Settler sciences and technologies deployed by Europeans colonizing Turtle Island (what settlers called North America) were introduced as weapons of Indigenous termination. From medical violation, to anthropological theft, and industrial pollution, settler technoscience objectified and appropriated Indigenous people and lands, and attempted to displace Indigenous knowledge in the pursuit of settler supremacy. Indigenous bodies were cast as victims, objects and sometimes the tools of this project. And yet, as tools and objects, Indigenous peoples took up settler technoscience in a multitude of ways that failed (both purposefully and not) to adhere to the colonizing mission, incorporating Indigenous knowledges and orientations, subverting settler science as a source of authority, and positioning science as a site of Indigenous sovereignty. The practice of taking up science as a tool of decolonization has become explicit in recent decades as expressly Native sciences now shape tribal funding, college education, and negotiations with international governing bodies. This course will trace the history of Native science across different nations and disciplines from the antebellum period when settler sciences were taking shape in civilian institutions to the present when Native science is professionalizing and being codified. We will read primary sources and scientific treatises by Indigenous leaders, activists, and scientists alongside secondary sources in Indigenous science and technology studies (STS), history, and postcolonial and queer theory.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
attendance and class participation, two 4-page research papers, and a final creative project (TBD with instructor) or 8- to 10-page paper
American Studies majors and Science and Technology Studies concentrators
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This course will explore how settler sciences have been used as a technology of difference making, dispossession, and genocide in United States history. It will also provide students a theoretical toolkit and historical perspective by which they can grapple with the fact that power structures like settler technoscience can be a source of both colonization and liberation.
AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
AMST Critical and Cultural Theory Electives