72401 - Anthropology of North and South America (1)

Course Unit Page

SDGs

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

No poverty Life on land

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

The course is aimed at providing the student the basic elements of the history of anthropological research in the Americas. It will also analyse the long process that, starting in the early Colonial period, led to the construction of an “indigenous” identity that came to be not only the object of anthropological research but also the subject of the complex political and cultural dynamics that today characterize the American continent. The student should thus acquire anthropological tools useful to look at both historical and contemporary phenomena.

Course contents

The aim of the course is to allow the student to get a general perspective of the indigenous peoples of the American continent and to handle tools to start an ethnographic analysis of the American continent native populations.  

As an example for the understanding of these themes, the figure of Christopher Columbus will be taken into consideration and in particular with regard to the following themes: colonization, the encounter with otherness, the definition of the indigenous, the writing on otherness, syncretism, are only some of the themes that will be dealt with.

The first part of the course will provide a general overview of colonization in order to define the concept of “native/indigenous people” and to understand the hot question of native rights.

The second part of the course will focus on the analysis of key transdisciplinary concepts such as shamanism, cannibalism, syncretism, material culture and myth. The definition of “cultural area” and “linguistic family” will be used to analyze these topics.

Finally, the life and the scientific work/trajectory of Franz Boas, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Alfred Métraux e Curt Nimuendajú will be presented.

The course will start on September 21th

Class hours and rooms:

Monday, h.15-17 ZAMBONI 38, AULA II

Thursday, h.13-15 ZAMBONI 38, AULA II

Friday, h. 13-15 ZAMBONI 38, AULA II

Lessons schedule:

•  PRESENTATION OF THE COURSE. THE POPULATIONS OF THE AMERICAN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

•THE DISCOVERY OF THE AMERICA.THE FIGURE OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS  

•THE DISCOVERY OF THE HUMANITY. THE FIGURE OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS

•  WHO WERE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE? WHO ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE TODAY?

• THE INDIGENOUS IN ARGENTINA. ETHNOGRAPHIC EXAMPLES

• THE INDIGENOUS IN BOLIVIA. ETHNOGRAPHIC EXAMPLES

• SOME TRANSVERSAL THEMES FOR THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE AMERICAS: THE SHAMANISM

• SOME TRANSVERSAL THEMES FOR THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE AMERICAS: THE MYTHS 

•SOME TRANSVERSAL THEMES FOR THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE AMERICAS: THE CANNIBALISM

• THE ANTHROPOLOGIST STUDYNG IN THE AMERICAS: CULTURAL AREAS AND LINGUISTIC FAMILIES

• THE ANTHROPOLOGIST STUDYNG IN THE AMERICAS: FRANZ BOAS

• THE ANTHROPOLOGIST STUDYNG IN THE AMERICAS :CURT NIMUENDAJÚ

• THE ANTHROPOLOGIST STUDYNG IN THE AMERICAS: CLAUDE LÉVI-STRAUSS

• THE ANTHROPOLOGIST STUDYNG IN THE AMERICAS:: ALFRED MÉTRAUX

The course will start on September 21th 2020

Class hours and rooms:

Monday: 15-17 ZAMBONI 38, AULA II

Thursday: 13-15 ZAMBONI 38, AULA II

Friday: 13-15 ZAMBONI 38, AULA II

Readings/Bibliography

 THE TEXTS TO PREPARE ARE THREE (3).

-ONE (1) volumes from the following list:

• Cammarata R., Indigeno a chi? Diritti e discriminazioni allo specchio, Torino, Giappichelli Editore, 2012.

• Giraudo L., La questione indigena in America Latina, Roma, Carocci, 2009.

• Todorov T., La scoperta dell'America, Torino, Einaudi, 2014 (1982).

- TWO (2) volumes from the following list:

• Lupo A., Il mais nella croce. Pratiche e dinamiche religiose nel Messico indigeno, Roma, Cisu, 2009.

• Cuturi F., Juan Olivares. Un pescatore scrittore del Messico indigeno, Roma, Meltemi, 2003.

• Apostoli Cappello E., Tutti siamo indigeni! Giochi di specchi tra Europa e Chiapas, Cleup, Padova, 2013.

• Tallè C., Sentieri di parole. Lingua, paesaggio e senso del luogo in una comunità indigena di pescatori nel Messico del sud, Seid, Firenze, 2015.

• Lelli S., Trasformazioni Guaraní: tra paradigma sciamanico e scuola, Roma, Cisu, 2007.

• Quattrocchi P., Corpo, riproduzione e salute tra le donne maya dello Yucatan (Messico), Ospedaletto, Pacini, 2011.

• Bridges Lucas, Ultimo confine del mondo: viaggio nella Terra del Fuoco,Torino. Einaudi, 2009.

• Franceschi Z.A., Dasso M.C., Etno-grafie. La scrittura come testimonianza tra i Wichi, Bologna, Emil, 2008.

• Franceschi Z.A., Tessere storie. Etnografia nel Chaco argentino, Bologna, Emil 2018.

• Gnerre M., La saggezza dei fiumi, Roma, Meltemi, 2003.

• Chagnon N.A., Tribù pericolose: la mia vita tra gli Yanomamö e gli antropologi, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 2014.

• Cecconi A., I sogni vengono da fuori. Esplorazione sulla notte nelle Ande peruviane, Firenze, Edit, 2012.

• Kopenawa D., Bruce, A., La caduta del cielo. Parole di uno sciamano yanomani, Milano, Figure nottetempo, 2010.

• Scionti F., Mborookuai Iya. Pratica giuria guaraní nel Chaco boliviano, Milano, Franco Angeli, 2019.

• Comba E., Il cerchio della vita: uomini e animali nell'universo simbolico degli indiani delle pianure, Torino, Il Segnalibro, 1999.

• Comba E., La danza del sole, Miti e cosmologia degli indiani delle Pianure, Novalogos, Latina 2013. (Primi tre capitoli).

• Savard R., Carcajou all'aurora del mondo. Frammenti scritti di un'enciclopedia orale innu, Imprimitur Editrice, Padova, 2018.

• Mancuso A., Colajanni A., Un futuro incerto. Processi di sviluppo e popoli indigeni in America latina, Roma, Cisu, 2008.

• Burgos E., Mi chiamo Rigoberta Menchu, Milano, Giunti, 2006.

• Casagrande O., Il tempo spezzato. Biografia di una famiglia mapuche tra golpe ed esilio, Padova, Unicopli, 2015.

• Venturoli S., Il paesaggio come testo: la costruzione di un'identità tra territorio e memoria nell'area andina, Bologna, Clueb 2004.

• Malighetti R., Il quilombo di Frechal : identità e lavoro sul campo in una comunità brasiliana di discendenti di schiavi, Milano, Cortina, 2004.

• Lévi-Strauss C., Tristi Tropici, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 1960.

• Boas F., L' organizzazione sociale e le società segrete degli indiani kwakiutl, prefazione e cura di Enrico Comba, Roma, Cisu, 2001. INTRODUZIONE e CAPITOLO 1,2,3.

• Métraux A., Religione e riti magici nell'America meridionale, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 1971.

• Alliegro E.V., (a cura di) Frank Hamilton Cushing tra gli Zuñi del New Mexico (1879-1884), Roma, Cisu, 2016.

• Alliegro E.V., (a cura di) Lewis Henry Morgan e la ricerca antropologica sui sistemi di parentela, Roma, Cisu, 2017.

• Colajanni A., ( a cura di) Le piume di cristallo. Indigeni nazioni e stato in America Latina, Roma, Meltemi, 1998.

• Schmidt D., Spagna F., Etnografie collaborative e questioni ambientali: ricerche nell'America indigena contemporanea, Padova, CLEUP, 2012.

• Cuturi F. (a cura di), In nome di Dio. L’impresa missionaria di fronte all’alterità, Roma, Meltemi 2004 (TRANNE GLI ULTIMI DUE CAPITOLI).

• Clastres P., La società contro lo Stato. Ricerche di antropologia politica, Verona, Ombre Corte, 2003.

• Bengoa J., La emergencia indígena en America Latina, Santiago, Fondo de Cultura Economica, 2007.

• Carrasco M., Briones C., La tierra que nos quitaron: reclamos indígenas en Argentina, Iwgia Grupo Internacional de Trabajo sober Asuntos Indígenas, 1996.

• Carrasco M., Zimerman S., Argentina: el caso Lhaka Honhat, Copenhagen, International WorkGroup for Indigenous Affairs, 2006.

• Cuturi F., El mundo Ikoots en el arte de tejer de Justina Oviedo. Jayats mitiiüd Justina, Carteles Editores, 2018.

• Gow P., An Amazonian myth and its history, New York, Oxford University Press, 2001.

• Rival L. The Social life of trees: anthropological perspective on tree symbolism, Oxford-New York, Berg, 1998.

• Combés I., La tragedie cannibale chez les anciens Tupi-Guarani, Paris, PUF, 1992.

• Bastien J.W., Healers of the Andes : Kallawaja herbalists and their medicinal plants, Salt Lake City University of Utah Press, 1987.

• Cruikshank J., Life lived like a story: life stories of three Yukon native elders, Lincoln, Bison Book 1992.

• Cruikshank J., Do glaciers listen? Local knowledge, colonial encounters, and social imagination, Vancouver, Toronto, UBC Press, 2005.

• Kohn E., How forests think: toward an anthropology beyond the human, Berkeley University of California Press, 2013.

• Bonfil Batalla G., México profundo: una civilización negada, México, D.F, Conaculta, 2001.

• Oakdale S., I foresee my life: the ritual performance of autobiography in an Amazonian community, Lincoln, University of Nebraska press, 2005.

• Basso E., Sherzar J., (coordinadores), Las culturas nativas latinoamericanas a traves de su discurso: ponencias del simposio del 46. Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Amsterdam, Julio de 1988, Quito, Ecuador, Abya-Yala -Roma, Italia, MLAL, 1990.

• Basso E., Native Latin American cultures through their discourse, Bloomington, Indiana University, 1990.

• González Díez J., Viazzo P.P., How to study family diversity in Latin America: methodologies for an anti-hegemonic perspective, Vol 8, No 1 (2016). Rivista in rete: https://confluenze.unibo.it/issue/view/574

•Métraux A., Religions et magies indiennes d'Amérique du Sud, Paris, Gallimard, 1967.

• Bonifacio V., Del trabajo ajeno y vacas ariscas Puerto Casado. Genealogías (1886-2000), Centro de Estudios Antropológicos de la Universidad Católica “Nuestra Señora de la Asunción” (CEADUC) Biblioteca Paraguaya de Antropología - Vol. 108.

Teaching methods

The course will consist of lectures supported by audio visual material (when required).

At the end of each lecture there will be a concept checking session to ensure students’ understanding of the themes and issues covered, which will also allow active student participation.

Assessment methods

The final exam will be an oral one, with questions aimed to verify the student's knowledge of the themes discussed during frontal lessons (only for students that participated in classwork) as well as those treated in the program's texts.

In marking the following assessment criteria will be applied:

30 cum Laude: exceptional exam, solid knowledge, articulate discursive skills, expressive competence, and ability to synthesize.

30: outstanding result, adequate and appropriate knowledge, well-articulated and correctly expressed notions. Good ability to synthesize.

29-27: good exam, more than adequate knowledge, good capacity for expression. Fair ability to synthesize

26-24: fair exam, basic but not exhaustive knowledge, and or not consistently well articulated. Sufficient ability to synthesize.

23-21: passable exam, general but superficial knowledge; limited capacity for expression and confused discourse management. Passable ability to synthesize.

20-18: barely passable exam, discourse management and expressions demonstrating inadequate knowledge. Modest ability to synthesize.

<18: inadequate exam, deficient or severely inadequate knowledge, lack of bearing as regards the subject matter.

Teaching tools


The frontal lessons will be supported by Power Point presentations. The Power Point presentation will be uploaded in the “Teaching materials” section of this website.

Office hours

See the website of Zelda Alice Franceschi