Welcome to American Indian Studies

American Indian Studies at UIUC is an interdisciplinary, hemispherically-oriented program with strengths in cultural studies, multi-modal textualities, gender and sexuality, language reclamation and vitalization, decolonizing methodologies, and public history. AIS benefits from active and sustaining partnerships with other vibrant collaborators on campus, including the Center for Indigenous Science, the Humanities Research Institute, and the Native American and Indigenous Language Lab.

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With courses that explore sound studies, decolonial love, Indigenous film and new media, queer Indigenous studies, activist anthropology, Latinx Indigenous migrations, and Indigenous women writers of the Midwest, AIS draws students from multiple disciplines across campus.

Undergraduate students interested in graduate school or careers in public administration, education, public relations, marketing, politics, and government take AIS courses to learn about the worlds, histories, representations, and political struggles of Indigenous peoples locally and internationally.

AIS graduate seminars attract M.A. and Ph.D. students from such disciplines as English, Anthropology, History, Education, Middle Eastern Studies, Slavic Studies, and Theatre. As a member of the Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies, AIS offers students taking the graduate or undergraduate minor access to resources, fellowships, and programs at The Newberry Library and McNickle Center.

Block Reference

Highlighted Courses

Kiowa Humanity book cover

AIS 101: Intro to American Indian Studies

Fall 23: Professor: Jacki Rand -- Meets: Mondays, Wednesdays 1 p.m.-1:50 p.m. Discussion sections: Fridays, 12-12:50 p.m, or 1-1:50 p.m. Interdisciplinary introduction surveys the stories, histories, and lands of tribal peoples who became known as "American Indians"

Course Description


AIS 503 Oddkin: Rethinking Relations in Indigenous Literary and Visual Texts

Professor: Deena Rymhs -- Oddkin: Rethinking Relations in Indigenous Literary and Visual Texts: In “How Do We Behave as Good Relatives?” Daniel Heath Justice writes about “making kin as oddkin […] where the range of relatives to whom we are responsible extends far beyond our biological relatives and, indeed, the category of the human itself.”

Course Description

Islands of Decolonial Love

AIS 275: Indigenous Film and New Media

Spring 2023 -- When you think of Native Americans, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Did you think of something Modern or historical? Do you imagine Natives in space? Did you imagine Natives time travelling? If you didn't imagine any of those things, it is understandable. But did you know that Indigenous People have films that imagine themselves in all of these places.

Course Description

Queer Indigenous Studies

AIS 490: Queer Indigenous Studies

Queer Indigenous Studies: This seminar will delve into the burgeoning field of queer Indigenous studies. Topics to be explored include the origins of queer Indigenous studies in 1980s Indigenous and women of color feminisms, the development and complexities of the term "Two-Spirit," queer Indigenous relationships to body and land, ongoing legacies of violence against queer Indigenous people, and reclamation of cultural and spiritual roles.

Course Description