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Department of Geography and the Environment
Please describe specifically which non-U.S. community, country, or coherent regional grouping of countries, past or present, will be studied.
South America as a coherent, continental-scale grouping of nations. The dominant languages are Spanish and Portuguese. There are major surviving indigenous populations, many of which transcend national boundaries, as well as people of African heritage and more recent migrants from Asia and Europe. In addition to a shared history, the countries of the region are increasingly tied politically and economically.
What are typical readings or other materials in the course or class related to Global Cultures?
Knapp, Gregory, and Cesar Caviedes. South America. Prentice-Hall
E. Jackkiewisz and F. Bosco, eds. Placing Latin America: Contemporary Themes in Human Geography (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008)
Robert Andolina, Nina Laurie and Sarah A. Radcliffe. Indigenous Development in the Andes: Culture, Power, and Transnationalism (2009)
Gregory Knapp, “The Legacy of European Colonialism,” in The Physical Geography of South America, edited by T. Veblen, K. Young, and A. Orme, pp 279-288, Oxford University Press (2007)
Kenneth Young, “Andean Land Use and Biodiversity: Humanized Landscapes in a Time of Change,” Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 96: 492-507 (2009)
Carlos Reboratti, “Environmental Conflicts and Environmental Justice in Argentina,” pp 101-118, in David Carruthers, ed., Environmental Justice in Latin America: Problems, Promises and Practice (MIT 2008)
WinklerPrins, A.M.G.A. and P.S. de Souza. 2005. “Surviving the City: Urban Homegardens and the Economy of Affection in the Brazilian Amazon,” Journal of Latin American Geography 4(1): 103-122.
Describe typical assignments related to Global Cultures.
The course focuses on South American cultural landscapes, environmental history, and sustainable development through lectures and class discussion. There will also be field trips when the course is offered as a faculty-led study abroad course in Cordoba, Argentina, in summer 2012 and 2014. Students maintain a logbook based on lectures, readings, and discussions. For example, students will discuss such topics as the role of home gardens in maintaining cultural identity in Brazil, challenges and impacts of migration of Bolivians and Peruvians to Argentina, social response to earthquakes in Peru, and the role of agricultural modernization in employing Quichua women in Ecuador. The course project requires students to write about a global impact on local cultures and environments; this could be related to migration, a commodity chain involving changes to local livelihoods, or involvement by global development actors related to conservation or climate change. This assignment will help students understand the resilience and adaptive capacity of South American cultures, as well as new pathways of empowerment and organization.
Please explain how at least one-third of the course grade is based on content related to Global Cultures.
This course focuses on the ecological, cultural, and political challenges of the densely populated city regions and sparsely populated rural regions and frontiers of South America. An understanding of the dynamics of changing indigenous, colonial, and postcolonial peoples and landscapes provides context for debating appropriate development and conservation pathways. Where appropriate, case examples elucidate broader topics germane to South America and the rest of Latin America. Forty per cent of the course grade is based on a logbook of student responses to questions and readings in class; 20 per cent to participation in class; 20 per cent to a final exam. The class is entirely focused on South American peoples (including indigenous groups of the Andes and Amazon) as they have related to cultural landscapes, environmental change, and sustainable development. Lecture topics include subsistence strategies, indigenous history and cultural ecology, the Inca empire and lowland chiefdoms, Spanish conquest and colonial activities and impacts, religion, modernization, and migration. There is also an essay assignment (20 per cent) on impacts of global processes on local South American cultures and environments.
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