Online Course Syllabus:
Native American History
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Emayzine Home
Instructor: Dr. Eric Mayer,
Office No. ScL26 Telephone: 245-4271 (ext. 2299)
All lecture notes, online quizzes and course resrouces and can be downloaded for free from the site. Please do not bring lecture notes to class…they are for home study and use only. Prerequisite: None—But there is an intensive amount of analytical writing in this course as well as critical thinking. However, it is assumed that most of you do not have college level or academic writing skills and there will be online help available.
*Note: Syllabus subject to possible revision
Requirements: Students must watch or listen to at least 30 minutes of national or international news per day. If you take the local newspaper or the Los Angeles Times make sure that you read the national and international news.The New York Timesis also an excellent freeon line newspaper. The key for doing well in this course and understanding the history that we cover is that you be informed as to what is happening about you. History is not "dead", it is constantly affecting your reality, and if it is dead, then we all are affected by the ghosts of the past. History is the analysis and understanding of processes that have created our present reality….you will need to be up on current events in order to be effective in the discussion sections.
Course Description: A survey of Native American history from the time of European Contact to the present. The course is essentially an attempt to give a voice to the “People Without History”, since history is almost always written by the conquerors and in this case that would be white, European males. Our area of focus will be the Indigene tribes and nations north of the Rio Grande river, but there will be some allusive comparisons to Azteca and Incan civilizations as well. Lecture content will emphasize the historical development of Native American society, politics, culture and religion. Then the course will examine how contact with whites altered preexisting tribal structure. In this sense we will analyze “how the west was lost” as Native Americans suffered what can only be describe as a conscious effort of genocide and ethnic cleansing on the part of a United States driven by emergent capitalism, militarism, rampant racism, and expansionism. But the story doesn’t end there as Indian reality will be examined in light of the twentieth century and what has been described as the “New Custerism” where White media and middle class society expropriates Native American culture and religion for box office profit and “New Age” spiritualism while US Indigenes continue to languish in Third World poverty. Hence, first Native American lands were commodified and taken and then their culture in the 20th century. Note: Because of the many years and regions that the course covers the lecture cannot be encyclopedic. Therefore the course will proceed through historical illustration. There is much reading in the course, but the student should not read to memorize. Understanding historical trends has nothing to do with memorization. Rather, students should browse read, in that you read for the main ideas for the chapter, or section and highlight accordingly. Be sure that you understand the main historical arguments that the author(s) make and why they make them, and you will do well in the course. In other words, do not lose sight of the forest because of the trees. It is the forests, the big chunks of history that we are concerned with understanding. Ultimately, the readings are a resource base that will provide the data you will use to write your essays. This is not a "lollipop" history course where everything turns out for the best. Native American history is an epic drama full of victories as well as horrifying atrocities. For this reason you will not be fed disconnected facts so common in courses that focus on what can only be described as American mythstory. In this sense great analytical importance will be placed on "imagining Indians", or how mainstream culture viewed them as "savages" and today as "noble savages". Of course neither interpretation is true, but rather reflects how we wish to "represent" Native Americans in order to justify the past and present. This course emphasizes critical thinking and understanding processes of causality that forged the saga of Native American reality between 1500 and 1988.
Required Texts:
First Peoples by Colin G. Calloway The American Holocaust by Stannard Both
Books are available for purchase at the VVC bookstore, College Books and Resources in the Wimbledon Shopping Center on Hesperia Road in Victorville, or you can order them online at Finally…there are lecture notes and links on the site that proceed in order. And you will click to them when you get to the course readings.
Attendance: Students must attend class regularly. Weekly attendance will be marked by completion of one discussion response over the material covered that week. However, if your absences are work related or due to family situations, or circumstances beyond your control we can work around this as long as you keep up with all readings and assignments. The key thing is that you let me know. It is the students’ responsibility to make sure that they have been dropped, reinstated, or are currently enrolled in the course. I will not do any grade changes that are related to attendance policy. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE BEEN DROPPED. DO NOT ASSUME THAT I WILL DROP YOU AS A MATTER OF COURSE DUE TO YOUR LACK OF ATTENDANCE
Grading: Students may turn in extra-credit film reviews, or research papers if they so desire as long as they clear the title or topic with the instructor first. The grade break down is as follows: Midterm = 25% of final grade; Final Exam = 25% of final grade; Book Review = 25% of final grade; and Discussion Postings = 25% of final grade. In order to pass the course all outstanding assignments or exams must be turned in by the day of the final examination. The Book Review is due on the day of the Final Exam. Finally the course is progressively graded in that grades can only help you. 90%-100% A 80% -89% B 70% -79% C 60% -69% D 0% -59% F
Course Mechanics: The course is lnternet driven. Therefore it is essential to surf the net regularly. Video tapes of my lectures are available. The video taped lectures are designed to complement the readings. On the video taped lectures we usually will not go over the readings, but on occasion I will lecture on them or from the chapter that is assigned. I encourage on line class participation in the forms of comments, questions, contention, and even debate. And there is a discussion sectionwhere you are required to sound off. My ultimate goal in the course besides teaching world history is to create students who will be able to argue logically, and back up their assertions with evidence. An objective of this course is to teach students the skills that they need to educate themselves. While the course is "text" driven I will suggest films and movies, that students can analyze either as on line individuals or as on line groups.. The course stresses on-line, team-learning interaction. This course will not be a passive learning experience, it will be highly interactive in terms of how you explain historical causality and outcome. Audio: R. Carlos Nakai Emergence: Songs of the Rainbow World Native American Flute Music "Dreamer's Chant" 1992