Indigenous Studies Graduate Program
KU’s Indigenous Studies Program serves students, Native American and Indigenous Nations and communities in Kansas, the Midwest, the U.S., and the world through our teaching, research, creative work, and service. At the core of these endeavors is our deep commitment to and engagement with the nations and communities we come from, learn from, and serve. Our aim is to contribute to the continuing projects of knowledge building, effective leadership, and infrastructure development.
The program may nominate outstanding students for department scholarships and KU graduate fellowships and awards. Consideration requires submission of an application by January 15.
Visit the Graduate Studies website for information about funding for graduate students at KU.
Financial Aid and Scholarships administers grants, loans, and need-based financial aid.
ISP 101. Introduction to Indigenous Nations Studies. 3 Hours NW / S.
An introduction to the study of Indigenous peoples. It surveys the concepts, methods, and content relevant to Applied Indigenous Studies, using case studies drawn from diverse cultures. The course illustrates that the social, political, religious, and economic aspects of American Indian life are interconnected and that tribal histories cannot be understood without an awareness of these fields. Students are introduced to controversies over how to research, write, and interpret American Indians, and will address the foundations of Indigenous Studies, and that is Indigenous concepts of decolonization, empowerment and Nation-building. The course explores how the lives of Indigenous people have been affected by colonization, while exploring the varying definitions of "colonialism", "colonizer" and the "colonized. LEC.
ISP 304. Special Topics: _____. 3 Hours H.
This course concentrates on selected problems in the interdisciplinary field of Indigenous Studies. Courses in this field utilize methods developed in various disciplines to examine issues related to the survival, self-sufficiency, mutual support, empowerment, and decolonization of Indigenous Peoples throughout the world. May be repeated for credit when the topic differs. LEC.
ISP 305. World Indigenous Literatures. 3 Hours NW AE42 / H.
A survey of contemporary world indigenous literatures that includes those from North America, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, the Arctic, and Latin America. Texts are in English (original or translation). Genres studied include the novel, poetry, and drama, supplemented by works from the oral tradition, the visual arts, and film. (Same as ENGL 305/GIST 305.) Prerequisite: Prior completion of the KU Core Written Communication requirement. Recommended: Prior completion of one 200-level English course. LEC.
ISP 330. Native American Religions. 3 Hours NW AE41 / H.
A survey of religious traditions among selected Native American peoples. Topics include religious freedom, ritual activity, cultural narrative (myth), kinship, healing practices, ecology, government relations, impact of colonization, impact of missionization, contact between cultures, and secularization. Not open to students who have completed ISP 331 or REL 331. (Same as REL 330.) LEC.
ISP 331. Native American Religions, Honors. 3 Hours NW AE41 / H.
A survey of religious traditions among selected Native American peoples. Topics include religious freedom, ritual activity, cultural narrative (myth), kinship, healing practices, ecology, government relations, impact of colonization, impact of missionization, contact between cultures, and secularization. Open only to students in the University Honors Program or by permission of instructor. Not open to students who have completed ISP 330 or REL 330. (Same as REL 331.) LEC.
ISP 335. Introduction to Indigenous Studies. 3 Hours NW / H.
This course is an introduction to the study of modern and historic indigenous peoples. It surveys the concepts, methods, and content relevant to Indigenous Studies, using case studies drawn from the diverse indigenous cultures. Special attention is paid to the various ways in which standard academic disciplines--history, anthropology, literature, law, political science, among others--contribute to the study of Indigenous cultures and current issues. The course illustrates that the social, political, religious, and economic aspects of indigenous life are interconnected and tribal histories and cultures cannot be understood without an awareness of these fields. (Same as HUM 335.) LEC.
ISP 345. Indian Territory. 3 Hours H.
This course examines the cultural, social, economic, environmental, and political background of Indian Territory in what is now the state of Oklahoma. It surveys the diverse geographical regions, tribal cultures, the impact of the Indian Removal Act, assimilation, acculturation, westward expansion, the Civil war, boarding schools, the Dawes Act, the Curtis Act, and land runs on Territory residents. The course also treats post-Civil War violence, outlaws, and the role of tribal courts along with controversies over removals, Land Run celebrations, allotment scandals, and Osage oil murders. (Same as HIST 318 and HUM 345.) LEC.
ISP 348. American Indian and White Relations to 1865. 3 Hours H.
This course provides an intensive survey of the Indians of North America from Prehistory to 1865, and focuses on ancient indigenous cultures, early European-Indian relations and the impact of European culture upon the indigenous peoples of North America. (Same as HIST 351, HWC 348.) LEC.
ISP 350. American Indians Since 1865. 3 Hours AE41 / H.
This course examines American Indian/White relations from reconstruction to the present. It surveys the impact of westward expansion and cultural changes brought about by the Civil War, forced education, intermarriage, the Dawes Act, the New Deal, the World Wars, termination, relocation and stereotypical literature and movies. The class also addresses the Red Power and AIM movements, as well as indigenous efforts to decolonize and to recover and retain indigenous knowledge. After learning about the past from both Native and non-Native source materials, students will gain multiple perspectives about historical events and gain understandings of diverse world views, values, and responses to adversity. (Same as HIST 352 and HUM 350.) LEC.
ISP 490. Roots of Federal Indian Policy. 3 Hours H.
This course introduces students to the basic concepts and ideologies surrounding modern United States Federal Indian policy. It will survey the European intellectual trends that were influential in creating policies that were (and still are) applied to the colonized Native peoples. The course will explore the roots of US Indian policy, including removals, "civilization programs," the reservation period, the Dawes (Allotment) Act, the New Deal, termination, relocation, NAGPRA and tribal rights, in addition to the issues surrounding American Indian identity, tribal membership and demographics. This course serves as the foundation for more in-depth study into the complicated and ever-changing field of Federal Indian Law as it pertains to the Indigenous peoples of the United States. (Same as HUM 490.) LEC.
ISP 495. Directed Readings. 1-3 Hours.
Work for advanced majors in fields or on topics not covered in course work. May be repeated for a total of up to six hours. May be counted as part of the total junior-senior credit hours required. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. IND.
ISP 504. Topics in Indigenous Studies: _____. 3 Hours NW / S.
This course concentrates on selected problems in the interdisciplinary field of Indigenous Studies. Courses in this field utilize methods developed in various disciplines in order to examine issues related to the survival, self-sufficiency, mutual support, empowerment, and decolonization of Indigenous Peoples throughout the world. May be repeated for credit when the topic differs. Recommended for juniors or seniors, or for students who have completed ISP 101/GINS 101/INS 101. LEC.
ISP 510. Indigenous Women and Activism. 3 Hours NW / S.
Examines the roles of activist Indigenous women in politics, social work, academia, business, environmental and health issues. Compares and contrasts the ideology of the predominantly white feminist movement with the goals and concerns of the "Red Power" movement and emphasizes Indigenous socio-cultural values and concerns. Profiles prominent Indigenous female activists, tribal leaders and writers, in addition to topics of serious concern to Indigenous women: violence, racism, loss of culture and language, education, health care and other manifestations of continued colonization. LEC.
ISP 530. Indigenous Food and Health. 3 Hours NW / U.
This course investigates the historic diets of Indigenous peoples, including cultivation of crops, hunting and fishing methods, food preparation and seed preservation. The class traces through history the colonial policies and ideologies that caused the cultures to alter their ways of eating, resulting in unprecedented modern health problems and offers traditional cultural strategies for health recovery. LEC.
ISP 542. Ethnobotany. 3 Hours S.
Course will involve lectures and discussion of Ethnobotany - the mutual relationship between plants and traditional people. Research from both the field of anthropology and botany will be incorporated in this course to study the cultural significance of plant materials. The course has 7 main areas of focus: 1) Methods in Ethnobotanical Study; 2) Traditional Botanical Knowledge - knowledge systems, ethnolinguistics; 3) Edible and Medicinal Plants of North America (focus on North American Indians); 4) Traditional Phytochemistry - how traditional people made use of chemical substances; 5) Understanding Traditional Plant Use and Management; 6) Applied Ethnobotany; 7) Ethnobotany in Sustainable Development (focus on medicinal plant exploration by pharmaceutical companies in Latin America). (Same as ANTH 582 and EVRN 542.) Prerequisite: ANTH 104, ANTH 108, EVRN 148, or consent of instructor. LEC.
ISP 551. Foodways: Native North America. 3 Hours H.
This course surveys the traditional foodways of the indigenous peoples of North America. We survey hunting, gathering and fishing methods, meal preparation, medicinal plants and the cultivation of crops according to tribal seasons. Because modern indigenous peoples are suffering from unprecedented health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and related maladies, the course traces through history the reasons why tribal peoples have become unhealthy and why some have lost the traditional knowledge necessary to plant, cultivate, and save seeds. The course also addresses the destruction of flora and fauna from environmental degradation. (Same as HIST 511 and HWC 551.) Prerequisite: Upper division course on indigenous / American Indian history, or permission of the instructor. LEC.
ISP 552. Foodways: Latin America. 3 Hours H.
This course explores the traditional foods, ways of eating, and cultural significance of food among peoples of Latin America. The course surveys the vast array of flora in Central and South America and the Caribbean, and focuses on issues of environmental protection, bioethics, food security, and the growth of farming and ranching. The class studies the impact that foods such as maize, potatoes and cacao have had globally, and includes African, Asian, and European influences on Latin cuisine, as well as health problems associated with dietary changes. (Same as HIST 512 , HUM 552 and LAA 552.) Prerequisite: Upper division course on Latin America, or permission of the instructor. LEC.
ISP 600. Research Methods and Indigenous Peoples. 1-3 Hours NW / U.
An introduction to the social science methods of investigation and analysis that are used in Indigenous Nations Studies as a discipline. The nature of Indigenous Nations Studies data sources and methods of data collection, the logic of social scientific inquiry, and key methods of data analysis are emphasized. In addition, the social and educational implications of the results are examined. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. LEC.
ISP 601. Indigenous Peoples of the World. 3 Hours S.
A survey of the varied responses of global Indigenous peoples as a result of the imposition of external economic and political systems. An overview of diverse, thematic issues such as land rights, economic development, resources and cultural patrimony, languages, knowledge systems, and women's rights from the perspectives of Indigenous societies around the world. Detailed studies of Indigenous peoples seeking recognition and protection under international law are used. (Same as GEOG 601 and GIST 601.) Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. LEC.
ISP 673. Environmental Justice. 3 Hours NW / U.
An examination of the impact of environmental justice and security in Indigenous communities throughout the world with a focus on tactics and strategies that incorporate Indigenous perspectives in responses and mitigation schemes. A survey of mining, dumping, and storage of toxic and radioactive waste activities as related to Indigenous peoples. Case study analyses of economic, military and mining interests contrasted with perspectives emerging from cultural traditions and beliefs of Indigenous peoples and communities. (Same as EVRN 673.) Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. LEC.
ISP 800. Indigenous Issues in the United States. 3 Hours.
This course will focus on contemporary issues relating to Indigenous peoples and nations within the United States, with particular emphasis on such issues as sovereignty, indigeneity, colonialism and decolonization. The course will address varied disciplinary approaches to this range of issues and will consider how this discourse bears upon scholarly conversations regarding broader themes in other selected fields of study. LEC.
ISP 801. Indigenous Peoples of the World. 3 Hours.
A survey of the varied responses of global Indigenous peoples as a result of the imposition of externally-dominated economic and political systems. An overview of diverse, thematic issues such as land rights, economic development, resources and cultural patrimony, languages, knowledge systems, and women's rights from the perspectives of Indigenous societies around the world. Detailed studies of Indigenous peoples seeking recognition and protection under international law will be used. The course is offered at the 600 and 800 levels, with additional assignments at the 800 level. (Same as GEOG 801.) LEC.
ISP 804. Special Topics: _____. 1-3 Hours.
Designed to fulfill program needs of the Indigenous Studies master's program, this course may meet with appropriate professional or graduate courses. Can be repeated for credit when topic differs. LEC.
ISP 806. Directed Readings. 1-3 Hours.
An individual readings course with a qualified instructor on a topic in Indigenous Studies. IND.
ISP 807. Internship in Indigenous Studies. 1-6 Hours.
Internships provide students the opportunity to obtain training and perform professional duties for academic credit at pre-approved indigenous-related agencies, organizations, and communities. Students are required to demonstrate a minimum of 60 contact hours for each one credit hour. To enroll, students must obtain the consent of a ISP faculty member and the Program's Curriculum Committee. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Permission from instructor. INT.
ISP 810. Indigenous Women and Activism. 3 Hours.
An examination of the roles and ideologies of prominent Indigenous female activists, tribal leaders and writers. LEC.
ISP 824. Federal Indian Law. 2.5-3 Hours.
Addresses the law and policy of the United States regarding Indian nations and their members. Issues include the origins and contours of federal plenary power over Indian affairs, the scope of inherent tribal sovereignty, the limits of state power in Indian country, civil and criminal jurisdiction, and gaming. (Same as LAW 914) Prerequisite: Permission from instructor. LEC.
ISP 830. Indigenous Food and Health. 3 Hours.
Investigates the historic diets of Indigenous peoples, including cultivation of crops, hunting and fishing methods, food preparation and seed preservation. Traces through history the colonial policies and ideologies that caused the cultures to alter their ways of eating, resulting in unprecedented modern health problems. Will offer traditional cultural strategies for health recovery. LEC.
ISP 862. Indigenous Archives. 3 Hours.
A discussion of what constitutes an archive, including the theory and methodology of archival collections, and an introduction to archiving as a profession. Includes a discussion of records management, with an emphasis on tribal archives collections and tribal records. Includes instruction on arrangement and description of tribal archival collections, funding, environmentally controlled storage, and disaster recovery planning. The class will specifically address the needs of tribal archives: tribal records, oral history interviews, photographs, litigation records, grant writing, and culturally sensitive materials. Students will learn about primary and secondary sources, different formats of writing professional research papers, and will produce a research paper at the end of the semester. LEC.
ISP 871. Community Health and Development. 3 Hours.
This course extends knowledge and skills for addressing issues in community health and development (e.g., substance abuse, adolescent pregnancy, child and youth development, prevention of violence). Students learn core competencies such as analyzing community problems and goals, strategic planning, intervention, and evaluation, and then apply these skills to issues that matter to them and to the communities they serve. (Same as ABSC 710.) LEC.
ISP 873. Environmental Justice. 3 Hours.
An examination of the impact of environmental justice and security in Indigenous communities throughout the world with a focus on tactics and strategies that incorporate Indigenous perspectives in responses and mitigation schemes. A survey of mining, dumping and storage of toxic and radioactive waste activities as related to Indigenous peoples. Case study analyses of economic, military and mining interests contrasted with perspectives emerging from cultural traditions and beliefs of Indigenous peoples and communities. LEC.
ISP 874. Natural Resource Management: Indigenous Perspectives. 3 Hours.
An examination of resource management issues in Indigenous communities throughout the world with a focus on tactics and strategies that incorporate Indigenous perspectives in the management schemes. Case study analyses of management techniques derived from European-based science with Indigenous traditions and beliefs. LEC.
ISP 875. Native and Western Views of Nature. 3 Hours.
A comparison of the attitudes and perspectives towards the natural world developed by different cultural traditions. A review of western attitudes and also the traditional ecological knowledge of Indigenous peoples toward management of natural resources, non-human animals, and the natural world. LEC.
ISP 876. Comparative Law. 2.5-3 Hours.
A general introduction to and comparison of major legal systems of the world, with special emphasis given to how those systems reflect differing cultural values in addressing common legal questions. A major goal of the course is to deepen the students' understanding of law and practice in the United States and to broaden their perspective of law beyond the boundaries of the common law systems. (Same as LAW 879.) Prerequisite: Permission from instructor. LEC.
ISP 877. Public Lands and Natural Resources. 2.5-3 Hours.
Devoted to the law and legal systems that govern the classification and use of one-third of America's land mass. Includes a survey of the acquisition and disposition of the public domain; general federal statutes and doctrines that affect public land law; and different forms of federal lands classifications, including national parks, scenic rivers, and grazing lands. (Same as LAW 975.) Prerequisite: Permission from instructor. LEC.
ISP 882. Native American Natural Resources. 2-3 Hours.
This course provides a detailed examination of natural resource law as it applies to Indian Country. Among the topics to be discussed are water law, environmental protection, and subsurface property rights. (Same as LAW 967.) LEC.
ISP 883. Sovereignty, Self-Determination and Indigenous Nations. 2-3 Hours.
Examines legal, governmental, political, social, cultural, and economic issues associated with American Indian tribal sovereignty and self-determination. Includes the source and scope of tribal sovereignty; the threats to tribal sovereignty; and the methods by which tribal sovereignty can be strengthened and revitalized. (Same as LAW 987.) Prerequisite: Permission from instructor. LEC.
ISP 898. Master's Non-Thesis. 1-6 Hours.
Course for Indigenous Studies students completing a portfolio Master's exam. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: Permission from instructor. RSH.
ISP 899. Master's Thesis. 1-6 Hours.
Course for Indigenous Studies Program students completing Master's thesis projects. Prerequisite: Permission from instructor. THE.