Native American and Indigenous Studies Featured Courses, Fall 2018

Interested in these courses? Consider Penn's Native American and Indigenous Studies Minor


ANTH 151-401 Archaeology of American History: The Colonial Period

Instructor: Robert Schuyler

Thursday 1:30PM-4:30PM

Over the last fifty years archaeologists have been exploring historic sites in the United States dating from both the Colonial Period and the 19th/20th centuries. What can archaeology now tell us about the origins of American society, the invasion of North America by various European peoples (Spanish, English, Dutch), the impact on native peoples, the rise of African American and Asian American cultures, major crisis (e.g. the revolution, Civil War, and the Great Depression), the settlement of the Far American West, and the final emergence of a truly national culture in the 20th century? A basic question will be how an American history based on both archaeology and archival sources is different and more complete than an image of the past drawn only from written sources.


ANTH 433-401 Andean Archaeology

Instructor: Clark Erickson

Tuesday/Thursday 1:30PM-3:00PM

Consideration of the culture history of the native peoples of the Andean area, with emphasis on the pre-conquest archaeology of the Central-Andean region.


ANTH 268-301 Anthropology of Museums

Instructor: Margaret Bruchac

Wednesday 2:00PM-5:00PM 

This course examines museums as sites where issues of Indigenous identity, memory, place and power intersect. Museums have long been engaged in the selective preservation, representation, and contextualization of Indigenous objects, cultures, and histories. We will examine antiquarian impulses that inspired the collecting of curiosities, scientific studies that drove the collection of biological specimens, and nationalist ideals that shaped monuments to house imperialist memories. Museums are now sites for complex, often contentious discourse around Indigenous collections. Students will review histories of local and national collecting processes, with a particular focus on Native American collections and concerns. We will also consider how Indigenous curators and new kinds of museums have developed innovative displays and interpretations.


ANTH 258 Visualizing the Past/Peopling the Present

(Cross-listed with Computer and Information Sciences)

Instructors: Clark Erickson and Norman Badler

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 11:00AM-12:00PM

This highly interdisciplinary course approaches fundamental issues in Anthropology and Computer Science.Using an anthropological perspective, this course focuses on the history, theory, and methods of how archaeology and visualizations of the past are created, presented and used in scholarly media (e.g., traditional publications, conference papers, and project databases), and popular culture (e.g., artists reconstructions, movies, TV documentaries, museum exhibits, games, the internet, and art), and contemporary computer technology (e.g., 3D modeling, Animation, virtual reality, and simulation). From the computer science perspective, the challenge becomes how we can transform known and often incomplete information into engaging and plausible digital models of a past culture and its people. Students gain acquisition of fundamental computer programming, data analysis, and 3D modeling and animation tools. The course material is broad and requires conceptual integration by the student. The instructors use the SEAS Open Learning Classroom for programing and the Penn Museum to explore artifact collections through Object-Based Learning and evaluate public exhibits and complete an original Final Project to people and visualize the past. Benjamin Franklin Seminar.