Topics Courses - Descriptions

NAS 2850 - Images of the Indian

This course will focus on developing your awareness and understanding of how the “popular” culture re-presents Self and Other and how those images have been accepted, subverted, resisted and integrated by Indigenous cultures in Canada and the United States.  In order to facilitate this process you will be introduced to the concepts and theories popular culture analysts have utilized to understand the Modern/Post-Modern world. You will be encouraged to develop and sharpen your own critical and analytical abilities by evaluating cultural artifacts and symbols.  Class participation is crucial. More generally, this course deals with such topics as the body as a site of the cultural construction of identity; mass media; corporate identities; authority and resistance; commodity fetishism; and extensions and subversions of Western ideology.

NAS 3850A - The Mikmaq 

This course introduces students to the People of the Dawn—the Mi’kmaq populations of Quebec, the Maritimes, and Newfoundland. We begin in “authentic time” before the 16th century arrival of Europeans. We will study: Mi’Kmaq creation stories and prophecies; social organization, including leadership and land-use patterns; relationships with settlers and European/Euro-states (the Vatican, France, Britain and Canada), including treaties and the Indian Act; and contemporary issues such as health, language retention, economic development, and identity. A gender lens will be used throughout the course.

NAS 3850B - Cradle of American Civilization  - Tentative, subject to change. 

In this course, we examine the Mayan and Aztec civilizations and their antecedents using historical, archaeological, anthropological data available. Students will be encouraged to use that knowledge to reconstruct Native American perspectives on those cultures. Mayan civilization rose and fell over the course of 2,000 years. By the time of the European invasion of Central America, and by the time that Europeans first set foot in Central America, many Mayan cities had long been abandoned. The course focuses firstly on the Mayan ancestral cultures and then the Maya.

The Aztec civilization was of more recent origin and reached its height in only a few centuries. As we will see, Mayans and Aztecs had many cultural similarities, but they differed in fundamental areas such as the structure of the state and their relations with other peoples. We complete this course with our study of the Aztec and a discussion of the Mayan and Aztec peoples in the modern context.

NAS 4850 - The Symbols that Frame Aboriginal Community 

This course is about Aboriginal Peoples and the representations that frame and define Aboriginal culture and Aboriginal societies. Symbols define the structure of all human societies.  This course examines the historical use of symbols and their relationship between Aboriginal People and their culture. In this course we will review the meaning of symbols as language, as writing and as communication and how each of these forms identity and differentiation. Language is known as the most technical of messaging systems. This course explores arts based inquiry as a new and emerging form of research.