Study firsthand the dynamics of civilizational contact, exchange, and conflict in the the Americas with Columbia faculty. This intensive summer experience will allow students to consider the long-term effects of colonization and decolonization in a direct and impactful way by visiting sites of historical and architectural significance in Mexico City and the region, while studying core disciplinary texts in the classroom.
- Take a required course for the major or concentration in the Study of Ethnicity and Race in 4 weeks
- Enhance your reading of core disciplinary texts with related field trips and lectures by intellectuals in Mexico
- Live in one of the world's most exciting and historic cities with your Columbia peers
- Earn 4 points of Columbia credit
- The course can be counted as a seminar in History and Anthropology, and will also fulfill a Global Core requirement
Eligibility and Application
- Must be a currently enrolled student in Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, the School of General Studies, or Barnard College
- All students must meet the basic requirements for studying abroad: a 3.0 cumulative GPA and good academic and disciplinary standing in their home school
- Preference given to CSER majors/concentrators and students with a demonstrated interest in the topic
HOW TO APPLY
Want to apply? Click the “Start Your Application” button above. If the button doesn't appear above, the program is not yet accepting applications. You will be asked to set up a short profile, which will allow us to send you relevant information about your application. Once you’ve created a profile, you will see a checklist of items that you will need to submit. These generally include:
- Application questionnaire(s)
- Personal Statement
- Letter(s) of recommendation
- Official transcript(s)
NOTE: This program may include an interview process for admission.
Note: The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.
CSER W3928: Colonization and Decolonization in the Making of the Modern World. 4 points
This undergraduate seminar 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 (plant, animal, human society) 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 adjoining, displacing or subordinating existing populations. Throughout human history colonization has meant the spread and exchange of cultures, the development of trade networks, war, and the construction and decline of empires.
In this course we focus on the spread of European influence and hegemony throughout the world from the age of discovery in the late fifteenth and sixteenth century to the era of decolonization after World War II and postcolonial realities of the present. We are interested in the processes and contents of social and cultural contact and exchange, the development of knowledge, and how they shape relations of power; the place of colonialism in the development of western capitalism; and the elements of colonial power and resistance, including ideologies of liberal political philosophy, social Darwinism, and nationalism. We will think about how ideas about civilization, religion, self and other, and freedom have evolved over time and shaped the making of the modern world. Class is held as a discussion seminar based on close reading of the primary-source documents.
Classes are held Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 11 am-1 pm. Additonally, there will be several afternoon and some Friday excursions.
Life in Mexico City
For the inaugural year of the program, students will be housed together in a hostel in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City.
No meals are included and there is no meal plan. However, there are grocery stores and markets in the area of the hostel. The neighborhoods of La Condesa and La Roma have many inexpensive restaurants for casual dining.
There are several online guides that give information about where to eat in Mexico City. We recommend taking the time to do some research beforehand if you are unsure about what to expect.
You are encouraged to spend time outside of class exploring the city and visiting the many historical and artistic sites.
Daily Living and Schedule
Classes take place at Columbia's host institution in Mexico City, the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), which is located about 40 minutes from La Condesa by car (with no traffic). You are encouraged to take the free bus that leaves La Condesa at 7 am, though you may decide to share an Uber with friends and go closer to the beginning of class.
Most class activities will be on class days and some Fridays. Other days are left free for you to explore independently.
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.
Program Fee Summer 2017: $6000
Includes tuition, housing, course-required excursions.
Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses for Program Duration: $1955
Please note that out-of-pocket expenses are estimates and will vary considerably by student.
FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOLARSHIPS
If you are on financial aid, check to see if it can be applied to studying abroad. In general summer financial aid is not available to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering students, but may be available to School of General Studies students. Non-Columbia students should check with their home schools for funding availability.
Funding Your Summer in Mexico City
For general information and resources on financing your time abroad, please see the pages below: