2008-09 Catalog

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Program Description

Conceptualizing Native Place

Last Updated: 12/15/2008

Fall and Winter quarters

Faculty: Lara Evans art history, Zoltan Grossman geography, Native studies

Faculty Signature Required: Winter quarter

Major areas of study include Native American studies, geography, art history and writing.

Class Standing: This all-level program accepts up to 25% freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.

Accepts Winter Enrollment: Only students with credits in Native American Studies wil be accepted.

In this program, we will explore historical and contemporary relationships of Native North Americans to place, using art and geography in a cross-cultural comparative analysis, and as "common ground" for strengthening intercultural communication. The unique status of indigenous nations can be better understood by highlighting the centrality of territory in Native identity, and the strong indigenous connections to place. These connections can be seen in numerous fields: art and material culture, Native national sovereignty, attachment to ceded treaty lands, the focus on traditional land use and protection of sacred sites, environmental protection, sustainable planning, indigenous migration and symbolic mobility (through community practices such as powwows and commemorative journeys).

All of these connections have been expressed artistically and geographically through traditional indigenous cartographies, artistic "mapping" of ideas using contemporary art practices, and modern mapmaking techniques. A number of group exhibitions of contemporary Native art have collected bodies of work that share an analysis of the importance of place and identity, from Reservation X in 1999 to Our Land, Our Selves in 2007. Examination of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary ideas about land, place, environment, and relationship to human cultures offers the opportunity to develop new conceptualizations for the meaning of place, self, and community.

We will examine how conceptions of land are disseminated through art and objects of material culture, informing our examination with geographic studies and investigation into the sociopolitical uses of mapping. Students will discover differences and potential meeting points between Native and Western cultural systems, identify differences within and among diverse tribal nations, and develop an understanding of indigenous peoples' ability to define and set their own social, cultural, and spatial boundaries and interpretations. Students will develop greater awareness of indigenous cultures, but also of aspects of culture that may be determined and protected by Native peoples themselves.

Fall quarter will introduce students to historical geographies and worldviews of Native North America, basic visual literacy skills in art, and basic literacy in graphic representational systems for geographic data. In winter quarter, students will develop specialized projects relevant to geographic areas of interest. In general, program activities will involve guest lectures, images and videos, workshops, readings and class discussions, quizzes and exams, writing assignments, and presentations to compare and contrast our different geographical case studies. Students are expected to use critical thinking skills in interpreting the readings, images, videos and lectures. Through field trips to Native communities in urban and reservation areas, and a comparative examination of museums by or about Native peoples, students will be asked to engage directly with the questions and contentions surrounding notions of place in Native America.

Credits: 16 per quarter

Enrollment: 48

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Special Expenses: $120 for field trips and museum admissions fees.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in Native American studies, art history, geography, cultural studies and education.

Planning Units: Programs for Freshmen, Expressive Arts, Native American and World Indigenous Peoples' Studies

Program Revisions

Date Revision
December 15th, 2008 Winter enrollment details added.