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Native American & Indigenous Studies Courses

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 with past and present NAIS course descriptions, see:

NAIS Course Descriptions - 2020.pdf

To register for the NAIS Minor, contact the NAIS Coordinator:

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

Overview of NAIS Courses

The University of Pennsylvania currently offers about 20 courses with significant Native American and Indigenous content in 8 different departments. Several 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 People of Eastern North America (History and Anthropology); Performing Culture (Cultural Diversity); 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); Language in Native America (Linguistics). Several new NAIS courses are currently in development; please check back for more information.

Note: The NAIS roster of courses is in a period of transition, since some faculty have retired and some courses are temporarily unavailable. In the interim, we encourage interested students to take other related courses, which can be accommodated as substitutions (contact the NAIS Coordinator with any questions). Here are some good options for Spring 2022:

Spring 2022 NAIS-Related Courses:

Anthropology 209: Indigenous Communities & Community Museums: Directions for the Future

Dr. Richard Leventhal     Seminar Monday 1:45-4:45pm

Anthropology 268: Anthropology of Museums

Dr. Margaret Bruchac     Seminar Wednesday 1:45-4:45pm
Offered annually, see this link to view the current syllabus: Anthro of Museums Syllabus Spring 2022.pdf

Anthropology 594: Indigenous Theory & Decolonizing Methodologies

Dr. Margaret Bruchac     Seminar Tuesday and Thursday 3:30-5:00pm
New course, see this link to view the current syllabus: Indigenous Theory & Decolonizing Syllabus 2022.pdf.

Art History 306: Southwest Native Art

Dr. Lucy Fowler-Williams     Seminar Thursday 1:45-4:45pm

Linguistics 603: Pomoan Languages

Dr. Eugene Buckley     Seminar Wednesday 1:45-3:45pm