alongside scholarship in critical ethnic studies about incarceration, immigration, settler colonialism, and warfare, we will ask the following questions: what is the relationship between race and terror? What are some of the socially constructed roles of prisons and to what extent do they actually enact these roles? How are different groups of people criminalized by the U.S. penal system? How is their criminalization related to issues of race, gender, religious difference, and disability? How is imprisonment a form of settler colonial control? And what roles do current movements for abolition and decolonization play in promising to end state violence? To answer these questions, this course will engage with multiple texts that are dense, conceptually driven, and theoretically sophisticated, and therefore could be challenging to read. We will also confront upsetting histories, narratives, and images. Beside cultivating the skills to read and analyze these texts, this course will also help you cultivate comparative skills that see important connections between Black, Native, Latinx, Asian American, and Muslim American communities. To perform well in this course, make sure that you stay on track with the readings, discussion posts, journal entries, and class meetings.
Eman Ghanayem is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society for the Humanities and the Department of Comparative Literature. Prior to coming to Cornell, Ghanayem was the 2020-2021 Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She earned her Ph.D. in English, with minor degrees in American Indian Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies, from UIUC. Her research spans the areas of Indigenous studies, comparative ethnic studies, and transnational gender and women’s studies. Towards a global theory of belonging, and its confluences under colonial conditions, Ghanayem’s research addresses the relationship between natives, settlers, and refugees in both “new” and “old” world contexts. Her first book project, Nations without Nationalisms: On Palestinian and American Indian Literary Imaginations, argues that indigeneity, as expressed in American Indian and Palestinian literatures, offers a necessary critique of (settler) nationalism as a product of the colonial west, as well as represents an alternative form of homemaking that is land-oriented, relational, and can function without a state. Ghanayem authored a piece on Palestinian American Activist Rasmea Odeh in Women’s Studies Quarterly (2019) and co-edited a special issue in Transmotion titled “Native American Narratives in a Global Context” (2019). She is currently working on forthcoming publications in Amerasia and the Routledge Companion to Refugee Narratives. Ghanayem taught a wide range of courses in the Department of English at Birzeit University in the West Bank and the Departments of English, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
SHUM 4005/6005 Archaeology of Slavery and Indenture
(also ANTHR/ARKEO 4005/7005)
Fall. 4 credits.
Julia Jong Haines
This course offers a global survey of the archaeology of social inequality that demonstrates the historical and geographical range in forms of enslavement, captivity, and exploitative labor. Is there a universal definition of "slavery"? How did human exploitation vary through space and time? How does the archaeological record help us to understand the strategies did people use to survive? What are the legacies of slavery today? We will explore these questions by studying archaeological material culture and landscapes, bringing to the foreground the everyday lives and agency of such men, women, and children. Throughout the course we will consider the current politics of heritage, concerns of descendant communities, issues of citizenship, and engaging the public in the archaeology of slavery and indenture.
Dr. Julia Jong Haines is an anthropological and historical archaeologist whose research focuses on the intersection of inequality, community identities, and landscapes. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Virginia and recently completed a fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Comparative Archaeology. Her research examines the historical changes to the identities and political ecologies of enslaved and indentured plantation laborers and communities on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius from the 18th through the mid-20th century—a time when the island was besieged by sugar cane monocropping, deforestation, and village/urban development. In collaboration with Mauritian communities, local environmental and cultural resource managers, and researchers Dr. Haines also is dedicated to integrating archeological research into ongoing public history programs and supporting community-centered heritage projects. As a teacher, Dr. Haines engages students with digital methods, and the materials and landscapes of the past, particularly to broaden their understanding of the modern origins of power and inequality. She has taught a range of courses on the archaeology and anthropology of slavery and indenture, healing and disease, and gender and sexuality. In all her courses she emphasizes the politics of heritage and encourages students to confront the violent colonial roots of anthropology and archaeology, and grapple with contemporary ethical issues around conducting research. She has published articles on her research in the International Journal of Historical Archaeology, Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa, and Journal of African Diaspora archaeology and Heritage and is editing a volume on historical archaeology (U Florida Press)