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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Maria E Garcia
CHID 280
Seattle Campus

Indigenous Encounters: Politics, Culture, and Representation in Latin America

Explores the contemporary cultural and political transformations advanced by indigenous groups and their advocates in Latin America. Examines the concept of indigeneity, the cultural politics of indigenous mobilization, and the effects of international development policies on indigenous communities. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 280.

Class description

The images of, ideologies about and insecurities over “Indians” have had a powerful impact all over the globe. In particular, since the first encounters between European and Native peoples in the territory now known as America (North, Central and South), the “imagined” Indian has played a critical role in shaping ideas of civilization, nationhood, and progress. This lecture explores these early discourses as well as more recent ones regarding the “return” of Indigenous peoples to public life. Additionally, in this course we will interrogate important debates about the relationship between social science and Indigenous struggles by exploring representations of Indigenous peoples in film, literature, the media, and academic writings. We will delve into ethnographic explorations of Indigenous struggles, and contemplate the implications of Indigenous resistance that has included the “post-modern” rebellion of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, the emergence of transnational Indigenous intellectuals in universities and cyberspace, and organized protests against mining and oil in the Amazon and Andes. While our focus will be on the Americas, we will also consider the politics and poetics of indigenous representations in other parts of the world. Finally, we will critically examine central concepts like “culture,” “gender,” and “race” that are part of the discourses of authenticity and survival that shape the ways in which scholars, state officials, and Indigenous leaders and intellectuals engage each other.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Gai-Hoai Thi Nguyen
Date: 04/24/2013