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Archaeology and anthropology of the Caribbean and Amazonia with a focus on Shamanism


Admission requirements

This course is intended for BA3-students of Archaeology and BA3-students from other faculties with an interest and some background in cultural anthropology, intercultural approaches or religious sciences.


This course is an introduction to the archaeology and anthropology of the Caribbean and Amazonia, with a focus on cosmovision. Attention will be given to the way in which cosmovision is expressed in this region’s various shamanistic systems.
Classes will also provide some idea of the great differences between western and non-western metaphysical en epistemological systems, and how these can influence anthropological-archaeological interpretations.
Writing essays, peer-reviewing and practising discussion skills are also part of this course.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the cosmovision of animistic societies, in particular those of the Caribbean and Amazonia;

  • Ability to clearly define terms relating to cosmovision and shamanism, as touched upon in literature and during class;

  • Understanding of one’s own western views on the world and western frame of reference;

  • Knowledge of the different theoretical backgrounds of academic literature on this subject, and the ability to apply these to case studies;

  • Ability to assess the pros and cons of the different theories, and take one’s own well-argumented stand, both in writing and during discussions;

  • Ability to introduce and properly lead a discussion.


Course schedule details can be found in the bachelor 3 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture;

  • Discussion.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7×2 hours of lecture;

  • 280 pages of literature;

  • Paper.

Assessment method

  • Written exam, with a take-home part that will be distributed by the end of the block. It will contain questions on the theory of cosmovision and shamanism, as discussed in literature or during class;

  • Assignment: formulation of discussion topics, critical assessment of other students’ viewpoints, and reaction to criticism on one’s own viewpoint (in the form of an online discussion on Blackboard’s discussion forum);

  • Participation: presence in class and verbally expressing one’s own opinions, as well as starting a well-informed discussion with peers;

  • Paper.
    You have to pass each separate part in order to pass the course as a whole.

All exam dates (exams, re-sits, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the examination schedule.

Reading list

To be published on Blackboard.


Registration for the course is not necessary, registration for the exam is mandatory. For instructions, see the Registration in uSis page.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. M.L.P. Hoogland or mw. dr. M. Antczak.