Professor Kasey Jernigan
From Pocahontas to Chief Wahoo, Native Americans have been portrayed as noble savages, brave warriors, spiritual shamans, and Indian princesses, greatly shaping the collective imaginings of Native peoples. This class offers an introduction to the broad field of Native American studies with a focus on the themes of identity and (mis)representation. We will draw on work in anthropology, history, literature, art, film, politics, and current events to explore the complex relationship between historical and contemporary issues that indigenous peoples face in North America, with a focus on the United States. Keeping in mind popular culture and historical narrative, we will examine the foundations of Native (mis)representations, their constructions in-step with colonization, and their connections to critical issues facing Native communities, including legal and cultural identities, cultural revitalization, environmental racism, health inequities, gender and sexuality, and sovereignty. This class also pays special attention to resiliency in Native communities and the creative ways that Native peoples and communities engage with social media, art, design, film, activism, and more, to reclaim and reshape Native representations and Native imaginings.