Introduction to Native American Studies
This course is a general introduction to the field of Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS). The course will introduce students to the central questions and debates of NAIS, including but not limited to Indigenous hidden histories and oral histories; comparative indigeneities; questions of ‘discovery’ and colonialism; the politics and representations of lands, massacres, and museums; and questions of law, gender, and sexuality. It begins by asking students to consider the history of the field and weaves throughout questions about the complicated and contested terrain of the term Indigeneity. It ends with discussions about decolonizing research and Indigenous survivance and futures, thus preparing students to consider theories and methodologies they will encounter in more advanced courses for the NAIS minor. By the end of the semester, students will have gained both historical and ethnographic perspectives on how NAIS and other forms of representation help us to know and reproduce ourselves and ‘Others’; the different questions of historical trauma and survival that affect Indigenous communities today and how institutions continue to hold a significant role in constructing, controlling and circulating Indigenous cultural heritage and representations of the past. The course begins by recognizing and locating the history and continued presence of Native American Lenape people here in Mannahatta. It then uses this as a point of departure reaching beyond Native North America to the histories, politics, and experiences of Indigenous populations in an international and hemispheric context.