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Native American & Indigenous Studies Courses

New NAIS Minor

In May of 2014, the School of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee and Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania approved a new inter-disciplinary Minor in the field of Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS). Minors at Penn are intended to: enable students to develop knowledges and skills that can complement their major; pursue additional fields of in-depth study beyond the major; express themselves in a different discipline; explore an emerging intellectual field; gain experience in applying specific methods and theories; and/or learn about particular ethnicities, cultures, and heritages.

Students interested in pursuing the NAIS Minor can follow the links on this page for more information.

To download a pdf file listing current courses that fit the NAIS Minor, see: NAIS Courses and Minor

To download a pdf file with all NAIS course descriptions, see: NAIS Course Descriptions

To register for the NAIS Minor, contact the NAIS Coordinator: mbruchac@sas.upenn.edu

For information on other Minors available for study at Penn, see: List of Minors

Overview of NAIS Courses

The University of Pennsylvania currently offers more than 35 courses with significant Native American and Indigenous content in 12 different departments. At present, 10 of these courses include dense content focusing almost exclusively on Native Americans and First Nations peoples in North America. Other courses offer sections focusing on Indigenous peoples and issues in diverse worldwide locales, from diverse disciplinary perspectives. 

Many NAIS courses are cross-listed or can be applied towards other requirements of the College. Examples include: Native American Literature (Religious Studies and Anthropology); Native People of Eastern North America (History and Anthropology); Performing Culture, Native American Arts (Anthropology and Theater); and Public Policy, Museums, and the Ethics of Cultural Heritage (Anthropology and History). Other NAIS courses offer foundational knowledge that is central to a particular discipline, but can also be very useful across disciplines. Examples include: Native Peoples and the Environment (Archaeology); Federal Indian Law (Law); Language in Native America (Linguistics). Several new NAIS courses are currently in development; please check back for more information. 

NAIS Courses for Fall 2016

The following courses taught during the Fall 2016 semester can be applied to the NAIS Minor:

Anthropology 001: Introduction to Archaeology
Dr. Meg Kassabaum
Mondays & Wednesdays 11:00 am - 12 noon

Anthropology 141: Policy, Museums, and Cultural Heritage
Dr. Richard Leventhal
Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:30 am - 12 noon

Anthropology 258: Visualizing the Past
Dr. Clark Erickson
Wednesdays & Fridays 11:00 am - 12 noon

Anthropology 340: Native American Art
Dr. Lucy Fowler Williams
Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:30 am - 12 noon

Education 661: Language Diversity & Education
Dr. Nancy Hornberger
Mondays 2:00 - 4:00 pm  (Note: permission needed from department)

History 231: Native North American History
Dr. Elizabeth Ellis
Wednesdays 1:30 - 4:30 pm

Religious Studies 208: Native American Religion & Film
Dr. Timothy Powell
Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:30 - 3:00 pm