Course Offerings

Summer 2020 NAIS Course Offering

ANTH0249 Re-Learning Native America: Popular Imagination Versus Diverse Realities​

  • Alexandra Peck, T, W, TH 3:30PM - 6:10PM (Meeting times/dates subject to change for Zoom availability), June 22, 2020 - August 07, 2020

  • In the US, Native individuals are consigned to the past, portrayed as existing in nature, or used to promote Halloween trends. But, what do we actually know about the 562 tribes who call Turtle Island home? This virtual course explores Native America, as represented in popular culture, by comparing fantasy to real 21st century Native experiences. Engaging with subversive literature and radical thinkers, we will confront media depictions, historical documents, and political legislation related to tribal life. Topics compare modern tribal issues (such as MMIW, Standing Rock, NAGPRA) to how Native America is imagined by majority culture. Rooted in anthropology, our syllabus (consisting of Indigenous sources) reveals the nuances of tribal nations and how they resist generalizations of what it means to be Native. Weekly themes include: museums, cinema, gender, DNA, etc. Combining academic texts, guest speakers, and virtual fieldtrips, we combat assumptions and learn about diverse tribes. Students will attend classes, productively contribute to classroom discussions, ask constructive questions, complete assignments in a prompt manner, and attend weekly guest speaker lectures or field trips.

Fall 2020 NAIS Course Offerings

More course offerings for Fall 2020 will be uploaded over the summer, so check back in then!

ANTH 1901 Anthropology in/of the Museum

  • Robert Preucel, F 3:00PM-5:30PM

  • This course provides an introduction to museums from an anthropological perspective. Topics include politics of representation and the construction of the “Other”; objects, identity, and meaning; collecting and cultural property; and collaboration, community engagement, and indigenous self-representation. Assignments involve work with the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology’s exhibitions and collections. The course focuses on museums dedicated to natural and cultural history, but establishes theoretical and practical grounding for thinking about and working in other disciplines and other kinds of display institutions. It is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students. There are no prerequisites; but familiarity with anthropology is presumed.

ETHN 1200B Contemporary Indigenous Education in North America

  • Adrienne Keene, W 3:00PM - 5:30PM

  • In the past, formalized schooling in Indigenous communities was a tool of colonization and cultural genocide, forcing Native peoples to assimilate to western norms, values, and knowledge. However, contemporary Indigenous communities have managed to reclaim and reshape education for Native youth, utilizing innovative methods and technologies, as well as drawing upon generations of traditional and indigenous knowledges to create environments that promote academic achievement alongside culture. In this course we will focus on the ways Native communities are asserting their educational sovereignty, through culturally-relevant/responsive curriculums, language immersion schools, indigenous charter schools, traditional ecological and scientific knowledges, and more.

DEVL 1874 Development's Visual Imaginaries: Still and Moving Images That Shaped the Field

  • Geri Augusto, day and time TBA

  • A junior seminar in Development Studies exploring the visual imaginaries that were created and circulated between 18th and early 20th centuries  in the colonial and later independent Americas, which underpinned the most prominent 19th century and early 20th-century development theories, and shaped public perception regarding the resultant policies.  Think Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny, Removal and Allotment, Black Codes,  Reconstruction and Lost Cause, Exclusion and National Origin Acts, all the way to Truman’s inauguration of “aid to underdeveloped countries,” and the notions of progress, modernity, production, land use, technology, nature, sovereignty,  and hierarchies of the human which underlay all these. (The course will argue whether or not the two sets of policies—at home and abroad--drew from similar ideas and practices.) We will juxtapose to the USA instances some development policies constructed in Brazil--a similarly large, racially and ethnically diverse American society founded on appropriation of indigenous lands, colonization and slavery, and notions of limitless expansion--as well as some utilized by multilateral development projects in Southern Africa. Visuals include paintings, advertisements, brochures, films and early television shows. Experiential sessions in collaboration with John Hay library. Registrants from other concentrations welcome. DIAP and WRIT-designated

Spring 2020 NAIS Course Offerings

AMST 2220J Introduction to Critical Race Theory

  • Adrienne Keene, W 3-5:30pm

  • This graduate seminar will explore the foundations and central tenets of Critical Race Theory, from its origins in Critical Legal Studies, to current applications, debates, and evolutions, with particular attention to CRT’s intersections with the field of American Studies. We will also bring in CRT “offshoots” such as TribalCrit, LatCrit, AsianCrit, and DisCrit. CRT posits that racism is endemic to society, but that we must also remain committed to social justice and praxis. How do we navigate these tensions, use CRT to provide a toolkit for navigating scholarship, and work toward social change in the realms of race and racism?

ANTH 2520 Mesoamerican Archaeology and Ethnohistory

  • Stephen Houston, Th 4-6:30pm

  • Seminar focusing on current issues in the archaeology and history of Mesoamerica, including Mexico and Northern Central America. Draws on rich resources at Brown, including the John Carter Brown Library.

DEVL 1874, Development's Visual Imaginaries: Still and Moving Images That Shaped the Field

  • Geri Augusto, W 3-5:30pm 

  • A junior seminar in Development Studies exploring the visual imaginaries that were created and circulated between 18th and early 20th centuries  in the colonial and later independent Americas, which underpinned the most prominent 19th century and early 20th-century development theories, and shaped public perception regarding the resultant policies generated particularly in the United States. (The course will argue that, in actual fact, these two sets of policies—at home and abroad--often drew from the same set of  ideas about hierarchies and categories of human beings; land-use, relations among humans, other living beings, and inanimate features;  work and livelihoods; gender, race, capacity for self-definition and political self-representation, who should wield power, and so on.) The course will juxtapose to the USA instances some development policies constructed in Brazil--a similarly large, racially and ethnically diverse American society founded on appropriation of indigenous lands, colonization and slavery, and notions of limitless expansion--as well as some utilized by multilateral development projects in Southern Africa. Visuals include paintings, advertisements, brochures, films and early television shows. Experiential sessions in collaboration with John Hay library. DIAP and WRIT-designated

ETHN 1750X: Native American Language Loss, Revitalization, and Resiliency

  • Nitana Hicks Greendeer​, TTh, 2:30-3:50

  • This class examines the issues of Native languages, primarily in the United States. The course will study the variety of languages in North America, the factors that have negatively affected the strength and use of native languages in many tribes, the impact of such loss on communities, and the ways in which those communities have worked hard to maintain, revitalize, or reclaim their languages.

HISP 1330X The Nature of Conquest: Scientific Literatures of the Americas

  • Iris Montero, MWF 1-1:50pm

  • Throughout history, conquest and colonization have implied different kinds of appropriations: control over new lands, new bodies, new languages. With the appropriation of new languages came the confrontation between different ways of organizing the world and, in particular, alternative ways of understanding humankind's relationship to nature. This course explores the scientific literatures that emerged in the wake of Spanish conquest and colonization of the Americas (1500-1800). These hybrid scientific literatures, written in Spanish but also in Nahuatl, Maya, Quechua and graphic forms, illustrate the lasting cross-pollination between Old and New World notions about American nature.

HIST 0233 Colonial Latin America

  • Jeremy R. Mumford, TTh 10:30-11:50am

  • Colonial Latin America, from Columbus's voyage in 1492 to Independence in the nineteenth century, was the creation of three peoples: Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans. Spanish and Portuguese conquerors brought with them the world of the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Renaissance. Native Americans lived there already, in rich empires and hunter-gatherer bands. Africans came as slaves from Senegal, Nigeria, Congo and Angola, bringing old traditions and creating new ones. These diverse peoples blended together to form a new people. This was a place of violence, slavery and oppression -- but also of art, faith, new societies, new ideas.

POLS 0920B Introduction to Indigenous Politics with Pacific Islander Focus

  • Mary Tuti Baker, T 4-6:30pm

  • This introductory course in Indigenous political thought engages with critical Indigenous thinkers in order to understand Indigenous political praxis, resurgence and decolonization. Because Indigenous study is place-based and kinship relationships to land and all existents of that land are fundamental to understanding Indigenous political thought, Indigenous politics must be studied in the context of particular indigenous peoples. To that end this course focuses on political movements of contemporary Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian). In addition to developing a fuller understanding of Indigenous political thought, this class also explores what it means to move beyond colonial relationships with the State.

RELS 02060: Religion Gone Wild: Spirituality and the Environment

  • Mark Cladis, TTh 1-2:20pm

  • A study of the dynamic relation between religion and nature. Religion, in this course, includes forms of spirituality within and outside the bounds of conventional religious traditions (for example, Buddhism and Christianity, on the one hand; ecofeminism and nature writing on the other). Topics in this study of religion, philosophy, and ecology will include environmental justice, environmental degradation, and depictions of humans in relation to the natural world. Of special interest is North American and Australian indigenous spiritual/cultural perspectives on the nexus between the human and the more-than-human. Enrollment limited to 20.

RELS 1610 Sacred Sites: Law, Politics, and Religion

  • Nathaniel Berman, T 4-6:30pm

  • Sacred sites have long been flashpoints for inter-communal conflict the world over, as well as posing challenges to sovereign State authority. Such sites range from natural landscapes to architectural masterpieces. They often come to symbolize the perennial clash between the religious and the secular, the sacred and the political, tradition and modernity. We will discuss a diverse array of specific disputes and ask whether one may even speak of “sacred sites” cross-culturally. Can legal frameworks embrace different notions of the sacred? We will also examine the historical contexts that provoke such disputes, particularly the aftermath of colonialism.