Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in American Studies (MAST)


Interdisciplinary Studies

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Stacy Keltner

Second Advisor

Dr. Miriam Brown Spiers


The contention of this Capstone is that Native America is the foundation and should be the center of American Studies. One way to facilitate such an effect on the discipline is to expose community college students to American Studies early, by offering an elective course about Native American communities within the US. The heart and soul of this Capstone applied project is a syllabus for an American Studies course in Native American Histories and Cultures. It is an elective, introductory, survey course that that covers four important aspects of Indigeneity: Indigenous Histories, Native American Politics and Activism, Indigenous Women and QUILTBAG folks, and Native American Cultural Production. It is designed to be taught in the Southeastern United States, primarily at community colleges, but can also be effective in the first two years at university. For the sake of manageability and brevity, the syllabus is restricted to Indigenous nations within what is now referred to as the United States, including the Native nations in what is now the states of Alaska and Hawai'i. In at least one reading assignment, Indigenous peoples in US territories are also included. Parts of the syllabus are imagined, the school. the names of buildings, phone numbers, and the mascot, etc. However, all of the reading assignments, films, and field assignment locations are 100% real. It is set up for Fall semester 2022 but is adaptable to any semester in any year. The syllabus is accompanied by a Reflective Essay containing a review of all the literature consulted for the project, which includes sections on "A Place for Native America in American Studies," "Native American Pedagogy," "Material for the Syllabus," "Reflections on the Applied Project," and "My Place in this Scholarship." The syllabus is Appendix #1 to the essay and Appendix #2 is six original, interactive articles about Indigenous Women activists and activist organizations. At least 90% of the books, articles, art, and films assigned in the syllabus are generated by Native American individuals or collaborators. The hope of this project is that it will contribute to decolonization, activism, and the academy, by uplifting Native voices and concerns, challenging preconceived notions, and correcting assumptions, while simultaneously enlightening a broader swath of the US population, inspiring them to be good and welcome allies to Indigenous peoples everywhere.