Interdisciplinary Seminar American Studies: North American Indigenous Studies
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleLET-NAS406
Credits (ECTS)5
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Arts; English Language and Culture;
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. J.T.J. Bak
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. J.T.J. Bak
Other course modules lecturer
I. Plessius, MA
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2018
PER 3-PER 4  (04/02/2019 to 30/08/2019)
Starting block
Course mode
RemarksAccessible to exchange students.
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
At the end of the course, the student has
  • gained an advanced understanding of the history, literature and politics of indigenous peoples in North America from a comparative perspective;
  • learned to critically assess the ways in which historical and political experiences have shaped and determined the cultural expressions of indigenous peoples in North America;
  • gained insight into the phenomenon of the border as it pertains to North American Indians;
  • is able to critically analyze and discuss different modes of literary and artistic representations of indigenous peoples in North American (popular) culture and their cultural and political implications.
This course offers an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Native American and First
Nations Studies, with an emphasis on contemporary native literatures. We will explore the history of North American Indians in the US and Canada from the earliest moments of "contact" to the present and study the struggles of native peoples to preserve and reclaim a lost or vanishing culture and
political standing. Against this background we will analyze and discuss a variety of modes of literary and visual representations of "Indians" in both native and non-native North American writing, and explore the ways (stereotypical and otherwise) in which "the Indian" has functioned in non-native culture and consciousness. We will also study initiatives by Native and First Nations artists and writers to address distorted perceptions and stereotypes, both in literature and popular culture. Finally, border studies will be introduced as a field from which North American Indian issues can be addressed, specifically the border between the United States and Canada and the border as a dividing line between reservations and state land. Authors to be discussed may include: Scott Momaday, James Welch, Louise Erdrich, Leslie Marmon Silko, Sherman Alexie, Linda Hogan, Joy Harjo, Tomson Highway, Thomas King, LeAnne Howe and Joseph Boyden.
Assumed previous knowledge
Note for exchange students: you cannot take this course if your English proficiency level is not at least C1 (TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC or Cambridge). A statement from your home university won't be accepted.

Recommended materials
To be announced

Instructional modes

Seminar; class discussion; in-class presentations.

Final take-home
Test weight60
Test typeTake-home test
OpportunitiesBlock PER 3, Block PER 4

Minimum grade

Test weight40
Test typeAssignment
OpportunitiesBlock PER 3

Minimum grade