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:
To register for the NAIS Minor, contact the NAIS Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Fall 2021 and Spring 2022:
Fall 2021 NAIS-Related Courses:
Anthropology 001: Race and the Modern World
Dr. Deborah Thomas Lectures Monday & Wednesday 10:15-11:15am, plus Recitation Section
Anthropology 022: World Music & Cultures
Dr. J. Glazer Lectures Tuesday & Thursday 1:45-3:15 pm
Anthropology 148: Food & Fire
Dr. Kate Moore Lectures Monday & Wednesday 1:45-2:45 pm, plus Recitation Section
Anthropology 177: Colonial Pasts & Indigenous Futures: A History of Belize & Central America
Dr. Richard Leventhal Seminar Wednesday 1:45-4:45 pm
Anthropology 336: Peopling of the Americas
Dr. Theodore Schurr Seminar Tuesday and Thursday 1:45-3:15 pm
Art History 278: American Art
Dr. M. Leja Lectures Monday & Wednesday 12-1 pm, plus Recitation Section
NEW Spring 2022 NAIS-Related Courses:
Anthropology 209: Indigenous Communities & Community Museums: Directions for the Future
Dr. Richard Leventhal
Anthropology 594: Indigenous Theory & Decolonizing Methodologies
Dr. Margaret Bruchac