Course Offerings

Machu Pichu in Aguas Calientes, Peru. Stock image from Unsplash. Machu Pichu in Aguas Calientes, Peru. Stock image from Unsplash.
Interested in taking a NAGIS course? Please see below our course offerings for Spring 2021. Fall 2021 courses will be announced soon! Contact nagis@miami.edu for additional information.

Spring 2021

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  • APY 418* - Introduction to Native and Indigenous Peoples and Perspectives

    Spring 2021

    Cross Listed With: AMS 334, APY 628, ECS 375, HIS 296, LAS 301, and MLL 322

    T/Th: 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.

    Instructor: Caroline LaPorte, J.D., c.laporte@umiami.edu


    Rooted in an Indigenous perspective, this course is intended to provide students with a critical overview of the experiences of Native and Indigenous Peoples within the United States and globally.* Students will have the opportunity to learn about historical injustices and contemporary issues Indigenous people face, and about the impact that Native social justice movements have in regards to these issues. Most importantly, students will be immersed in Indigenous teachings and worldviews. In the end, students will be able to answer the question: What does it mean to be Indigenous to a place?

    *As a note: This course will examine other global Indigenous populations through inclusion of other global Indigenous speakers, teachings, and readings. However, because the University of Miami is situated within the United States of America, this course will primarily be centered on the peoples who are Indigenous to this Land

  • SPA 322 - Continuidad y cambio en los Andes

    Spring 2021

    T/Th: 9:40 a.m. - 10:55 a.m.

    Instructor: Dra. Tracy Devine Guzmán, tdguzman@miami.edu


    ¿Existe un “mundo andino”? ¿Cómo ha sido representado, y por quiénes? ¿En qué tradiciones discursivas, políticas, filosóficas y culturales se inscriben las representaciones dominantes y marginadas? ¿A quiénes han servido? ¿A quiénes no?

    En este seminario, examinaremos la construcción del llamado mundo andino a través de la historiografía, la política y varias formas de producción cultural (ficción, testimonio, periodismo, cine, video, fotografía, música y artes plásticas). Enfocándonos en los casos de Bolivia, Ecuador, y Perú, estudiaremos varias representaciones de “lo andino” y de “la gente andina” para comparar perspectivas “internas” y “externas,” nacionales y extranjeras, indígenas y no indígenas, masculinas y femeninas, románticas y racistas, utópicas y apocalípticas. Cuestionaremos, al mismo tiempo, la hegemonía de esas dicotomías – tanto en la producción cultural como en el análisis académico – y veremos cómo han cambiado durante los últimos años gracias al empoderamiento de actores sociopolíticos “subalternos” y la paulatina democratización de los medios de comunicación.

    Empezaremos nuestro estudio en el siglo XVI con la producción de nuevos sujetos coloniales (“indios,” mestizos y criollos), a los cuales acompañaremos hasta los días de hoy. En el camino, incorporaremos a nuestro estudio a una variedad de otros protagonistas: indígenas, runas, pongos, campesinos, mineros, soldados, terroristas, niños, feministas, homosexuales, estudiantes, cholos, revolucionarios, ciudadanos, profesores y presidentes. Pasaremos por una serie de conflictos anticoloniales; por la época de la independencia y el establecimiento de nuevas repúblicas; y finalmente, por el largo y aún incompleto proceso de construir y consolidar los estados nacionales (o, para Benedict Anderson, los estados “imaginado como nacionales”).

    Acabaremos en el siglo XXI, reflexionando sobre la heterogeneidad de las sociedades andinas y el valor de la llamada “interculturalidad” como marco sociopolítico y herramienta analítica para entenderlas mejor.

  • SPA 501 - Producción cultural de los pueblos indígenas de/en las Américas

    Spring 2021

    T/Th: 1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

    Instructor: Dra. Tracy Devine Guzmán, tdguzman@miami.edu


    ¿Qué significa ser “indio,” indígena o nativo en el mundo de hoy? ¿Cómo ha cambiado el significado de estas palabas y sus referentes durante los últimos 100 años? ¿Quién ha tenido y quién debería tener el poder y el derecho a determinar o fijar esos significados? ¿Cuáles han sido las consecuencias para los pueblos que se consideran indígenas y para las sociedades dominantes que los rodean?  

    En este seminario, buscaremos contestar estas preguntas a partir del estudio de la historia y la producción cultural de las Américas, enfocándonos en los casos de Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Canadá, Estados Unidos, Guatemala, México y Perú. Analizando obras de ficción, de historiografía, y de teoría cultural y política, indagaremos en los significados de la “indigeneidad” en distintos contextos políticos, geográficos y temporales. Veremos, por un lado, cómo el significado de “lo indígena” y el hecho de “ser indígena” han cambiado radicalmente a través del tiempo y el espacio. Por otro lado, buscaremos características, creencias, experiencias e intereses en común entre políticos, escritores, intelectuales, artistas y activistas que se identifican con el “movimiento indígena” a nivel regional y global.

    A lo largo del semestre, trabajaremos con textos creados por y sobre sujetos nativos desde el inicio del siglo XX hasta la actualidad, enfocándonos en cómo la representación de “lo indígena” se ha transformado de acuerdo con los intereses y las prioridades de los autores y los pueblos en cuyo nombre pretenden hablar. Finalmente, consideraremos la función política y social de la producción cultural indígena y la compleja relación entre la palabra escrita en la tradición occidental y la historia oral en distintas tradiciones nativas. Concluiremos el seminario con tres preguntas: 1) ¿La producción cultural ha servido para marginalizar o liberar a los pueblos nativos? 2) ¿Cómo se puede descolonizar la palabra escrita? 3) ¿Cómo podemos aprender de una forma productiva y solidaria sobre y de comunidades a las cuales no pertenecemos?

Summer 2021

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  • SPA 318 - Indigeneity on the Big Screen (Latin American Cinema in Translation)

    Summer 2021

    Course Number: SPA 318

    Days: M/T/W/Th

    Time: 6:00 p.m. - 7:45 p.m. 

    Instructor: Professor Sam Johnson

    Prerequisite: ENG 106 or equivalent


    This course will examine the representation of Indigenous peoples in contemporary Latin American cinematic production of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Special attention will be dedicated to works from the past decade given the recent prominence of stories by and about Indigenous peoples as evidenced by the transnational production and success of films like the Oscar-winning Roma (2018); Oscar-nominated El abrazo del serpiente (2015); Ixcanul (2015); and También la lluvia (2011) among many others. Drawing on works from Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Perú, and Brazil, this course considers how recent cinema reflects the historical and contemporary marginalization of Indigenous communities, colonial histories, and intertwined issues of class, gender, race, language, land, and human rights. Film selections will be organized thematically to encourage comparative approaches and draw connections and comparisons among Indigenous communities throughout the Americas. This course also aims to situate each film within the history of its respective national cinema and the sociohistorical contexts of their stories and production processes. Additionally, students will engage film form and production through introductory level readings (Film Art, 2010) that will inform class discussions and assignments. Required films and readings will be available through streaming services, UM libraries, and/or Blackboard at no cost to students. Films include English subtitles. Readings and course discussions will be in English.

Fall 2021

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  • AMS 334 - North American Native and Global Indigenous Perspectives: Stories of Resistance and Resilience

    Fall 2021

    Cross Listed With: APY 418, APY 628, ECS 334, HIS 300, MLL 322

    Days: T/Th

    Time: 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.

    Instructor: Professor Caroline LaPorte, J.D. (Descendant, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians)


    Rooted in an Indigenous perspective, this course is intended to provide students with a critical overview of the experiences of Native and Indigenous Peoples within the United States and globally. Students will have the opportunity to learn about historical injustices and contemporary issues Indigenous people face and about the impact that Native-led social justice movements have in regards to these issues. Students will contrast Native and Global Indigenous worldviews, frameworks for approaching community issues (legal, spiritual, land-based, political, and cultural), and accompanying creation stories with those of the West. Students will be immersed in Indigenous teachings around kinship and language, and will have the opportunity to examine common historical, political, and modern impacts of colonization on Native and Indigenous ways of being and knowing. Participants in this course will be able to identify the different eras of federal Indian law and policy (pre-contact, contact, genocide and colonization, removal, allocation and assimilation, recognition, termination and self-determination) and be able to dive deeper into their own assumptions, which may or may not be based on inaccurate historical narratives. To this end, students will have gained a more accurate portrayal of the history of Native and Indigenous peoples and will develop an appreciation for the ongoing and historical experiences in these communities, as well as the resiliency and survivance found within. Participants in this course will have a solid understanding of the value systems in which Indigenous teachings, stories, languages, and worldviews are rooted and be able to explain how these value systems have  resisted colonial oppression since colonization. Success in this class will be measured by:

    1. Student ability to address and answer the core question of this course: What does it mean to be Indigenous to a place?
    2. Student ability to identify and explain the many ways in which settler colonialism and white supremacy have had a seriously detrimental impact on Native and Indigenous peoples, their worldviews and experiences; and
    3. Student willingness to confront internal bias and challenge their thinking using cultural humility as a model.

     

    In order to accomplish this, this course will prioritize Indigenous scholarship and will utilize various sources (peer-reviewed articles, Native literature, plays, movies and Native podcasts, as well as texts focused specifically on anti-racism) to encourage meaningful student engagement with the course topics. Students will be required to submit weekly reflection papers (addressing key themes around historical issues/modern impacts, Native and Indigenous identity/blood quantum and anti-Blackness/anti-Indigeneity, white supremacy/colonization, genocide, oral traditions/creation stories, gender, and more) and a formal research paper. As a group, students will lead their own discussion forum space to create community with one another as we address more emotionally challenging topics (Indian boarding schools, removal, land theft, genocide, cultural genocide, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, violence against Native women, and overall tensions around identity and white supremacy).

  • APY 204 - Principles of Linguistic Anthropology

    Fall 2021

    Course Number: APY 204

    Days: M/W/F 

    Time: 2:15 p.m. - 3:05 p.m.

    Instructor: Dr. Caleb Everett


    We learn how the study of diverse languages can better inform our understanding of human history, cognition, and cultures. The course is based in large measure on findings from Indigenous languages spoken in the Americas and elsewhere.

  • APY 356 - Florida Archaeology

    Fall 2021

    Course Number: APY 356

    Days: M/W

    Time: 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.

    Instructor: Dr. Traci Ardren


    Florida Archaeology is an intermediate-level course designed to provide an overview of the lavish archaeological record of the Florida peninsula. Arguably one of the richest spots for material research in North America, Florida has a wealth of archaeological sites from many different cultural periods. The archaeological record of Florida is unique due to environmental conditions that in certain locations have enabled extraordinary preservation of materials. Springs contain evidence of the first people to arrive in North America. Some of the most highly developed marine based chiefdoms existed in coastal Florida, as well as the southernmost examples of the mound building complex society known as the Mississippians. Finally, we have an extensive Spanish mission period only paralleled in the Southwest and one of the densest deposits of historic shipwrecks. Prehistoric and historic resources of Florida are underappreciated and often in threat of destruction due to continuous development. This course provides the background necessary to appreciate these resources and is appropriate for anyone interested in the deeper history of Florida.

  • BPH 321 - Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

    Fall 2021

    Course Number: BPH 321

    Days: M/W

    Time: 10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

    Instructor: Dr. Nicholas Metheny


    The focus of this course is on the understanding and implementation of strategies aimed at promoting health and preventing disease. It also focuses on optimal health maintenance and wellness support for individuals, families and communities using a structural approach. The content of the course includes health across the lifespan and resources associated with health promotion and includes units focused on Indigenous-specific structural stressors and resiliencies. Common health behavior theories will be discussed, as well as sociocultural perceptions of health and illness across cultures.

  • ECS 609 - Contemporary Representations of the Environment

    Fall 2021

    Course Number: ECS 609

    Days: Monday

    Time: 2:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. 

    Instructor: Dr. Hunter Vaughan


    From more conventional media such as feature fiction films (e.g. Wall-E, The Day After Tomorrow, Avatar), nature documentaries (e.g. An Inconvenient Truth, HBO’s Gasland), and television news coverage, to twenty-first century formats like Google Earth’s global mapping, bass fishing scanners, social media activism for Native and Indigenous voices, and in-dash monitors that depict miles-per-gallon, screen technology is increasingly used to mediate our relationship with surrounding ecosystems. This course will combine media studies, environmental studies, and critical theories of intersectionality (race, class, gender, and sexuality), postcolonial and Indigenous studies, and theories of globalization to give students a broad introduction to assessing and analyzing how diverse screen media are used to represent the human relationship to the environment, to construct values regarding the “natural,” and to shape popular perceptions and action around environmental issues such as climate change, animal extinction, Indigenous rights and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and natural resource use.  Moving beyond problems of representation, students will also explore problems of materiality or how our media practices impact the environment; how the materiality and representations of screen media are connected to problems of social power, identity politics, Indigenous agency and activism, and environmental justice; and how new digital media practices are changing the landscape of environmental sciences, communications messaging, and interdisciplinary research practices. In addition to reading key critical texts on film and media, environmental studies, environmental justice and Indigenous studies, and eco-ethics, students will develop formal and messaging analysis skills through looking at classical and recent films and mainstream television outlets (from network news to National Geographic shorts) variant goals as conservation and greenwashing efforts, including the ecotourism industry, non-profit environmental groups, social movements for Indigenous rights and sovereignty, and governmental bodies such as the National Parks Service.

  • SPA 322/POR 322 - Social Justice and Cultural Production in Latin America

    Fall 2021

    Course Numbers: SPA322 or POR 322

    Days: M/W

    Time: 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

    Instructors: Dr. Tracy Devine Guzman & Professor Lidiana de Moraes


    What is the role of cultural production in historical and ongoing struggles for social justice across Latin America? In this multi-lingual and transnational seminar, we seek to answer this question by examining the creation, reception, and use of literature, film, journalism, photography, and popular music in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Americas, beginning in the early-twentieth century.

    Grounded in an understanding of social power that stems from the legacies of colonialism and the persistence of a colonialist order, students will examine a variety of individual and collective perspectives on “justice” as they relate specifically to categories of work, class, race, ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, sexual identity, national origin, political affiliation, and intersections thereof. Moving into the twenty-first century, we will also consider how recent debates over environmental justice and speciesism complicate longstanding efforts to theorize and realize more equitable societies.

    Over the course of the semester, students will develop a greater understanding of how diverse efforts to foster social justice have transformed over time; how those efforts relate to a variety of ongoing national projects; and how cultural production has served to reflect, advance, and sometimes hinder democratic ideas, institutions, and governance.

    Prerequisite: SPA 301 or POR 212. While students will have an opportunity to engage cultural production from the Spanish-speaking Americas and Brazil, they need not be proficient in both language traditions to take this course. SPA students will do their work in Spanish, and POR students will do their work in Portuguese. Students with the ability to work in both languages will develop a specialized plan in consultation with the instructors but should register for the section in which they seek language credit.