Approved Courses

The following classes have been approved for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Graduate Portfolio for the Spring 2016 Semester.

*The following information is provided for your convenience and is accurate at its posting.  Please check the official course schedule for the most up-to-date information.

ANT 391 (30569) / LAS 391 (39888) – Indigenous Peoples, Gender, and Politics (Velásquez Nimatuj, Irma Alicia)
This course will analyze various processes of survival and resistance of indigenous peoples in countries with indigenous majorities such as Guatemala, Bolivia and Mexico. The goal is to understand the current challenges indigenous people face and their various resistance strategies. The emphasis of the course will be on Guatemala, not because it is the best and sole example, but because it is a place where simultaneous complex processes of resistance, struggle and negotiation occur. Within this framework, the class will also center on the role of indigenous women as protagonists of complex collective stories of resistance, and as agents constantly looking for ways in which to challenge patriarchy, enacted and reproduced by the State and their own communities. Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj is a Maya scholar from Guatemala who will be a Visiting Professor in the Spring 2016. *Meets Thursdays 2:00pm-5:00pm, SRH 1.320.

ANT 391 (30573) / ILA 387 (44886) / LAS 381 (39840) – Penetrating Maya Thought (Van Akkeren, Ruud)
The indigenous documents of Guatemala are poorly known among Maya and Mesoamerican scholars. The Popol Wuj is the only document that is used occasionally, but even on that document scholars lack the basic data. In addition, there are some twenty other texts among which the Rabinal Achi, Memorial de Sololá or Título de Totonicapán that contain a wealth of information on history and religion. This course not only wants to show that they are indispensable for understanding Maya and Mesoamerican thought, but also that, unlike many scholars claim, there is a surprising continuity with the Classic Maya Lowlands, and that they go even further back in history and religion.  This course will take advantage of many documents and research materials available in the Benson Latin American Library and Rare Books collection.*Meets Mondays 9:00am-12:00pm, SRH 1.115.

ANT 392T (30610) / LAS 391 (39886) / MAS 392 (35359) – Mesoamerica And Borderlands (Menchaca, Martha)
The course will begin by exploring theoretical and applied goals shared by archaeology and social anthropology.  A comparative analysis of case studies will follow. The ancient and modern American Southwest and Mesoamerica  (Mexico and Central America) will be the emphasis of the geographical areas. Shifting political boundaries will exemplify how cultural landscapes change over time and space.  The readings will examine contemporary cultures and the ancient societies that lived in Mexico and the American Southwest.   Special attention will be given to the borders of Mexico.*Meets Wednesdays 2:00pm-5:00pm, SAC 5.118.

ARH 390 (20330) – Mesoamerican Iconography (Stuart, David)
This course offers an in-depth examination of an important topic in the representational art of symbolism of ancient Mesoamerica. No previous exposure or study to Mesoamerican art is required. Our focus this year is the “iconography of periodicity” – that is, the ubiquitous art and symbolism connected with calendar stations and associated ceremonies among the Aztec and Maya. Students will analyze the complex and highly varied imagery associated with these so-called period endings, using case studies that elucidate concepts in Mesoamerican religious belief and ritual practice, including world-renewal, ideologies of kingship, and varieties of royal performance. *Meets Thursdays 9:30am-12:30pm, ART 3.432.

EDC 385G (09735) – Identity, Agency, and Education (Urrieta, Luis)
Identity and agency have become increasingly important in research related to education and educational practice in both broad global and local contexts. This seminar will introduce students to relevant issues of identity and agency and how they pertain to education from mainly a cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, class and political perspective. We will consider broadly how different social and cultural theorists have written about identity, how identity is produced (both individually and in collectivity), and how identities shift. The main focus will be on the cultural production of identity and identity politics. We will study agency using a variety of lenses, but generally within a cultural, political, and activist framework. Some weeks we will not read articles/books related to education, but our goal in this class will be to make broader as well as specific ties to education and schooling both in theory and practice in U.S. and global contexts. *Meets Thursdays 7:00pm-10:00pm, SZB 526.

EDC 388R (09770) – Postmodern Analytical Methods (Nxumalo, Fikile)
This qualitative research methods course is designed for doctoral students with an interest in using postmodern theories (and their accompanying ontological and epistemological commitments) to think with data (Jackson & Mazzei, 2012). The primary approach taken in this course will be to work with selected postmodern/ poststructural theoretical concepts in relation to their methodological and knowledge-making possibilities in education research. We will engage with the broad category of ‘postmodern research’ in two key ways. In the first part of the course we will focus on post-qualitative research methods, with a particular emphasis on new material feminist, post-structuralist and posthumanist orientations that approach research (e.g. data and analysis) in different ways from conventional qualitative inquiry. We will pay particular attention to possibilities in these methods for troubling universal truths and inequities, making visible power relations, and complicating human subjectivity in educational contexts. In the second part of the course, we will engage with research methods that resonate with as well as critically encounter recent ‘post’ turns in qualitative research, such as selected Indigenous research methodologies, postcolonial and Black feminist theories. We will engage with the course topics in multiple ways, including close reading of texts, multi-media experiences, and guest lectures. We will also engage in in-class and out-of-class encounters with ‘data’ and‘analysis’, including but not limited, to interviews, document analysis and classroom observations. *Meets Wednesdays 4:00pm-7:00pm, SZB 526.

ILA 387 (44875) / LAS 381 (39825) – Colonial Space and Mapping (McDonough, Kelly)
In this interdisciplinary graduate seminar we will analyze the production and interaction of visual signs (written, painted, and cartographic) issuing from distinct cultures in the ever-changing temporal, social, and geographic space of colonial Latin America. Specifically, with an emphasis on the oftentimes unequal encounters between European and indigenous peoples, we will study how the cultural texts in question were both reflective and constitutive of the colonial experience. This course allows students to acquire and develop a rigorous theoretical framework and historical background for research related to colonial cultures in contact, particularly in the areas of: 1) the construction of identity in relation to interpretations and representations of self and others; 2) written and visual assertions of domination, subordination, negotiation, and appropriation; and 3) the circulation and impact of these texts in their own time, as well as the present day. *Meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30pm-2:00pm, BEN 1.118. 

LAL 385K (39542) – Intensive Nahuatl I (Sergio Romero--UT faculty--with Nahua instructor Sabina Cruz de la Cruz)       
Intensive cultural and literacy-focused training in an indigenous language at the beginning level in preparation for research. *Meets Mondays and Tuesdays 12:00pm-1:30pm, SRH 1.319.

LAL 385K (39543) – Intensive Nahuatl II (Sergio Romero--UT faculty--with Nahua instructor Sabina Cruz de la Cruz)          
Intensive cultural and literacy-focused training in an indigenous language at the beginning level in preparation for research. *Meets Mondays and Tuesdays 9:30am-11:00am, SRH 1.319.

MAS 392 (35365) – Visualizing Indigeneity in the Americas (Tahmahkera, Dustin)
This interdisciplinary graduate seminar introduces critical and cultural issues concerning the production, representational, and receptive practices of indigenous visual media in the Americas. Through methods in indigenous cultural studies, media studies, and visual anthropology, we will engage in critical inquiry and analysis of independent and mainstream 20th and 21st-century productions by or about Native Peoples in the U.S., Mexico, and other sites of media construction. How, we will ask, are indigeneities—or the performative ways and interpretive modes of what constitutes being indigenous—visualized and contextualized on screen? How are indigenous social and political topics, such as identity construction and tribal sovereignty, represented, distorted, and re-envisioned in media productions and discourse? The seminar emphasizes indigenous film and television as interlocutors and embodiments of expressive sovereignty, media activism, decolonial pedagogy, cultural reclamation, visual repatriation, and transnational mediascapes. *Meets Wednesdays 2:00pm-5:00pm, CLA 0.120.

Previously Approved Courses


ANT 384M (Rodriguez, Enrique) Aztecs and Spaniards - Fall 2012

ANT 383M (Rodriguez, Enrique) Empires: Aztec and Spanish - Fall 2013

ANT 391 (Menchaca, Martha) Oral Traditions and History - Fall 2013, Spring 2015

ANT 391 (Merabet, Sofian) Anthropology Between Culture and Society - Fall 2014

ANT 391 (Speed, Shannon) Theorizing from the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas - Fall 2013

ANT 391 (Sturm, Circe) The Politics and Conditions of Indigeneity - Fall 2012

ANT 391 (Sturm, Circe) The Politics and Conditions of Indigeneity – Spring 2015

ANT 392Q (Bolnick, Deborah & Kim TallBear) Race and Science – Spring 2015

Art and Art History

ARH 390 (Guernsey, Julia) Topics in Precolumbian Art (with a tentative title of: Situating and Critiquing the Formulation of “Elite” or “High Culture” in Ancient Mesoamerica) - Fall 2014

ARH 390 (Guernsey, Julia) The Relaciones Geograficas in 16th Century Mesoamerica - Spring 2013

ARH 390 (Stewart, David) Maya Hieroglyphs and Iconography - Fall 2012

ARH 390 (Stuart, David) The Painting Traditions of Mesoamerica - Spring 2013


ENG 395M (James Cox) Contemporary Native American Fiction and Theory - Spring 2013


GRG 395D / LAS 388 (Knapp, Gregory) Latin America: Culture, Environment and Development - Fall 2012, F2013, F2014 

GRG 396T (Beach, T) Geoarchaeology of Mesoamerica - Fall 2014  

GRG 395D / LAS 388 (Stuart, David) Latin America: Cultures, Environment and Development – Fall 2015


HIS 350 (Smith, Susan Deans) Rethinking the Conquest of Mexico - Spring 2013

HIS 389 (Martinez, Anne M.) Religion in the Borderlands - Spring 2013

Spanish and Portuguese

ILA 387 (McDonough, Kelly) Studies in Iberian and Latin American Literatures and Cultures: Spanish TOPIC: Indigenous Cultures in Colonial Mexico - Fall 2014

ILA 387 (Arias, Arturo) Contemporary Mesoamerican Indigeneities - Spring 2015

Latin American Studies

LAS 366 / HIS 350 (Deans Smith, Susan) Rethinking the Conquest of Mexico - Spring 2013 

LAS 366 (Deans Smith, Susan) Religion, Conquest and Conversion in Mexico and Peru - Spring 2013

LAS 381 / ARH 390 (Guernsey, Julia) The Relaciones Geograficas in 16th Century Mesoamerica - Spring 2013

LAS 388 / GRG 395D (Knapp, Gregory) Latin America: Culture, Environment and Development - Fall 2012, F2013, F2014


LAW 397C (Dulitsky, Ariel) Human Rights Law Clinic – Fall 2015

Religious Studies

LAS 366 (Deans Smith, Susan) Religion, Conquest and Conversion in Mexico and Peru - Spring 2013

R S 383C / HIS 381 (Graber, Jennifer) Religion and Empire – Spring 2015