SPANISH 472 - Indigenous Societies
Fall 2020, Section 001 - Indigenous Peoples of the Americas
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Spanish (SPANISH)
Department: LSA Romance Languages & Literatures


Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of department.
Enforced Prerequisites:
Nine credits chosen between SPANISH 279 and 399; or two RCLANG 324 and six credits chosen between SPANISH 279 and 399.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course will focus on indigenous societies in the Americas and how we perceive them today. One of its purposes is to give students an idea of how much we know about some of them but, most of all, how much we ignore. It will also explore the difficult relationship between Western academic disciplines such as Anthropology (physical, cultural, and social), Archaeology, and Historiography, and indigenous peoples of the world. The readings and class discussions will try to explore the ways in which indigeneity was created from said disciplines. In order to do so, we will focus on some recent classics texts that had an enormous impact on the ways in which the non-specialists (that is, the general public) view indigenous peoples today.

We will start by reading Carolyn Dean’s book on material culture in the Andes. Later we will move to read Frank Salomon’s book on the way in which the Khipu tradition in the Andes is kept today in a community not so far from Lima, Peru’s capital. The controversy about ethics prompted by the unfair and sometimes inhuman treatment given to the Yanomami by some anthropologists is recorded and analyzed in Robert Borofsky’s Yanomami. The Fierce Controversy.

At the end of the course, we will pass the mike to the indigenous subjects themselves and will try to listen to what they have to say. The books that will close the course are Nuestra Arma es nuestra palabra, by Subcomandante Marcos (about the Chiapas, Mexico, insurgent indigenous movement), and Custer Died for Your Sins. An Indian Manifesto, by Vine Deloria Jr

This course counts as elective credit for the Spanish minor.

Class Format:

As a DC (Distance due to COVID) course, all aspects of this course will be fully compatible with remote online learning. Course instruction is remote and synchronous. Enrolled students are expected to be available remotely during all scheduled class times. Testing for this course will be asynchronous and will consist of take-home question essays and/or research papers that will be submitted via Canvas during a designated time frame.


SPANISH 472 - Indigenous Societies
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM

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