Locating, Representing, Relating: The contemporary politics of Indigenous place-based knowledge

This course introduces students the role of place in Indigenous knowledge systems. We focus primarily on North and South America in our exploration of four overarching themes.

  1. Locating and Orienting draws on works in linguistic anthropology to consider place names and the encoding of spatial orientation in language.
  2. Representing focuses on how different social groups make spatial representations and what political and social work such representations do.
  3. Relating sees the land as kin and explores various dimensions of multispecies relationships.
  4. Removal and Rootedness draws on what we have learned to fully understand the consequences of removing Indigenous people from their lands (and seas) and to appreciate the stakes of place-based protests today.
  5. Reconciliation (?) interrogates the politics of “traditional knowledge” as a form of reconciliation, weighing its potential for liberation and also erasure.

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