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American Indian Studies Courses: Fall 2007/Spring 2008

FALL 2007 Course Offering

AIS 100: Introduction to American Indian Studies I:  Indigenous North America to 1890

Instructor: Prof. Eric Cheyfitz | TR: 1:25-2:40

This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the cultures and histories of American Indian Nations north of Mexico to 1890.  Lectures and discussion sections begin with a survey of the Pre-Columbian Indian occupation of North America, and then examine the political, economic, cultural, legal, and demographic consequences of European and American colonialism.  The course will emphasize the contemporary relevance of traditional values, as well as the ways in which the deep past continues to affect the present and future of Indian peoples.  Course materials will address Indian histories and cultures from a variety of perspectives, including those of the humanities, social sciences, and expressive arts.

AIS 230: Cultures of Native North America

Instructor: Prof. B. Lambert | MWF : 1:25- 2:15

A survey of the principal Inuit and American Indian culture areas north of Mexico. Selected cultures will be examined to bring out distinctive features of the economy, social organization, religion, and worldview.  Although the course concentrates on traditional cultures, some lectures and readings deal with changes in native ways of life that have occurred during the period of European-Indian contact.

AIS 239: Seminar in Iroquois History

Instructor: Prof. Jon Parmenter | TR :2:55-4:10

This interdisciplinary seminar explores the history and culture of Iroquois people from ancient times, through their initial contacts with European settlers, to their present-day struggles and achievements under colonial circumstances in North America.

AIS 353: Anthropology of Colonialism

Instructor: Prof. Audra Simpson | MWF: 11:15-12:05

This course examines the relationship between colonialism and anthropology and the ways in which the discipline has engaged this global process locally in North   America.  One of our aims in this course is to gain an appreciation of colonialism both as a theory of political legitimacy and as a set of governmental practices. As such, we will re-imagine North America in light of the colonial project and its technologies of rules such as education, law, policy that worked to transform indigenous notions of gender, property and territory.  We will do so in order to appreciate the ways in which these forms of knowledge and practice advanced the settlement of space and place and both settled and unsettled peoples. This course will be comparative in scope but will be grounded within the literature from Native North America.

AIS 400/600: Critical Approaches to American Indian Studies

Instructor: Prof. Audra Simpson | T: 1:25-4:25

This course is an interdisciplinary survey of the literature in Native American Studies. Readings for this course engage themes of indigeneity, coloniality, power and “resistance”. The syllabus is formed from some of the “classic” and canonical works in Native American Studies such as Custer Died for Your Sins but will also require an engagement with less canonical works such as the Red Man’s Appeal to Justice” as well as theoretical and historical contributions from scholars that work outside of Native American Studies. This course is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates.

AIS 497: Independent Study


AIS 601: American Indian Pro-Seminar


AIS 635: Indigenous Globalization

Instructor: Prof. Angela Gonazales | W: 10:10-1:10

This course will examine issues of globalization and how they affect indigenous people worldwide. The processes of globalization, whether under the auspices of the World Trade Organization and regional economic agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement or the territorialization of social and political arrangement co-temporal with modernization, have had profound social, cultural and economic impacts upon indigenous peoples. At issue are the lands, resources, traditional knowledge, cultural property and tribal sovereignty of indigenous peoples. In this course we will examine the multifarious and complex issues of impact of globalization on the world’s indigenous peoples; issues of cultural ‘property’ such as songs and stories of Native artists; intellectual property such as plant medicines; the question of treaties and water rights; and whether and to what extent civil society can truly include and address the interests of indigenous peoples.

SPRING 2008 Course Offering

AIS 1110: Introduction to American Indian Studies II Contemporary Issues in Indigenous North America

Instructor: Prof. Troy Richardson | MW: 11:15–12:05

This course provides an interdisciplinary focus upon issues in contemporary American Indian communities. Lectures and discussion sections will survey key moments in policy and law that (1) created the conditions for American and Canadian settlement; (2) reformulated traditional Indian governance and culture; and (3) created the dynamic interplay between American Indian Peoples and Nations with each other and with the state. This course will emphasize Indian sovereignty, nationhood, agency, and conditions of entanglement that formulated strategies of not only of American and Canadian settlement, but also resistance, dignity and autonomy for contemporary American Indian Peoples and Nations. Course materials will be drawn from the humanities, social science and expressive arts.

AIS 235: Archaeology of North American Indians

Instructor: Prof. Kurt Jordan | MWF: 2:30–3:20

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 life ways such as the adoption of agriculture, the development of political-economic hierarchies, and the disruptions that accompanied the arrival of Europeans to the continent.

AIS 236: Native Peoples of the NE

Instructor: Prof. Jon Parmenter | TR: 2:55- 4:10

An examination of the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of northeastern North America from ancient times through the era of contact with Europeans to the present day. Emphasis on interdisciplinary analysis of a diverse range of sources and on the dramatic transformations and adaptations undertaken by Native peoples which have contributed to their survival to the present day.

AIS 266: Introduction to Native American History

Instructor: Prof.  Jon Parmenter | MWF: 9:05–9:55

With the abandonment of earlier perspectives grounded in romantic and evolutionary stereotypes, Native American history is currently one of the most exciting, dynamic, and contentious fields of inquiry into America's past. This course introduces students to the key themes and trends in the history of North America's indigenous peoples by taking an issues-oriented approach. We will cover material ranging from the debate over the Native American population at the time of first European contact to contemporary social and political struggles over casino gambling and land claims. The course stresses the ongoing complexity and change in Native American societies and will emphasize the theme of Native peoples' creative adaptations to historical change.

AIS 340: Contested Terrain: Hawaii (Not offered on Cornell University Campus)

MWF 11:15–12:05A

This course draws from the fields of history, political science, and sociology to present an historical understanding of contemporary Hawaiian society. Topics include Western contact, establishment of Western institutions, overthrow of a sovereign government, annexation, integration into the United States. Direct experience with Hawaiian leaders and institutions are incorporated to address contemporary issues: sovereignty, economic development/dependency, social change, and land use as a sociopolitical and cultural struggle.

AIS 364: Politics of Nations Within

Instructor: Prof.  B. Hendrix | TR: 10:10–11:25AM

This political theory course will consider the political status of Native Americans in the United States, as well as the status of indigenous peoples in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. We will begin with brief overviews of native peoples in the countries considered, with special attention to the history of their interactions with the states that now rule them, and their contemporary legal status. The course will consider the ideologies used to justify conquests and displacements by European colonists, particularly as illustrated in historical works of political theory and key court cases. The latter half of the course will consider the possible futures of these “nations within” by considering normative arguments about assimilation, cultural rights, treaty federalism, and full sovereign statehood. (PH)

AIS 460: Field & Analytical Arkeo Methods

Instructor: Prof. Kurt Jordan | TR: 10:10–11:25 AM

This course uses historic-period American Indian sites in the Finger Lakes region to provide hands –on instruction in archaeological field, laboratory, and analytical methods. Students will analyze museum artifacts and engage in field survey and excavation. Readings treat field and laboratory methodology, research design, culture history, and material culture typologies.

AIS 497: Independent Study

Topic and credit hours to be mutually arranged between faculty and student. Independent Study Forms must be approved by American Indian Program Office.

AIS 671: Law and Literature

Instructor: Prof.  Eric Cheyfitz

As an example of the interdisciplinary action between law and literature, this course will focus on the relationship from the nineteenth century to the present between federal Indian law and American Indian literatures. The course will engage such topics as the limits of western law, the idea of postcoloniality, sovereignty and nation state, the Native critique of U.S. imperialism, and the question of interdisciplinarity itself. The readings will come from federal Indian case and statute law and native literatures, including among others the work of William Apress, Zitkala-Sa, Mourning Dove, D’Arcy McNickle, Wendy Rose, Gerald Vizenor, Simon Ortiz, Linda Hogan, and Leslie, Marmon Sikko.

AIS 697: Individual Study in American Indian

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