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Amerindian shamanism in the Caribbean and Amazonia


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 and 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 BA3 time schedule.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures;

  • Presentations by students;

  • Peer-reviews;

  • Discussion.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 6×2 hours of lectures (1 ec);

  • 280 pages of literature (2 ec);

  • Essay of 1,800 words (1 ec);

  • Weekly assingments, including a presentation (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Final essay (30%);

  • Weekly assignments (30%);

  • Active in-class participation in the weekly discussion (20%);

  • Presentation (20%).

A retake is only possible for the final essay and only if all other requirements (assignments and attendance) have been met.

All exam dates (exams, re-sits, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the BA3 examination schedule.

Reading list

The reading list will be published on BlackBoard.


Registration for the course or the exam is not required.

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

Registration ‘Contractonderwijs’

All information (costs, registration, entry requirements, etc.) for those who are interested in taking this course as a Contractstudent is on the Contractonderwijs Archeologie webpage (in Dutch).


For more information about his course, please contact dr. A. Antczak.


Compulsory attendance.