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.

Fall 2022

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  • Arab Cultures: A Cultural History of the Arab World

    Section Number: ARB 312

    Days: Mon/Wed

    Time: 5:05 p.m. - 6:20 p.m.

    Instructor: Dr. Suja Sawafta


    This interdisciplinary course is an inquiry into the defining characteristics, and diversity, of Arab culture. The course covers the main points of Arab cultural history, from Pre-Islamic times to the period following independence from European political colonization, through oral and written literature, films, and historical and critical works. In addition to introducing students to the aesthetic heritage of the Arab world, we will discuss colonizing as well as colonized communities, oral versus literate worlds, female versus male spheres, rural versus urban sensibilities, traditional versus modern lifestyles, and autochthonous versus Euro-American practices--and the ways in which they come into contact with each other. This course is taught in English and does not fulfill the CAS foreign language requirement.

  • Blood and Chocolate: Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica

    Section Numbers: APY 345 or APY 616

    Days: Mon/Wed

    Time: 6:35 p.m. - 7:50 p.m.

    Instructor: Dr. Traci Ardren


    This course provides an introduction to one of the great cultural regions of the ancient world. Mesoamerica, the area stretching from northern Mexico to western Honduras, is a region of great geographical and cultural diversity. Many important ancient societies developed within this area, such as the well-known Aztecs and Maya, and lesser known Olmec, Teotihuacanos, and Mixtec. All of these ancient cultures built upon an agricultural foundation of corn, beans, and squash that survives today as the basic foodstuff of the region. Most of these cultures were ruled by royal kings and priests who practiced astronomy, mathematics, and hieroglyphic writing. Ancient Mesoamerica also contains one of the richest and most complicated prehistoric artistic records. It is the locus of a long history of theoretical research on the origin of food production and the development of social stratification; this makes it an important region for any archaeologist to understand. Despite living through 500 years of Spanish colonialism, many aspects of ancient Mesoamerican life continue today in a modified form and thus a grounding in the archaeological record in also useful for students of cultural anthropology. Students will deepen their understanding of this particular region and the social processes at work in the rise and fall of multiple complex societies. Through critical reading and group discussion we will evaluate how data is used to make bridging arguments in the study of prehistoric societies and how knowledge of indigenous cultures is consumed by the media and other modern outlets.

    Chocolate was many things in ancient Mesoamerica-- a sacred plant, a royal food, a trade item, a substance that carried energy to the gods. Like many other foods, it was much more than something to eat. Culturally specific ideas about diet and cuisine will be a theme throughout the course. Blood sacrifice is perhaps the most notorious aspect of ancient Mesoamerican cultures, although it is a feature of religious practice around the world. We will deconstruct preconceptions and biases about this practice in order to understand how violence and belief can be used to control populations as well as to contact the divine. We begin with an examination of the many different types of data that are available to scholars of ancient Mesoamerica. The origin of settled life and agriculture are early important milestones followed by the origins of hierarchy and urban life. We then move into the Maya area for a survey of the processes of social evolution that led to early kingship and royal polities. The earliest ancient urban center in this region is the great central Mexican city of Teotihuacan where a cosmology arose that influenced many other Mesoamerican political systems. We survey later lowland Maya civilization, including a discussion of the hieroglyphic record and the supposed “Maya collapse.” We conclude with an examination of recent excavations at the Aztec capital and the cataclysmic changes brought about by the arrival of the Spanish. Periodic discussions of news items or popular culture uses of the archaeological past will be used to explore the political and economic implications of how knowledge is produced and consumed. Archaeological excavations will be the primary data source, supplemented by art historical analyses, epigraphic decipherments, ethnohistoric accounts, and modern ethnographies.

  • Contemporary Media Representations of the Environment

    Section Number: ECS 609

    Days: Monday

    Time: 12:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

    Instructor: Dr. Meryl Shriver-Rice


    This course will combine media studies, environmental studies, and critical theory to give students a broad introduction to ways in which screen media are used today to represent both the natural world and also environmental issues such as climate change, animal extinction, and natural resource use. From more conventional media such as feature fiction films (e.g. Wall-e, The Day After Tomorrow, Avatar), documentary films (e.g. An Inconvenient Truth, HBO’s Gasland), and television news coverage, to more niche formats like Google Earth’s global mapping and in-dash monitors that depict miles-per-gallon, screen technology has long been and is increasingly used to mediate our relationship with surrounding ecosystems. Students will look at mainstream television channels (e.g. Discover, National Geographic, and the Weather Channel) alongside the digital campaigns of agencies and institutions directly aimed at conservation efforts, including the ecotourism industry, non-profit environmental groups, and governmental bodies such as the National Parks Service. In addition, this course will investigate the increasing role of interactive media in museums and science centers, as well as the rising power of social media in disseminating news regarding environmental issues.

  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

    Section Number: BPH 321

    Days: Mon/Wed

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

    Instructor: Dr. Nicolas Metheny


    The focus of this course is on the understanding the theoretical basis of health disparities and health behavior change. Drawing from social-ecological, intersectionality, psychological, and public health theories, students will learn to focus on upstream causes of disease and multilevel responses to promote health equity. The content of the course includes a special emphasis on health promotion across the lifespan and within marginalized communities (e.g. Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color [BIPOC]) in the United States.

  • Indigenous Feminisms

    Section Numbers: AMS 334, APY 418, APY 628, ECS 372, GSS 350, HIS 396, or MLL 322

    Days: Tu/Th

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

    Instructor: Professor Caroline LaPorte


    This course will provide students with teachings of Indigenous feminism, Indigenous matriarchal world views and justice systems, on two-spirit identities and roles, and on movement building and pervasive equity issues within mainstream feminism (both academic and political) and anti-violence spaces. This class will also focus on violence against Native women across the span of United States history, as an ongoing tool of colonization and genocide and as an intentional act playing out across the power dynamics that continue to exist between political sovereigns. Students can expect to learn about additional issues such as Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls, the Violence Against Women Act, gender-based violence and key Indigenous intersectional issues and frameworks from a historical and legal perspective, as well as from an activist angle. This class is taught by Caroline LaPorte who is Anishinaabe and an immediate descendant of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and who works directly in the Indigenous anti-violence field at the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center. 

  • Indigenous Women's Rights

    Section Number: LAW 684

    Days: TBD

    Time: TBD

    Instructors: Professor Denisse Cordova & Professor Tamar Ezer


    This course on Indigenous women’s rights is rooted in human rights law. It critically examines existing international and regional human rights protections, identifying gaps and opportunities for expansion. Materials by Indigenous advocates and scholars complement international and regional human rights documents, such as the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (ADRIP). The course is grounded in an understanding that the human rights violations Indigenous women endure are multidimensional, collective in nature, and intertwined with the rights of Nature.

  • On Identity and Difference: Cultures and Cultural Production from and about "Spanish" America

    Section Number: SPA 303

    Days: Tu/Th

    Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

    Instructor: Dr. Tracy Devine Guzmán


    This course introduces students to interrelated historical processes, political trends, social dynamics, and forms of cultural production from so-called “Latin” America, with an emphasis on countries where Spanish is the dominant language. Beginning with the pre-Columbian period, students will survey Conquest and colonial rule before examining a series of revolutionary movements and declarations of national independence across the Americas. We will consider a variety of 19th and 20th-century nation-building discourses before concluding with a study of the social, political, economic, and cultural conundrums that have shaped the region since the turn of the millennium.   

    By analyzing a variety of texts, ranging from historiography, literature, and cultural critique, to politics, music, and cinema, students will appreciate the construction and transformation of individual, community, national, and transnational identities as they have interacted with the forces of global capital since the late 1400s. By interpreting testimonial narratives from throughout the region, we will see how diverse social subjects (e.g., intellectuals, political leaders, revolutionaries, artists, urban workers, campesinos, students, children) have adopted, manipulated, rejected, and reformulated the identitarian categories through which they have been interpellated. Fundamental to these discussions will be the question of how these categories have been racialized differently over time and space.

    Class will be conducted in Spanish, and students will prepare readings in Spanish, and occasionally in English.

Spring 2022

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  • Amazônia

    Section Numbers: POR 322 or POR 691

    Days: Tu/Th

    Time: 9:40 a.m. - 10:55 a.m.

    Instructor: Dr. Tracy Devine Guzmán


    This course offers a critical introduction to the historical formation of the Amazon as a place and an idea. Beginning with colonial encounters of the 16th century and concluding with the interrelated human and environmental crisis of the 2020s, students will consider several of the dominant narratives that have come to shape popular ideas about the region and its peoples, as well as a compendium of lesser-known perspectives that call into question the hegemony of widespread imaginaries. We will organize our study chronologically, analyzing chronicles, works of fiction, journalism, historiography, images, film, and music to understand how the cultural and theoretical production of the Amazon relates over time with its social, economic, and political structures.

    The course will be conducted in Portuguese, with readings in Portuguese and occasionally in English. Pre-requisite: POR 202 or special permission of the instructor.

  • Black and Native Literatures

    Section Numbers: AAS 390, AMS 322, or ENG 396

    Days: M/W/F

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

    Instructor: Dr. Marina Magloire


    This course explores the historic solidarities, tensions, and possibilities between Black and Native communities in the Americas through literature. We begin with early American encounters between enslaved people and the indigenous people of the US and the Caribbean, navigating a complex landscape in which Indigenous communities could be enslaved or enslavers and could offer Black maroons haven or harm. As we move into the twentieth century and the present, we will examine the ways that Black and Native communities try to envision a world where Native sovereignty enables Black liberation, and vice-versa.  

  • Caribbean History I

    Section Number: HIS 317

    Days: Tu/Th

    Time: 2:40 p.m. - 3:55 p.m.

    Instructor: Dr. Kate Ramsey


    This course will introduce students to major topics and debates in Caribbean history from the fifteenth to the early nineteenth centuries. We will begin with the political, economic, and cultural dynamics of fifteenth-century Caribbean Indigenous societies, then turn to the cataclysmic impact of Spanish conquest in the region following Columbus’s 1492 arrival. Working with primary sources in UM Libraries and the Lowe Art Museum, we will study the catastrophe of this history in combination with histories of Indigenous resistance and survival. In particular, we will trace how Indigenous polities in the southeastern Caribbean claimed sovereignty over islands, engaged in warfare and diplomacy, and built and defended societies beyond the bounds of European imperial rule. As the semester continues, key areas of focus will include the rise of Havana, Cuba as a major Spanish Caribbean port city; seventeenth-century piracy by British, French, and Dutch privateers; the establishment by those powers of colonies in the region and the institution of largescale plantation economies based on the production of sugarcane and other cash crops through the labor of enslaved Indigenous people, indentured Europeans, and, in much larger numbers by the late seventeenth century, enslaved West Africans. Our work on the eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century Caribbean will spotlight the multiple forms that African resistance to slavery took, with a particular focus on maroon societies, spiritual empowerment, and armed rebellions. Towards the end of the semester, we will spend over a week working on the Haitian Revolution in the French colony of Saint-Domingue that culminated, in 1804, in the founding of the second independent nation in the hemisphere, and the only one that permanently abolished slavery. Over the course of the semester, we will study the Caribbean’s centrality to larger world histories of colonialism, capitalism, disease, environmental change, racial formation, slavery and emancipation, migration, religious transformation, human rights, sovereignty, and citizenship — in short, to the making of the modern world.

  • Colonial Spanish American Topics - "Spain and the Globalization of the Amerindian: Power, Transformation, and Resistance in the Early Modern Period"

    Section Number: SPA 353

    Days: M/W/F

    Time: 1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

    Instructor: Dr. Vivian Díaz Balsera


    The momentous year of 1492 inaugurated one of the most dramatic and painful chapters of early modern history as the world became ever more bounded and interconnected with Columbus’s landfall on the island of Guanahaní. With an emphasis in Mexico and Peru, students in this course will learn about pre-contact Mesoamerican and Andean ways of thinking, representing, and relating to the world, and about the expansionist ideology of Christianity imposed by the Spanish colonizers soon after contact.  A special section of the course will be dedicated to early European and African interactions with Native American peoples in North America.  As part of the learning experience of the course, students will visit Special Collections and the Kislak Gallery to see unique facsimile editions of pre-contact and colonial indigenous codices recording traditional knowledges. There will also be a symposium at UM on the La Florida missions in April 2022 that students will be encouraged to attend.  In class, students will examine visual cultural productions and primary texts throughout the three Spanish-American colonial centuries in which the Amerindians were memorialized, narrated, contested, and disputed by Spanish, indigenous, criollo, and mestizo authors. Students will then consider how indigenous worldviews were shaken, transformed, and retained as Amerindian peoples responded to the early modern/colonial discourses of Spanish Christianity, and how mixed forms of historical consciousness and cultural identities emerged as a result.  The class will be conducted in Spanish.  Non-Spanish majors or minors may write their papers in English.

  • Cultural Appropriation, Dehumanization and Genocide: Experiences of Native and Global Indigenous Peoples

    Section Number: APY 418, APY 628, AMS 334, ECS 372, HIS 396, or MLL 322

    Days: Tu/Th

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

    Instructor: Professor Caroline LaPorte


    This class will explore the differences and overlaps/intersections between meaningful cultural exchange, cultural appropriation, and racism and will prioritize and center the lived experiences, views and perspectives of Native American and Global Indigenous populations. Students will be able to develop an in-depth understanding of these distinctions and intersections as mechanisms of genocide and colonization through learning about the historical and ongoing oppression of Indigenous peoples, including their ongoing experiences of violence and land-theft. Students will examine and challenge their own positionality in relation to the material and to the broader anti-oppression movement globally and within the United States.

  • Literature of the Americas

    Section Numbers: AAS 290, AMS 322, or ENG 261

    Days: M/W/F

    Time: 11:45 a.m. - 12:35 p.m.

    Instructor: Dr. Marina Magloire


    This course considers the migrations, connections, and conflicts faced by people of color in the Americas from 1492 to the present. Beginning with the violence of enslavement and Indigenous genocide and moving through tales of migration and solidarity in the twentieth and twenty-first century, this course uses literature to explore the intertwined destinies of the people of North America, centering the artistic contributions of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American writers.

  • Tourism, Conservation, and Development

    Section Number: LAS 604, LAW 629, or MES 604

    Days: Travel Course - March 11-22, 2022 (plus Wednesday evenings)

    Time: TBD

    Instructor: Dr. Daniel Suman


    Bocas del Toro is a relatively pristine region on Panama´s Caribbean coast that has experienced rapid tourism development during the past 20 years. The area is home to high-quality coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests; great cultural diversity (Ngäbe peoples, Afro-Caribbean peoples, mestizos, expatriates); as well as numerous conflicts over resource use. During Spring Break, this course will travel to Bocas to explore the social, economic, and environmental impacts of this tourism growth and evaluate some of the principal conflicts between social actors, as well as between user groups and government authorities illustrating numerous tensions between conservation efforts and development. Students will prepare and conduct individual research projects while at the study site. In addition to our fieldwork, we will meet on Wednesday evenings in Coral Gables throughout the semester.

Fall 2021

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  • Contemporary Representations of the Environment

    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.

  • Florida Archaeology

    Course Number: APY 356

    Days: Mon/Wed

    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.

  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

    Course Number: BPH 321

    Days: Mon/Wed

    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.

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

    Section Numbers: AMS 334, APY 418, APY 628, ECS 334, HIS 300, or MLL 322

    Days: Tu/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).

  • Principles of Linguistic Anthropology

    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.

  • Social Justice and Cultural Production in Latin America

    Course Numbers: SPA322 or POR 322

    Days: Mon/Wed

    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.

Summer 2021

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

    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.

Spring 2021

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  • Continuidad y Cambio en los Andes

    Section Number: SPA 322

    Days: Tu/Th

    Time: 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.

  • Introduction to Native and Indigenous Peoples and Perspectives

    Section Numbers: APY 418, AMS 334, APY 628, ECS 375, HIS 296, LAS 301, or MLL 322

    Days: Tu/Th

    Time: 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

  • Producción Cultural de los Pueblos Indígenas de/en las Américas

    Section Number: SPA 501

    Days: Tu/Th

    Time: 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?