header for American Indian Studies website
home link history category link program category link faculty category link students category link nagpra category link SFSU category link The AIS Blog link
spacer spacer
San Francisco State logo
American Indian Studies Spring 2011 Course Descriptions

SF State Students

SF State Students

AIS 100 Introduction to American Indian Studies: Introduction to American Indian Studies: the histories, cultures, identities and contemporary issues of the indigenous American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian groups. Topics range from colonialism, racialization, social formation, identity politics, and environmental issues to law and politics.

AIS 110 Critical Thinking and the American Indian Experience: Understanding, criticizing, and constructing arguments by using materials reflective of the experiences of American Indians in the U.S.

AIS 150 American Indian History in the US: A survey of the history of the Native peoples of the United States from precontact to the present. Emphasis will be placed on Indian-White relations and the continuing development of federal Indian policy and its impact. Attention will also be given to the persistence, change, and adaptation of Native cultures to historical and contemporary social conditions as well as individual and community efforts to maintain sovereignty and cultural identity.

AIS 160 Survey of Native California: Native California from origin to contemporary times. Comparative data, adaptive strategies and relations between the indigenous populations and European and Anglo-American contact.

AIS 162 American Indian Oral Literature: Traditional Indian literatures: legend, origin stories, precontact poetry, oratory, and stories of Indian peoples. Forms, styles, images, and themes used by selected tribes to express the experience of their daily lives.

AIS 205 American Indians and US Laws: This course provides a history of US policy and law and its impact on American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Specific topics include issues relating to constitutional law, federal policy, and governance.

AIS 214 Second Year Written Composition: American Indian Studies: Develops student ability to write logically developed compositions that state and support one central theme with focus on effective content, organization, sentence structure, paragraph and essay development.

AIS 230 Urban Indians: American Indian lifestyles – on and off the reservation – and their comparison and contrast with others, such as European-American, African American, and Raza.

AIS 235 American Indians: Image and Issues in the Mass Media: This class focuses on Hollywood representations of American Indian history and culture. There is no greater "image creator" than Hollywood film and our emphasis in the course will be on those films that represent Native people over the broad spectrum of Indian-White relations. We will also examine the stereotypes of Native people perpetuated in film and compare and contrast those images with the historical and cultural realities of Native Americans.

AIS 260 American Indian Health and Cultural Recovery: Native-based models of health and wellness and contemporary health disparities resulting from colonization. Traditional health models and concepts from different tribal perspectives as integrated into daily practices and ways American Indians combine the best of traditional and modern medicine.

AIS 300 American Indian Studies Research Methods: Overview of social scientific and literary theories/methods useful in the gathering and study of data on historical and contemporary American Indian nations, tribal groups, communities, individuals, and literature.

AIS 310 American Indian Religion and Philosophy: Religious and philosophical aspects of the life styles of certain plains tribes in what is now called the U.S. Ancient religion, visions, and deity structures and how they have survived and have been modified by the impact of European cultures.

AIS 320 American Indian Music: Relationships among music, cultural perspectives, and collective and individual selves of American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians.

AIS 325 American Indian Art: Ancient art forms, styles, and media viewed from American Indian perspectives as integral part of American Indian cultures.

AIS 330 American Indian Law: This course will introduce students to Native epistemologies, worldviews, and the social structures and institutions relating to customary or 'traditional' law, governance, justice, and ethics. It will balance both an historical overview of customary perspectives and practices and an examination of contemporary revitalization for self-government along the principles of sovereignty and selfdetermination.

AIS 340 American Indian Cultural Revitalization: This course provides a study of Native cultural revitalization efforts, including language retention, song and dance performance, and oral histories. Class will also address federal and state policies that impede or fund these efforts.

AIS 345 American Indian Cultural Revitalization Field Course: This course provides a field study of Native cultural revitalization efforts. Classes will be held on tribal lands, where appropriate.

AIS 350 Black-Indians in the Americas: In this course students will be introduced to some of the major sociological and historical factors that have given rise to multiracial cultural identities in American Indian communities throughout the Americas and the Caribbean with a specific focus on Black-Indians within American Indian and African American Studies. Students will explore the ways that mainstream society comes to understand American Indians and their location within the social, legal, political, and economic sphere of race relations in the West. Students will engage key concepts and theories regarding blood quantum, sovereignty, and land rights as they apply to Natives of mixed ancestry. We will begin with a comprehensive analysis of the notion of a fixed or essential monolithic American Indian identity and how this construction has influenced social, legal, and political understanding of mixed-race Native Americans today and their role within the greater American Indian community. Issues of authenticity, group and community membership, as well as cultural vs. racial formation will be addressed in our weekly readings, lectures, discussions, films, guest lectures, and projects.

AIS 360 American Indian Novels and Poetry: Narrative, oratory, poetry, short stories, and contemporary novels recorded and written by Indians from the mid 1850's through contemporary times. Changing literary forms, methods of recordings, celebrating and reaffirming 19th and 20th century Indian life.

AIS 400 American Indian Education: Content, curriculum, and structure of education in reservation and off-reservation schools. Problems, goals, innovative restructuring, proposals for future.

AIS 410 Perspectives of Native California Indians: Cultural and historical perspective of California Indians. Contemporary problems, issues, and developments involving American Indians, both urban and rural.

AIS 420 American Indian Women: The role of women within the social systems of American Indian cultures.

AIS 430 American Indian Sovereignty: This course provides an introduction to that body of work within American Indian Studies that addresses sovereignty as a category of law, policy, legal theory, and political debate. 'Classic' and comparative-emphasis works addressing the construction of sovereignty in international, federal/state, and tribal law and policy is included. Sovereignty itself is treated as a culturally embedded term whose specific meanings cohere at particular historical moments under certain political conditions. The objective of the course is to understand the reasons for these moments of coherence.

AIS 450 American Indian Science: American Indian sciences, theory and practice, traditional herbology, agricultural and environmental sciences, methods of food production, preservation, and preparation. Indian architectural modes and thermal clothing used by tribes from six regions of North America.

AIS 460 Power and Politics in American Indian History: This course addresses the historical and cultural factors informing modern political and social issues defining relations between the US and American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Specific topics include issues relating to governance, territorial rights, and cultural autonomy.

AIS 470 American Indian Identity Politics: Native American identities in comparative and social contexts with an emphasis on their relation to the politics of sovereignty and self-determination.

AIS 480 American Indian Social Movements: Social movements among American Indians that have attempted to restructure and transform traditional practices in the face of drastically changing social conditions.

AIS 490 Ancestors or Data? The Politics of NAGPRA: Political struggles surroundings the creation and implementation of the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Analysis of the law, impact of recent court decisions and specific focus on cultural conflicts related to the concept of knowledge.

AIS 500 Language and Cultural Systems: Relationship of language to culture and the study of American Indian linguistic systems.

AIS 520 Before the Wilderness: American Indian Ecology: Course examines the environmental thought, ecological worldviews and resource management practices of North American native peoples. It reviews how European and American colonists justified the expropriation of native lands and the different perceptions of 'land' and its connections to major ecological and cultural change.

AIS 530 American Indian Psychology: Introduction to theories of American Indian psychology.

AIS 540/840 Advanced Topics in American Indian Law and Politics:

AIS 560 Modern Creative and Performing Arts: Individual and group performance of creative and performing arts in American Indian communities. Fine art, oral poetry, dramatic modes and media. Adaptation of traditional modes to modern situations.

AIS 600 Current Issues in the American Indian Community (Variable Topics)

AIS 610 American Indians and Museums: This course explores the relationship between Native people and museums and examines the influence museums have on the public’s understanding of American Indian history and culture. Topics to be covered include the collecting of Native American material culture, exhibition practices, education and interpretation, repatriation, indigenous curation methods, and the development of tribally owned and operated museums.

AIS 694 Community Service Learning: This course allows students to integrate classroom education with community service learning. Students must be enrolled in an AIS course and work with an organization approved by the department.

AIS 685 Projects in the Teaching of American Indian Studies: Academic service learning practicum/internship experience as an undergraduate instructional aide. Participation in the teaching of a regular instructionally-related class. Limited to undergraduate students only.

AIS 694 Community Service Learning: Community service learning to be taken with any AIS course that supports community service learning. May be repeated for a total of 6 units.

AIS 680 American Indian Studies Senior Seminar: Directed guidance leading to the completion of a senior research project based on intensive study of a topic or problem related to American Indian peoples.

AIS 699 Special Study: Supervised, individual study of a particular problem in American Indian studies. Student may select the supervisor and must state the problem, the method of data gathering, and the method of data analysis.

AIS 701 Graduate Seminar in American Indian Studies: This course will provide an overview of some of the critical issues in American Indian Studies by examining the cultural, political, psychological, and environmental realities of American Indians in the 21st century. The course addresses questions and dilemmas related to American Indian research and scholarship. The complicated topics of research, identity, decolonization, and sovereignty are examined through many viewpoints.

AIS students
American Indian Studies Department
College of Ethnic Studies • San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132

Main Office: (415) 338-1054/405-3928
FAX: (415) 405-0496
Email: aismain@sfsu.edu