Fall 2023

Indigenous Books and Art: A Boundless Approach to Texts and Images

Listed in: American Studies, as AMST-238


Kiara M. Vigil (Section 01)


In September 2023 the “Boundless” Exhibition will open at the Mead Art Museum featuring Native American artists and books from the Kim-Wait/Eisenberg Native American Literature Collection. This course enables students to learn about Native American literature and art production through the “Boundless” exhibit, and through readings and research related to Native American artistic traditions and literary practices. As an interdisciplinary course, taught within American Studies, students will work with texts from the Amherst Native Literature collection and choose a Native artist from the Mead’s exhibit to study in more depth. Some questions we will consider in our class discussions: What is the relationship between text and image within different Native American artistic traditions? From ledger books to the work of Mary Sulley and more contemporary Native performers and artists, how have Indigenous creators used the site of culture to contend with the shifting challenges that arise out of settler colonialism? How have Native artists and writers collaborated to produce cultural projects that celebrate Indigenous epistemologies? How do American and Indigenous artistic practices and traditions, in terms of literature, visual art, and film, overlap, critique, or enliven one another? This course is centered around Indigenous approaches to learning and will enable students to deepen their understanding of the relationships between research, museums, archives, and Indigenous cultural representations that contend with the legacies of colonization. Students will produce a final assignment that contributes to the Mead Museum’s “Boundless” Exhibit.

Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Vigil.

Pending Faculty Approval

How to handle overenrollment: Preference will be given to students completing the Five College NAIS Certificate program, American Studies majors, Art & the History of Art majors, and first and second year students.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: collaborative group work, readings and discussion, field trips, artistic work, independent research, visual analysis, oral presentations, and writing/storytelling.

AMST 238 - LEC

Section 01
W 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM CONV 302
F 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM CONV 302

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Decolonizing Museums: Representing Native America in National and Tribal Museums Amy Lonetree Amherst Books TBD
Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract b 2019 Phil Deloria Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


Other years: Offered in Fall 2023