AMST 158
From Pocahontas to Crazy Horse: Representations of Native Americans in Popular Culture Spring 2015
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed HIST 156 / AMST 158
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

In this class, we will explore a variety of media to interrogate depictions of Native peoples in the United States. By examining popular representations of iconic Native Americans (Pocahontas, Squanto, Sacagawea, and Crazy Horse, among others) in film, children’s literature, websites, statuary and portraiture, etc., alongside scholarly interpretations of their lives, we can parse the creation and evolution of stereotypes about Native peoples and consider the cultural work that such imagery performs. For instance, why is it important to some people to imagine that Pocahontas lived happily ever after with John Smith, or that Squanto gave us the first Thanksgiving? Such national myths are based on kernels of historical reality, but they also elide important details and oversimplify the lives of both Native and European protagonists. By learning more about the complex Native individuals behind the stereotypes, we will face our assumptions, identify the cultural work these images perform, and question why certain portrayals of Native peoples continue to thrive. We will also interrogate other timely and recognizable images such as sports mascots and fictional characters to contemplate the ways that myths about Native pasts (and the stereotypes they engender) continue to affect real people living in this country today.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3195
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: brief response papers (1 page each), short papers (3-5 pages each), and a final paper (of approximately 10 pages); particular attention paid to developing students' drafting and revising processes as well as improving argumentation and style
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: potential history majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
HIST 156 Division II AMST 158 Division II
Attributes: HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada
HIST Group G Electives - Global History

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