Madagascar was largely isolated from the rest of the world from its separation from the continent of Gondwana 180 million years ago until the appearance of mariners in outrigger canoes bringing a syncretic Indonesian and African culture about 2000 years ago. Biologists view the diversification of its often unique plants and animals and a great natural experiment in biological evolution. Some anthropologists have viewed the diversification of human communities as a great experiment in cultural evolution, and others have argued against this.
This lecture course will present information on the geology, plants, animals, human biology and language, archaeology, history, social groups, politics, and religions of Madagascar from the Age of Dinosaurs until the 21st century. A variety of literature will be on reserve or available digitally.
A list of more than 20 possible topics will be available to participants with the syllabus in the first week of the course.
An ability to read French could be helpful, but not at all necessary.
The only assignment is a research paper of 10-15 pages or a 15 minute power point investigating a problem of interest to the student. The students will present their work to the Seminar for discussion.
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