SOAN 230

Indigenous Peoples: Alternative Political Economies

This course examines the situations, problems, and continually developing strategies of indigenous peoples living in various countries and regions scattered throughout the world. While the central concern of this investigation focuses on so-called "tribal" peoples and their increasingly threatened, yet still instructive lifeways, the course also deliberately considers selected points of contrast and comparison involving "modern" societies as well. Toward this end, the course uses the approach of political anthropology, which has traditionally been associated with the study of small-scale societies (wherein the realms of "politics" and "economics" are inseparably interlinked with other sociocultural institutions such as "religion" and "kinship"). The ultimate aim of the course is threefold: first, to acknowledge the tragedy of past and presently-continuing destruction of indigenous peoples' physical, social, and cultural lives; second, to learn about and from the resilience and resistance such people have shown over millennia; and third, to inspire hope that it is still not too late for "modern" and "tribal" people humbly and profitably to learn from each other.