American Indian and Indigenous Studies

What can an American Indian and Indigenous Studies course do for you?

It can make you uniquely competitive as a multidisciplinary thinker.

 

FALL 2017 Course Roster

AIIS 1110 – INDIGENOUS NORTH AMERICA

Professor Paul Nadasdy | TuTh 1:25 - 2:40PM | AIIS 1100/ AMST 1600/ ANTHR 1700

This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the diverse cultures, histories and contemporary situations of the Indigenous peoples of North America. Students will also be introduced to important themes in the post-1492 engagement between Indigenous and settler populations in North America and will consider the various and complex ways in which that history affected - and continues to affect - American Indian peoples and societies. Course materials draw on the humanities, social sciences, and expressive arts.

Distribution Category (CA-AG, D-AG, HA-AG)

AIIS 1120 – SCIENCE MEETS SPIRIT: INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Professor Jane Mt. Pleasant | TuTh 8:40 - 9:55AM | AIIS/FWS 1120

Native peoples across the Western hemisphere use knowledge systems that differ fundamentally from those of Western science. Using traditional oral as well as written texts and contemporary writings by Native and non-Native scholars, we will examine the tensions and complementarities of these two knowledge systems. Using Iroquois knowledge systems in the northeast as a focal point, we will examine how they conceptualized their ecosystem and used it for agriculture, comparing it to resource management based on Western science. We will also explore how contemporary indigenous communities negotiate with non-Indian scientists, policy-makers, and legislators across boundaries that reflect very different ways of knowing. Through reading and writing activities, students will critically examine these issues and define their own views on what constitutes knowledge.

AIIS 1121 – ENVIRONMENTALISM: IMPERATIVE, INDIFFERENCE, OR IMPERIALIST?

Instructor: Samuel Bosco | TuTh 2:55 - 4:10PM | AIIS/ FWS 1121

What counts as part of the environment? What is worth protecting? What is natural? Who gets to answer these questions and whose answers matter? In this course you will encounter various forms of environmentalist discourse through the varied voices of anthropologists, ecologists, philosophers, and activists. Particularly, we will wrestle with how to understand the relationship between nature (or, “the environment”) and culture (or, “society”), and the political, economic, cultural, and developmental consequences of such conceptualizations, with attention to Indigenous-state relations. Reflection assignments and class discussions will sharpen our analysis and writing skills to critically examine the positions we engage with while larger position papers will mobilize these skills to sustain a more complex argument.

AIIS 2350 – ARCHAEOLOGY OF NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS

Professor Kurt Jordan | TuTh 2:55 - 4:10PM | AIIS/AMST 2350, ANTHR/ARKEO 2235

This introductory course surveys archaeology's contributions to the study of American Indian cultural diversity and change in North America north of Mexico. Lectures and readings will examine topics ranging from the debate over when the continent was first inhabited to present-day conflicts between Native Americans and archaeologists over excavation and the interpretation of the past. We will review important archaeological sites such as Chaco Canyon, Cahokia, Lamoka Lake, and the Little Bighorn battlefield. A principal focus will be on major transformations in lifeways such as the adoption of agriculture, the development of political-economic hierarchies, and the disruptions that accompanied the arrival of Europeans to the continent.

Distribution Category (CA-AG, D-AG, HA-AG)

AIIS 2350 – INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN INDIAN LITERATURE

Professor Carol Warrior | MoWe 2:55 - 4:10PM | AIIS/AMST/ENGL 2600

The production of North American Indigenous literatures began long before European colonization, and persists in a variety of printed, sung, carved, painted, written, spoken, and digital media. From oral traditions transmitted through memory and mnemonics to contemporary innovations, Native North American authorial techniques layer Indigenous perspectives on social, political, and environmental experience, through deft artistry and place-specific aesthetics. Our attention will focus on the relationships and contexts from which particular Native American literatures emerge, and ethical considerations associated with entering Indigenous territory, both figuratively and literally. In response to a selection of traditional stories, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and a graphic novel or two, we will examine how Native literatures voice scathing critiques of settler-colonial values and practices, and yet challenge, delight, and intrigue their readers.

Distribution Category (CA-AG, D-AG, LA-AG)

AIIS 3560 – THINKING FROM A DIFFERENT PLACE: INDIGENOUS PHILOSOPHIES

Professor Eric Cheyfitz | TuTh 10:10am - 11:25AM | AIIS/ENGL 3560, AMST 3562

Native and Western philosophies serve similar functions: they organize societies and construct those taken-for-granted truths we all operate from, but rarely examine. Even as such "truths" create ideas about how the world and universe work, these differences can be a source of conflict between people groups. In this class, we'll examine how Indigenous knowledge systems are formed and expressed, and what can be the result when people with conflicting knowledge systems interact with one another. Through readings, discussions, lectures, films, a guest presentation, group work, and other course assignments, we'll consider Indigenous North American knowledge systems and worldviews with a particular eye toward how these ideas are related to geographic space, social structure, culture, science, and contemporary global problems.

AIIS 4625 – CONTEMPORARY NATIVE AMERICAN FICTION

Professor Eric Cheyfitz | TuTh 1:25 - 2:40PM | AIIS/ENGL 3560, AMST 3562

If you haven't read contemporary U.S. American Indian fiction, then it might be fair to ask how much you know about the United States, its origins and its current condition. Since the 1960s, American Indians have been producing a significant body of award-wining novels and short stories. In 1969, for example, N. Scott Momaday, from the Kiowa nation, won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel House Made of Dawn and in 2012 Louise Erdrich, who is Anishinaabe, won the National Book Award for her novel, The Round House. In between these two notable moments we can list an impressive number of Native storytellers whose work is aesthetically powerful, offering us a narrative of the United States that counters the official history.

AIIS 4970/6970 – AMERICAN INDIAN AND INDIGENOUS STUDIES SPEAKER SERIES SEMINAR

Instructor: TBA

Graduate-level course that introduces students to ongoing research in the field of American Indian Studies in a proseminar/colloquium format. Advanced graduate students are expected to present their work in progress; all are expected to attend each seminar and provide presenters with critical and constructive commentary on papers.

AIIS 4970 INDEPENDENT STUDY

Professor Carol Warrior | Professor Jon Parmenter

The American Indian Program office must approve independent study forms. Students from all colleges must submit a CALS Special Studies form available online. Topic and credit hours TBA between faculty member and student.

AIIS 6970 INDEPENDENT STUDY

Professor Troy Richardson

A student may, with approval of a faculty advisor, study a problem or topic not covered in a regular course or may undertake tutorial study of an independent nature in an area of interest in American Indian and Indigenous Studies.

HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGY

Professor Kurt Jordan | TuTh 10:10AM - 11:25AM | ARKEO/ANTHR 3210, AMST 3200

This course uses artifacts, spaces, and texts to examine the emergence of the "modern world" in the 500-plus years since Columbus.  This is a distinctive sub-field of archaeology, not least because modern attitudes toward economic systems, race relations, and gender roles emerged during this period.  We will read classic and contemporary texts to unearth the physical histories of contemporary ideas, including coverage of the archaeologies of capitalism, colonialism, gender relations, the African diaspora, ethnogenesis, and conflicts over the use of the past in the present.

COLONIAL INTERSECTIONS: JEWS AND NATIVE AMERICANS

Professor Chad Uran & Professor Jonathan Boyarin | Mo 2:30 - 4:25PM | ANTHR 4745

The colonial expansion of Christian Europe continues to leave its mark on the world of the twenty-first century. Two of the peoples caught up in that colonial project, in very different ways, are Jews and Native Americans. Indeed, these two groups were often conflated in the colonial imagination, with Native Americans imagined as the “lost tribes,” and missionary rhetoric first aimed at Jews (and Muslims) being adapted for Native Americans. This course looks at the differing structural positions of Jews (the “other within” Christian Europe) and Native Americans (the “other without”). It also considers these peoples’ varying responses to colonialism, and their relations with each other, to ask how we can compare forms of difference while retaining the richness of their distinctive formations.

INDIGENOUS SPACES AND MATERIALITY 

Professor Jolene Rickard | We 10:10AM - 12:05PM | ARTH 4774/6774

Materials will be considered as willful agents within artistic processes across key moments in history by tracing the flow of wampum from the east coast, recognizing the shift from shell to glass during the fur trade up to the emergence of digital experimentation. The introduction of multiple modernities structures the shift from art historical framings of form over matter and connoisseurship to viewing materiality as an active process that continues to map larger social processes and transformation. Archives will be sites of investigation across varied Indigenous geographies marking place, space, bodies and land.

INDIGENOUS LITERARY CRITICISM AND THEORY 

Professor Carol Warrior | We 12:20 - 2:15PM | ENGL 6615/

How do Indigenous authors use form and content to resist the effects of colonization? How do aesthetic and intellectual heritages inform Indigenous literary and artistic works? What political and ethical considerations challenge scholars of Indigenous literatures? To answer these questions, this seminar will focus on a range of readings that critique colonialist representations of Indigenous peoples, and texts that illuminate Indigenous intellectual and philosophical traditions, as well as the growing field of Indigenous literary theory with its positions on sovereignty, nationhood, self-determination, decolonization, Indigenous feminisms, ecocriticism, and trans-Indigenism. Since such theories are often embedded in Indigenous creative works, the reading list will also include poetry, short fiction and film. Assignments will facilitate in-class discussion, and writing towards a conference paper or scholarly journal article.

WHAT'S COLONIAL ABOUT EARLY AMERICA?

Professor Jon Parmenter | MWF: 11:15-12:05 + discussion | HIST 2664

Many Americans envision the colonial period as a relatively quaint and benign time dominated by Pocahontas, the Pilgrims, and provinciality.  Pairing the term "colonial" with "America" also tends to render the nearly-three centuries between Europeans' arrival in the western hemisphere and the Declaration of Independence as the prehistory of the United States when in fact multiple colonial regimes existed in North America at any time prior to 1776.  This course investigates the rich, complex, and violent history of early America with the objective of a fresh appreciation of its "colonial" aspects – natural resource extraction, territorial expropriation and displacement of indigenous peoples, exploitation of enslaved labor, and the imposition of juridical authority over "settled" spaces – with an eye toward a better understanding of the larger patterns of domination (however incomplete) in which the emergent international state system and global capitalism creating imbalances of wealth and power that persist to this day.  In addition to exploration of familiar sites like the thirteen Anglo-American colonies, the course will venture into less well-known areas (including those outside contemporary national American boundaries) to enhance students' appreciation of the diversity of human in experience in early America via comparative analysis.

PAPERS OF EMPIRE: WRITING AND THE COLONIZATION OF AMERICA FROM COLUMBUS TO LEWIS AND CLARK

Professor Jon Parmenter | Time: TBA