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American Indian Studies Courses: Fall 2012/Spring 2013

FALL 2012 Course Roster

AIS 1100 Introduction to American Indian Studies I: Indigenous North America to 1890

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 FWS 1121 Seeing Red: American Indian (Mis)Representations

What images come to mind when you think of American Indians? Do these images come from history lessons, movies and TV, personal experience? This course will address historic and contemporary (mis)representations of Indians in a variety of media. Through films, photographs, comic books, advertising, and literature including works by prominent Native writers and scholars, the class will consider a range of issues including ethics, power, authenticity and identity, and the tension between self-representation and representation by non-Natives. Assignments will include informal and formal writing assignments such as journaling, visual analysis, argument, and synthesis. Ample time will be devoted to in-class workshops in which students will explore various modes of writing and pre-writing, review and edit each others’ drafts, and address questions about the writing process.


AIS 2390 Seminar in Iroquois History

This 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. Adopting an interdisciplinary perspective, students will be exposed to a variety of methodologies and approaches to reconstructing the Iroquois past. Readings and discussions will be drawn from a range of sources, with special emphasis on historical documents. In addition to these texts, we will read traditional narratives, archaeological reports, ethnography, contemporary Iroquois literature, online resources, and museum exhibits of material culture.


AIS 3330 / NRES 3330 Indigenous and Local Ecological Knowledge

Based on indigenous and local “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 local knowledge of natural resources, the non-human environment, and the human –environment interactions; and (3) reflects upon the relevance of this knowledge to climatic change, resource extraction, food sovereignty, and issues of sustainability and conversation.


AIS 4720 Historical Archaeology of Indigenous Peoples

This seminar uses archaeology to examine the responses of nonstate indigenous peoples across the world to European expansion and colonialism over the past 500 years. Archaeology provides a perspective on indigenous lives that both supplements and challenges document-based histories. We will assess the strengths and weaknesses of various theories of culture contact, and explore a series of archaeological case studies, using examples primarily from North America with lesser emphasis on Africa and the Pacific. 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.


AIS 4970 Independent Study

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


AIS 6010 American Indian Studies Pro-seminar

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.


AIS 7720 Historical Archaeology of Indigenous Peoples

This seminar uses archaeology to examine the responses of nonstate indigenous peoples across the world to European expansion and colonialism over the past 500 years. Archaeology provides a perspective on indigenous lives that both supplements and challenges document-based histories. We will assess the strengths and weaknesses of various theories of culture contact, and explore a series of archaeological case studies, using examples primarily from North America with lesser emphasis on Africa and the Pacific. 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.


SPRING 2013 Course Roster

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

Instructor: Prof. Troy Richardson
MW   11:15am-12:05pm

Interdisciplinary exploration of contemporary issues in American Indian country north of Mexico after 1890. Examines Indian sovereignty, nationhood, agency, and engagement through time using the perspective of American Indian studies. Course materials are drawn from the humanities, social science, and expressive arts. 


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

Instructor: Prof. Jon Parmenter
MWF      12:20-2:15pm

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 6000   Critical Approaches to American Indian Studies

Instructor: Prof. Jolene Rickard
T 1:25-4:25

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. 


ENG  4670 Contemporary U.S. American Indian Poetry

Instructor: Prof. Eric Cheyfitz
R 12:20-2:15

In the United States, contemporary American Indian poetry is exemplary for its combination of formal innovation and acute social vision, the result in part of Indian peoples having resisted and survived an historic genocide. Locating this poetry in the vital energy of distinctive cultural contexts, while understanding it as well as part of the ongoing history of Indian/European conflict in the Americas, this course will analyze the work of Native poets from a list that includes: Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur D’Alene), Santee Frazier (Cherokee), Diane Glancy (Cherokee), Joy Harjo (Muscogee), Linda Hogan (Chickasaw), Adrian C. Louis (Lovelock Paiute), Simon Ortiz (Acoma), Wendy Rose (Hopi/Miwok), Luci Tapahonso (DinĂ©), James Welch (Blackfeet), and Orlando White (DinĂ©).


AIS 6970   Independent Study

Instructor: Staff