Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

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:

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 Spring 2018

Anthropology 307: Contemporary Native Americans
Dr. Margaret Bruchac
Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:30 - 3 pm, Penn Museum Room 329
(Note: For the NAIS Minor, this course can substitute for "Intro to Native American & Indigenous Studies")

Anthropology 328: Performing Culture
Dr. Margaret Bruchac
Wednesday 2 - 5 pm, Penn Museum Room 345

Historic Preservation 747: Conservation of Archaeological Sites & Landscapes
Dr. Clark Erickson and Dr. Frank Matero
Wednesday 2 - 5 pm, room not yet assigned

Linguistics 241: Language in Native America
Dr. Eugene Buckley
Monday, Wednesday 3:30 - 5 pm, Williams Hall 305

Religious Studies 208: Native American Religion/Literature
Dr. Timothy Powell
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10 - 11 am, Claudia Cohen Hall Room 204