The program, which will take place in Mexico City, gives students the opportunity study firsthand the dynamics of civilizational contact, exchange, and conflict in the Americas accompanied by Columbia faculty. Offering the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race’s existing course as a moveable classroom will be an exciting and enriching chance for students to visit sites of historical and architectural significance such as museums, libraries, and archives, and to meet local scholars and activists with NGOs. This intensive summer experience will allow students to consider the long-term effects of colonization and decolonization in a direct and impactful way.
Scholarships will be available to CC/GS/SEAS students and students are encouraged to apply regardless of their financial resources.
- Open to currently enrolled undergraduate students in Columbia College, General Studies, SEAS, Barnard in good academic standing
- Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
- CSER majors/concentrators and students majoring/concentrating in related fields.
- CSER majors and concentrators should have taken one other CSER course, preferably Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies. Non-CSER majors should have taken at least one course in a relevant topic.
- Students may be asked to interview with faculty as part of the selection process.
The course examines the processes of colonization and decolonization that define the making of a modern, integrated world (c. 1500 to the present) “Colonization” may refer to any process by which an entity transfers and establishes itself in an area of a different character. Human societies have migrated and colonized new areas throughout human history, at times to previously uninhabited areas and at times displacing or subordinating existing populations. Throughout human history colonization has meant the spread and exchange of plants, animals, diseases, and cultures, the development of trade networks and regimes of violence, and the construction and decline of empires. I
An intensive summer study-abroad program, the course is structured over to cover a semester of material over 4 weeks allowing time for study and preparation, as well as field trips.
The course is 4 points and will meet the requirement for CSER majors and concentrators, can be counted as a seminar in History and Anthropology, and will also fulfill a Global Core requirement for students in the College pending final approval from the curriculum committee.
Mexico City: Colonization/Decolonization: Syllabus
The course will be co-taught by Professor Claudio Lomnitz and Professor Manan Ahmed. Both professors will teach the entire course together, at both sites. Professor Lomnitz is one of the original authors of the course and has taught it many times.
Claudio Lomnitz is Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology, is a distinguished scholar of Mexico and Latin America. He received his PhD from Stanford in 1987 and taught at NYU, the University of Chicago, and the New School before joining the Columbia faculty in 2006. He is currently Director of the Center for Mexican Studies in the Institute for Latin American Studies, and a core faculty member of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, where he was director from 2006-2009. His research and writing focuses on the history, politics and culture of Latin America, and particularly of Mexico. He is author of Evolución de una sociedad rural (Mexico City, 1982); several books which deal with the history of public culture in Mexico, Exits from the Labyrinth: Culture and Ideology in Mexican National Space (California, 1992), Modernidad Indiana (Mexico City, 1999) and Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthropology of Nationalism (Minnesota, 2001). His book, Death and the Idea of Mexico (Zone Books, 2005), is a political and cultural history of death in Mexico from the 16th to the 21st centuries. His most recent book The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón (Zone Books, 2014) is about exile, ideology and revolution. He most recently taught Colonization-Decolonization in spring 2016 in Mexico City.
Manan Ahmed, Assistant Professor, is a dynamic and innovative scholar and teacher of South Asia whose interests range from the medieval period to the post-colonial. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2008. Professor Ahmed’s work on Islam’s arrival to Sindh in the 8th century traces the longue durée history of contestations among varied communities in South Asia. His areas of specialization include political and cultural history of Islam in South and Southeast Asia, frontier-spaces and the city in medieval South Asia, imperial and colonial historiography, and philology. He is involved in Digital Humanities projects - especially with visualizing space in medieval texts and texualizing medieval and early-modern maps. Ahmed is currently working on a study of the early 13th century account of Uch, Sind. Professor Ahmed is author of the forthcoming A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia (Harvard University Press, September 2016) and numerous articles, including “Advent of Islam in South Asia" in Roger Long, ed., History of Pakistan, (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2015); "Idols in the Archive." The Journal of Asian Studies, February, 2014; "A Demon With Ruby Eyes, " The Medieval History Journal, October, 2013.