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- SHUM 4673/6673 The Kinship of Repair: Asian and Asian American Artists in Collaboration
- SHUM 4674/6674 Dispossession, Truth, and Reconciliation
- SHUM 4675/6675 Pandemics Past and Pending
- SHUM 4676/6676 Lyric Interventions: Illness Narratives and the Aesthetics of Repair
- Humanities Scholars Program Courses
- SHUM 2750 Introduction to Humanities
- SHUM 4750 Senior Capstone Seminar
Fall 2022 Course Offerings
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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.
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.
SHUM 4675/6675 Pandemics Past and Pending
(also ANTHR 4472/7472, FGSS 4675/6675, STS 4675/6675)
Fall. 3 credits.
History of medicine and medical anthropology have shown that 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. Ebola in Liberia, for instance, pushes historian Gregg Mitman to recognize that a contemporary illness is traced to American corporate exploitation in Africa’s first free Black republic. The spread of cholera in New York City in the 1830s, for instance, was exacerbated by the reliance of water distribution upon a private company and a direct outcome from colonial trade routes from British India, following the work of journalist Sonia Shah. The attempt to stop cholera in the Philippines during the American occupation led to more people dying from the American public health initiative instead of the disease itself, following historian Warwick Anderson.
Inspired by Jill Lepore’s podcast The Last Archive that takes historical case studies to engage the public about ideas of evidence, fact, and truth, students in this class will use sound materials archived at the Echols Collection and elsewhere at Cornell to narrate and enliven stories of the social impacts of health interventions against pandemics and epidemics. It will also examine contemporary One Health and One Welfare rhetoric that anticipates another pandemic. The course culminates with the production of a digital story on ArcGIS StoryMaps that shares the class title: Pandemics Past and Pending.
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.
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.