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Fall 2018/Spring 2019

Fall 2018 Course Roster

AIIS 1100 –Indigenous North America

Professor Shawaano Chad Uran | TuTh 1:25PM-2:40PM | 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 2350 – Archeology of North American Indians

Professor Kurt Jordan | TuTh. 2:55PM-4:10PM | AMST 2350, ANTHR 2235, 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 3330 - Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Place-Based Ecological Knowledge

Professor Karim-Aly Kassam | TuTh: 8:40AM-9:55AM | NTRES 3330/6330, AMST 3330

Based on indigenous and place-based "ways of knowing," this course (1) presents a theoretical and humanistic framework from which to understand generation of ecological knowledge; (2) examines processes by which to engage indigenous and place-based knowledge of natural resources, the nonhuman environment, and human-environment interactions; and (3) reflects upon the relevance of this knowledge to climatic change, resource extraction, food sovereignty, medicinal plant biodiversity, and issues of sustainability and conservation.  The fundamental premise of this course is that human beings are embedded in their ecological systems.

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

AIIS 3560 - Thinking from a Different Place: Indigenous Philosophies

Professor Carol Warrior | TuTh: 10:10AM-11:25AM | 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 4300/6300 - Indigenous Peoples and De-colonial Philosophies

Professor Troy Richardson | Tue: 1:25PM-4:25PM

AIIS 4720/7720 - Archeology of Colonialism and Cultural Entanglement

Professor Kurt Jordan | MoWe: 2:55PM-4:10PM | AMST 4272/6272, ANTHR 4272/7272, ARKEO 4272/7272

This seminar uses archaeology to examine engagements between settlers and indigenous peoples throughout world history. Archaeology provides a perspective on settler-indigenous encounters that both supplements and challenges conventional models.  We will assess the strengths and weaknesses of various theories of cultural engagement, examine methodologies, and explore a series of archaeological case studies, using examples from both the ancient world and the European expansion over the past 600 years. The seminar provides a comparative perspective on indigenous-colonial relationships, in particular exploring the hard-fought spaces of relative autonomy created and sustained by indigenous peoples.

Distribution Category (CA-AG, HA-AG)      

AIIS 6010 - American Indian and Indigenous Studies Speaker Series (Seminar)

Professor Troy Richardson | Fr. 11:15AM-1:10PM

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 6970 – Independent Study in American Indian and Indigenous Studies


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 Studies.

Courses that are not cross-listed but may count towards AIIS Minor

ARTH 2255– Ecocriticism and Visual Culture

Professor Jolene Rickard

Indigenous Peoples and De-Colonial Philosophies explores the formulations of de-colonization from multiple intellectual trajectories - namely the Fanonian, Latin American and Settler Colonial Studies orientations. The course pays particular attention to some of the central tenants elaborated across these traditions that provide for the philosophies of de-colonizing, placing them in critical conversation with American Indian and Indigenous scholarship. It will examine the differences and commonalities within and across these philosophies for de-colonization, with particular attention to how they describe relations to land and the political, socio-cultural practices for animating de-colonial present(s) and futures.

FSAD 6415 - Anthropology of the Fashioned Body

Professor Denise Green | Tue 2:00PM-4:25PM

ANTHR 1200 - Ancient Peoples and Places

Professor John S. Henderson | TuTh: 11:40AM-12:55PM | ARKEO 1200

A broad introduction to archaeology-the study of material remains to answer questions about the human past. Case studies highlight the variability of ancient societies and illustrate the varied methods and interpretive frameworks archaeologists use to reconstruct them. This course can serve as a platform for both archaeology and anthropology undergraduate majors.

Distribution Category (HA-AS)

ANTHR 4216/6256 - Maya History

Professor John S. Henderson | Tu. 2:30PM-4:25PM | ARKEO 4216/6256, LATA 6256, LATA 4215

This course is an exploration of Maya understandings of their own history as it is reflected in ancient texts. We will begin by looking at episodes in Colonial and recent history to illustrate some of the ways Maya thinking about history may differ from more familiar genres. We will then review basic aspects of precolumbian Maya writing, but we will focus mainly on analyzing texts from one or more Classic period Maya cities.

Distribution Category (HA-AS)

ARTH 4162/6162 – The Inca Empire and its Colonial Legacies.

Professor Ananda Cohen-Aponte | Thur. 12:20PM-2:15PM | ARKEO 4162/61462, LATA 4162/6162

This course examines the art and architecture of the Inca Empire (ca. 1438-1532), the largest indigenous empire in the Americas prior to the Spanish conquest. The first half of the course explores architecture, monuments, and portable arts from Cuzco, the capital of the empire, as well as smaller coastal and highland cities, to understand the complexities of Inca imperial aesthetics and their role in the administration of nearly 10 million inhabitants along the Andes mountain chain of South America. The second half of the course examines artistic production in modern-day Peru, Bolivia, and Chile during the period of Spanish colonial rule (1532-1824). Special attention will be given to the visual codification of collective memories of the Incas during the post-conquest era.

ANTHR 2420 - Nature/Culture: Ethnographic Approaches to Human-Environment Relations

Professor Paul Nadasdy | TueThur 2:55PM-4:10PM | BSOC 2420

One of the most pressing questions of our time is how we should understand the relationship between nature (or “the environment”) and culture (or society) - and/or whether these should be viewed as separate domains at all.  How one answers this question has important implications for how we go about thinking and acting in such diverse social arenas as environmental politics, development, and indigenous-state relations.  This course serves as an introduction to the various ways anthropologists and other scholars have conceptualized the relationship between humans and the environment and considers the material and political consequences that flow from these conceptualizations. 

Spring 2019 Course Roster


Professor Karim-Aly Kassim | M/W 11:15AM-12:05 PM | AMST 1601

This course attends to the contemporary issues, contexts and experiences of Indigenous peoples. Students will develop a substantive understanding of colonialism and engage in the parallels and differences of its histories, forms, and effects on Indigenous peoples globally.  Contemporary Indigenous theorists, novelists, visual artists and historians have a prominent place in the course, highlighting social/environmental philosophies, critical responses to and forms of resistance toward neocolonial political and economic agendas and the fundamental concern for Indigenous self determination, among other topics.

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


Professor Jon Parmenter | M/W 9:05-9:55AM | HIST 2660, AMST 2660

One thing many Americans think they know is their Indians: Pocahontas, the First Thanksgiving, fighting cowboys, reservation poverty, and casino riches. Under our very noses, however, Native American history has evolved into one of the most exciting, dynamic, and contentious fields of inquiry into America’s past. It is now safer to assume, as Comanche historian Paul Chaat Smith has pointed out, that everything you know about Indians is in fact wrong. Most people have much to “unlearn” about Native American history before true learning can take place. This course aims to achieve that end by (re)introducing students to key themes and trends in the history of North America’s indigenous nations. Employing an issues-oriented approach, the course stresses the ongoing complexity of Native American societies’ engagements with varieties of settler colonialism since 1492 and dedicates itself to a concerted program of myth-busting. As such, the course will provide numerous opportunities for students to develop their critical thinking and reading skills. (HPE)

Distribution Category (HB, HA-AS)


Professor Jolene Rickard | Tu/Th 2:55PM–4:10PM | AMST 2108, ARTH 2101

Explore the links between sustainability, the environmental movement, gender equity and Indigenous cultures through specific "ingenuities" developed in connection with this land. Learn how an Indigenous-Haudenosaunee perspective traces the interconnectedness of “all living things” from ancient beginnings and sees local spaces as an integral part of being, body, and the future.


Professor Sarah Murray | Tu/Th 11:40AM–12:55PM | LING 2248/6248

This course explores the wide variety of languages indigenous to the Americas. There were thousands of languages spoken in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans and hundreds of these languages are still spoken today. We will look at several of these languages in terms of their linguistic structure as well as from social, historical, and political perspectives. No prior linguistic background is required and no previous knowledge of any Native American languages is presumed.


Professor Paul Nadasdy | Tu/Th 10:10AM-11:25AM | ANTRH 3422
Co-meets with AIIS 6422 /ANTHR 6422 .

This course examines the cultures and histories of the circumpolar North. The primary emphasis is on the North American Arctic and Subarctic with some attention to northern Eurasia for comparative purposes. The focus is on the indigenous peoples of the region and the socio-political and ecological dimensions of their evolving relationships with southern industrial societies.

Distribution Category (CA-AG, D-AG)


Professor Troy Richardson | W 1:25PM-4:25PM
Enrollment limited to: advanced undergraduates. Co-meets with AIIS 6000 . Course requirements differ at 4000 and 6000 levels.

An interdisciplinary survey of the literature in Native American Studies. Readings engage themes of indigeneity, coloniality, power, and “resistance.” The syllabus is formed from some “classic” and canonical works in Native American Studies but also requires an engagement with marginal writings and theoretical and historical contributions from scholars in other disciplines.


Professor Troy Richardson | M 1:25PM-4:25PM | AMST 4220, PHIL 4941
Recommended prerequisite: AIIS 1110  and AIIS 4000 /AIIS 6000 . Co-meets with AIIS 6200 /AMST 6220 /PHIL 6941 .

This course looks at the philosopher John Locke as a philosopher of dispossession. There is a uniquely Lockean mode of missionization, conception of mind and re-formulations of the ‘soul’ applied to dispossess Indigenous peoples of the social institutions, intellectual traditions and the material bases and practices which sustain(ed) them. While colonization is typically used as a kind of shorthand for this process, we will be attempting to stay focused on the specific dimensions of Lockean dispossession and its mutually informing relationship with English colonialism.


Staff | TBD

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.

Distribution Category (CU-UGR)


Staff | TBD

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.

Distribution Category (CU-UGR)

Courses that are not crosslisted but MAY count towards AIIS Minor:


Professor Shawaano Chad Uran | TBA

This course will introduce students to the politics, practices, aesthetics, and purposes of North American Indigenous music.  Students will learn about socio-historical contexts of colonization and sovereignty, and how they influence the production and reception of North American Indigenous musical expressions. Other topics of focus will include issues of representation, cultural property ownership, and ethical concerns.

ANTHR 4268/7268 - Aztecs and Their Empire: Myth, History, and Politics

Professor John Henderson | Th 12:20PM-2:15PM | ARKEO 4268, LATA 4269
Examines the structure and history of the largest polity in ancient Mexico, the "empire" of the Aztecs, using descriptions left by Spanish invaders, accounts written by Aztecs under Colonial rule, and archaeological evidence. Explores Aztec visions of the past, emphasizing the roles of myth, religion, and identity in Aztec statecraft and the construction of history

Courses that do not count toward the AIIS Minor:

ANTHR 1101 - From the Swampy Land: Indigenous People of the Ithaca Area

Professor Kurt Jordan |  TR 10:10-11:25

Who lived in the Ithaca area before American settlers and Cornell arrived?  Where are they today? This class explores the history and culture of the Cayuga people, who call themselves Gayogohó:no, or people from the mucky land. We will read perspectives written by the region's indigenous people about their past history and current events, try to understand reasons why that history has been fragmented and distorted by more recent settlers, and delve into primary sources documenting encounters between colonists and Cayuga people. We will also strive to understand the Cayuga people's ongoing connection to this region despite several centuries of forced exclusion. Writing assignments initially will respond to assigned readings, and build toward independent work that grapples with primary sources on Cayuga history.