Fall 2014/ Spring 2015

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Instructor: Prof. Karim-Aly Kassam​
MoWe 11:15AM - 12:05PM

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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.

AIS 2100 – Indigenous Ingenuities as Living Networks

Instructor: Prof. Jolene Rickard and Prof. Kurt Jordan
TuTh 2:55PM – 4:10PM

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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.

AIS 2240 or AIS 6240– Native American Languages

Instructor: Prof. Sarah Murray
MoWe 2:55PM – 4:10PM

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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.

AIS 2400 - Indigenous Women's Experiences

Instructor: Prof. Lisa Hall
Mo 1:25PM - 4:25PM

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This course explores a wide variety of issues faced by indigenous women in the US. Readings primarily focus on American Indian and Native Hawaiian issues but students are welcome to incorporate other indigenous groups in their class presentations and/or final papers if desired. Issues to be discussed include the gendered and sexual nature of colonialism, colonialism and sexual violence, bio-colonialism, legal and community-based identities, and cultural resistance and creativity.

AIS 2600 - Introduction to American Indian Literatures in the United States

Instructor: Prof. Eric Cheyfitz
TuTh  11:40AM - 12:55PM

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The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to U.S. American Indian literatures, both oral and written. The method of studying these literatures will emphasize historical, legal, and cultural contexts as well as current critical debates over methodological approaches. In addition to examples of the oral tradition transcribed in writing, we will study a variety of written genres from their beginnings in the late eighteenth-century including autobiography, the essay, poetry, and fiction. We will begin the course by reading two translations from the oral tradition: Paul Radin's translation/compilation of Winnebago trickster narratives, and Paul Zolbrod's translation of the Diné Bahane´: The Navajo Creation Story. After that we will read a range of Native authors from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

AIS 2660 - Everything You Know About Indians is Wrong: Unlearning Native American History

Instructor: Prof. Jon Parmenter
MoWeFr 9:05AM - 9:55AM

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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.

AIS 3422 or  AIS 6422– Culture, Politics, and Environment in the Circumpolar North

Instructor: Prof. Paul Nadasdy
TuTh 10:10AM – 11:25AM

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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.

AIS 3400 - Contested Terrain: Hawaii

Instructor: Prof. M. Hamabata and Prof. A. Moore
Prerequisite: introductory or intermediate-level social sciences or history. Enrollment limited to: students in Hawaii. Offered in Hawaii.

This course, offered through Earth and Atmospheric Sciences' program in Hawaii, 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, and 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. Students should consult www.eas.cornell.edu/cals/eas/academics regarding the status of this course.

AIS 4970 - Independent Study

Instructor: Staff

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.

AIS 6970 - Independent Study in American Indian Studies

Instructor: Staff

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.

Additional course to count towards AIS minor:


ANTHR 4216/6256 – Maya History

Instructor: Prof. John Henderson
Tue 10:10am – 12:05pm

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.