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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Dr. Rhonda Dass

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rhonda dass


2009 Ph.D. Folklore, Indiana University, Bloomington.

2009 Ph.D. American Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington

2005 MA Folklore focus in Museum Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington

2002 BS Art History, University of Wisconsin, Superior

2002 BFA Painting/Weaving, University of Wisconsin, Superior





Identity formation and the expression of identity through visual arts underlie her research into Native American art – traditional, non-traditional, and reconstituted traditions. Globalization, tourism and nationalism and the influence these have on culture groups in their identity formation also collide with the pervasive consumerism that turns cultural traits into commodities. Through the flow of resources, the trail of these commoditized heritage items illuminate contact, conflict and power struggles between communities. This is most evident in the tattoo community where visual signs of cultural identity are shown to the world.

Areas of specialization include cultural anthropology, American Indigenous Studies, Museum Studies, applied anthropology, business anthropology, oral traditions, tribal sovereignty, activism and cultural change, popular culture, body art expressions cross-culturally, zombies, and the culture of fear. Dass is the director for the American Indigenous Studies program. Additionally, Dr. Dass is a practicing artist who works in the mediums of oil painting, tattooing, and weaving.


Classes Taught at Minnesota State University, Mankato

·         ANTH 260 Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies:  Folklore of Fear

·         ANTH 261 Tattoos, Taboos, and T-shirts: The Culture of Body Art

·         ANTH 333 Ethnographic Film

·         ANTH 414/514 Museology

·         ANTH 444/544 Native Americans of North America

·         ANTH 431/531 Applied Cultural Research

·         ANTH 485/585 Business Anthropology

·         ANTH 485/585 Topics: Foodways

·         ANTH 486/586 Workshop: Professionalism

·         ANTH 602 Research Methods Seminar

·         AIS 101 Intro to American Indigenous Studies

·         AIS 210W Oral Traditions

·         AIS 220W Introduction to Tribal Sovereignty

·         AIS 230W American Indians of Minnesota

·         AIS 240W American Indian Women

·         AIS 300W American Indian Leaders

·         AIS 340 American Indians in Film

·         AIS 355 Museum Science and Representation

·         AIS 380 The Sacred Landscape

·         AIS 410 American Indian Folklife

·         AIS 460 Behaving Like Relatives

·         HONR 401 American Indian Leadership

·         MUSE 200W Introduction to Museum Studies