First Year Program - Native American Studies Skip Navigation

Native American Studies (NAST)

Director: C. Lorenz
PROGRAM SITE

The Native American Studies Program offers students the opportunity to undertake a comparative study of the pre-Columbian, colonial, and contemporary cultures of North and Latin America. The required and elective courses are drawn from a wide range of disciplines, representing the various topical and regional interests of Colgate faculty whose specializations include archaeology, art, cultural anthropology, education, ethnomusicology, geography, history, law, literature, and religion.  Themes and topics of the major include the integrity, richness, and complexity of Native cultures; the reciprocal impact of contact between Native and non-Native populations in the Western Hemisphere; modes and processes of culture change; cultural disruption, resistance, and vitality; social movements; indigenous ways of knowing; and an understanding of the variety of methodological and theoretical approaches to Native American Studies, including comparisons with other indigenous cultures.  A major in Native American Studies provides an excellent foundation for graduate education in the disciplines mentioned, as well as professional work in areas such as contract archaeology, environmental and cultural resource management, government services, non-governmental and non-profit organizations, law, museums, public health, and teaching.

Courses

View all with day/time information
ANTH 103, Introduction to Archaeology
Introduces students to the basic concepts and issues of archaeology today through an examination of both method and theory. Topics include data analysis and interpretation, culture history, prehistoric technology and settlements, and cultural resources management.

CORE 171C, Mexico
An interdisciplinary introduction to the history, people, art and cultures of Mexico, a country of diverse ethnic, sexual, gendered, class, and political identities that shares a 2,000-mile border with the United States. How does Mexico’s colonial past inform the present? On what terms has a Mexican national identity been defined and who is included or excluded from rights and citizenship? Objectives are to examine Mexico’s complex history and social fabric; to study Mexican identities, politics, and cultural expressions with relation to this history; and to gain a general understanding of contemporary Mexico in the context of current events and Mexico’s relationship to the United States.

CORE 176C, North American Indians
Provides an overview of North American Indians by drawing on case studies from four groupings: New England tribes; Iroquois; Cheyenne; and Pueblos. These cultures are studied in terms of their historical and political relationship to Anglo-American society and institutions, attending to Native Americans' resistance to attempted conquest by European or American powers, the creation of reservation systems, and the use of institutions (e.g., the Bureau of Indian Affairs, schools, missions) to change Native American cultures. Students also examine the response of Native Americans to outside pressures. Students explore other issues, such as sovereignty, identity, gambling, repatriation, land claims, and education, and their impact on North American Indians. Videotapes and Native American artifacts are studied throughout the semester.

CORE 177C, Peru
The Latin American country Peru evokes dramatic and conflicting images of spectacular natural settings, ancient ruins, cosmopolitan cities, shantytowns, street children, poverty and more. It is a country of extremes. This course offers an interdisciplinary inquiry into this ecologically and culturally diverse land. The course begins by exploring the distinct geography and ecology of the central Andean region (rainforest, mountains, desert, and ocean) in order to understand how these features have shaped the societies that inhabit the region of present-day Peru. This involves analyzing the evolution and organization of Pre-Columbian societies, paying special attention to the Inca civilization. It also examines the ideologies, institutions and practices introduced with the Spanish conquest and era of colonialism in order to understand their impact on indigenous society and their relevance to the state of underdevelopment that characterizes contemporary Peru. Study of present-day Peru juxtaposes rural and urban life, the ties between the two spheres, and the crisis conditions that enveloped both ways of life until recently. Specific issues include the internal armed conflict, the coca culture and cocaine economy, shantytowns and land invasions, oil extraction and indigenous resistance, among other compelling issues. Throughout the term, this course emphasizes the many paradoxes of this intriguing land.

HIST 209, Atlantic World, 1492-1800
The events that followed Columbus' accidental arrival in the New World in 1492 shaped the world in which we live today. This course explores the formation of the Atlantic communities as the result of interactions between European, African, and Native American peoples as well as the circulation of diseases, natural products, labor systems, imperial designs, economic policies, and frontier zones in the Atlantic world. Many of the consequences of this process of interaction were unintended. Students explore the configuration of European, African, and Native American societies before contact and the configuration of new communities in the New World; the slave trade and the establishment of the plantation complex from Brazil to South Carolina; the spread of Christianity in the New World; the development of scientific practices in the service of imperial and national states; the establishment of labor systems; and the different strategies of accommodation, resistance, and rebellion of the different actors trying to find/protect their place in the Atlantic world. This course intends to provide a regional framework for the study of colonial societies in the western hemisphere as well as for the study of emerging empires and states in Europe. (LAC)