Spring 2016

What can an American Indian Studies course do for you?

It can make you uniquely competitive as a multidisciplinary thinker.


AIS 1110 – Introduction to American Indian Studies II:
Indigenous Issues in Global Perspectives

Instructor: Prof. Karim-Aly Kassam, MoWe 11:15AM - 12:05PM, Cross listed: 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.

AIS 2100 – Indigenous Ingenuities as Living Networks
Instructor: Prof. Jolene Rickard, TuTh 2:55PM – 4:10PM, Cross listed: 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.
AIS 2240/ 6240– Native American Languages
Instructor: Prof. Sarah Murray, TuTh 11:40AM – 12:55PM, Cross listed: 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.

AIS 2400 – Indigenous Women’s Experiences
Instructor: Prof. Lisa Hall, Mo 1:25PM - 4:25PM

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

Instructor: Prof. Jon Parmenter, MoWeFr 9:05AM - 9:55AM, Cross listed: AMST 2660, HIST 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.
AIS 3560 – Thinking from a Different Place: Indigenous Philosophies
Instructor: Prof. Eric T. Cheyfitz, TuTh 10:10AM - 11:25AM, Cross listed: ENGL 3560, AMST 3562

The Western nation-state has failed to solve the two most pressing, indeed catastrophic, global problems: poverty and climate change. This failure is due to the inability of national policy to imagine a world beyond a boundary drawn by the formative capitalist ideas of property, production, and profit. The course will begin by discussing the historical origin and continuing force of these ideas while raising questions about their limits. It will look at a range of alternative ideas about how the world should work if we want to keep it socially, economically, and ecologically in balance. The alternatives we will query come from a range of Indigenous writers of fiction, poetry, and theory, who locate themselves in Native American (north and south), Aboriginal, and Maori communities.

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 4000/ 6000 – Critical Approaches to American Indian Studies: Intellectual History
Instructor: Prof. Troy Richardson, W 1:25PM-4:25PM

Critical Approaches to American Indian Studies is designed to engage the contemporary moment in American Indian/Indigenous Studies. It takes up three current issues/questions circulating in the broad field as they have been developed in the last decade – Indigenous epistemologies and knowledge production, political philosophy and tribal nation sovereignty and Indigenous research methodologies. Moreover, the course works to interrogate if and in what ways these overlapping discussions of Indigenous intellectuals constitutes a “decolonizing discourse” in higher education, research practices and/or the political imaginary. With these questions, the course provides multiple entry points for students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds to engage with and make contributions to the rich field of American Indian Studies. While there are no prerequisites, as an upper level course it assumes students bring some familiarity with the history of the field and some of the leading figures, movements and texts. Key authors include – Leanne Simpson, Dale Turner, Glen Coulthard, Linda Smith,  among others.

AIS 6670 –  The Construction of Indian Country in Law and Literature
Instructor: Prof. Eric T. Cheyfitz, Tu 2:30PM - 4:25PM, Cross listed: AMST 6670, ENGL 6670

This course analyzes the historical development of U.S. federal Indian law and its relation to American Indian literatures as a critical commentary on that law. As such, the course is generative for an understanding of (post)colonialism in the United States. We will study case law dealing with  issues in the ongoing history of federal Indian law, which include sovereignty; criminal and civil jurisdiction; religious, cultural, and civil rights; and the legal parameters of Indian identity. Along with the case law, we will read literary, political, historical, ethnographic texts that will help us understand the fundamental cultural and political conflicts between Indians and Europeans embedded in the law, between kinship-based societies sharing communal land, and a society based in the twin structures of individualism and property.

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 courses that count towards the AIS minor:

ANTHR 2045 – American Indian Music in Context
Instructor: Prof. Chad Uran, MWF 9:05-9:55AM

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.

ENGL 2605 –  Cannibals, Vampires, Colonizers and Other Fearsome Figures in Native American Literature
Instructor: Prof. Carol Warrior, MWF 10:10-11AM

Native American depictions of human interactions with frightening beings can help readers appreciate Indigenous perspectives and experiences. That is, when contemporary Indigenous writers repurpose features of gothic, fantasy, sci-fi, or environmentalist fiction, their reimagined insatiable antagonists are almost universally formed as critical representations of colonialism, while monstrosity emerges from transgressions against Indigenous values and relationships. In reading for this course, we'll examine Indigenous depictions of voracious beings, the relationships these fearsome figures attempt to disrupt, and the means by which protagonists fight their demons. Through the lens of critical Indigenous theory and a sampling of short stories, novels, ethnographies, historical readings, and films, this course will examine how Native American authors continue a long-established practice of balancing relationships through storytelling and story-writing.

HIST 4662 – Treaties and Indigenous Rights in North American History
Instructor: Prof. Jon Parmenter, M 10:10-12:05PM

Treaties between settler governments and indigenous nations rest at the heart of North American history.  These agreements provided the nations of the United States and Canada the vast majority of the land and resources they enjoy today and recognize the nationhood of indigenous tribes, but few Americans or Canadians know anything about them.  This course explores the diplomacy, promises, and betrayals involved in treaties and treaty-making over two hundred years of continental history.  Students will read treaty documents, engage in case studies, and examine the most up-to-date historical and legal scholarship to learn about how ideas of honor, fair dealings, good faith, the rule of law, and peaceful relations among nations have been established and challenged in historical and contemporary times.


Spring 2016 Add Begins:



  January 19, 2016



  January 20, 2016



  January 21, 2016



  January 22, 2016