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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 New Course Descriptions 2022-23.pdf

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 about 30 courses with Native American and Indigenous content across 7 different departments. Several of these courses include dense content focusing almost exclusively on Native American 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. 

Some NAIS courses are cross-listed or can be applied towards other requirements of the College. Examples include: Ethnohistory of the Native Northeast (History and Anthropology); Performing Culture (Cultural Diversity); Facing America (Art and History); 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: Indigenous Language and Language Revitalization (Education); and 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 2022:

Fall 2022 NAIS-Related Courses:

Anthropology 0020: Anthropology, Race, and the Making of the Modern World
Dr. Deborah Thomas     Lecture Monday & Wednesday 10:15-11:14am

Anthropology 1410: Public Policy, Museums, and the Ethics of Cultural Heritage

Dr. Richard Leventhal     Seminar Tuesday & Thursday 10:15-11:44am

Anthropology 5110: Ethics, Archaeology, and Cultural Heritage

Dr. Richard Leventhal     Seminar Tuesday 1:45-4:44pm

History 2401: Indians, Pirates, Rebels and Runaways: Unofficial Histories of the Colonial Caribbean
Dr.  Yvonne Fabella     Seminar Wednesday 1:45-4:44pm