The Maymester program offered by the Department of English offers undergraduate students the opportunity to explore language and literature during a four-week course commencing at the end of the spring semester in May.

Course Goals and Expectations

This course is designed to collapse the distance between what we all imagine about Native American lives and how those lives are expressed on the ground, to bring USC students into direct contact with their Native peers and vice versa, to collectively and productively question the assumptions we share about culture and communication, and to, with the final documentary project, share our discoveries with a wider audience. This is not a study of Native life; rather, it is a study with Native peoples and between Native people and the wider world. Students will have a chance to socialize with and interview tribal members, attend cultural events (such as powwows), examine tribal structures and government, schools, and engage in cultural activities (subsistence gathering and fishing, etc.). This course is ideal for American Culture and Ethnicity, English, History, and Cinema students.

All students are expected to read a great deal, write daily, and interact socially and professionally with a great number of people of all ages in the broader Native community. Students are also expected to be able to work and travel independently as they document their experiences and exhibit the motivation and self-direction necessary for independent work.

Featured Videos and Testimonies

The American Indian Lives Project: Volume 1, Ojibwe Country
The Poet in Paris 2012
Bookpacking Maymester in Louisiana

The American Indian Lives Project: Volume 1, Ojibwe Country

The Poet in Paris 2012

Bookpacking Maymester in Louisiana

Student Testimonies

“This has been absolutely one of my favorite, most enjoyable, most enriching, most fun, most you-name-it courses I have taken at USC. I feel I have grown both as a poet and a person, and you can’t put any kind of price on that. If I could take this class again I would. And twice on sunday. And especially if it lasted for a whole semester.”

Billy Youngblood (Poet in Paris)

“I also just want  to thank you for allowing me this opportunity and pushing me and my work to even further dimensions. I haven’t written this much poetry in so long–it’s a great renewing feeling. And all of the guest poets left me with something to think about, work on, try out–I’ve really had the most amazing experience. I only wish it could have lasted longer.”

Ariel C. Smith (Poet in Paris)

Contact Details

USC Department of English

3501 Trousdale Parkway
Taper Hall of Humanities 404
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354

Office Hours

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