Prospectus

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Amerindian Shamanism in the Caribbean and Amazonia (BA3)

Course 2018-2019

Year

Bachelor year 3.

Admission requirements

This course is intended for BA2 and BA3 students of Archaeology and BA3 students from other faculties with an interest and some background in cultural anthropology, intercultural approaches or religious sciences.

Description

This course provides you with theoretical knowledge and specific academic skills related to – broadly speaking - indigenous shamanism. More specifically, it is an introduction to the archaeology and anthropology of the Caribbean and Amazonia, with a focus on indigenous cosmovision. Attention will be given to the way in which cosmovision is expressed in this region’s various shamanistic systems and practices.

Drawing from specific case studies it will be discussed how shamanistic practices have been traced in archaeology through the application of diverse (interdisciplinary) theoretical approaches, methodologies, and cutting-edge techniques.

Classes will also provide information on the difference between western and non-western metaphysical and epistemological systems, and discuss how these can influence archaeological-anthropological reconstructions and interpretations of indigenous shamanism.
Writing an essay, weekly readings of specialised literature and elaboration of discussion points, peer-reviewing of in-class discussions, and practicing presentation skills are also an integral part of this course.

Set-up of the course:

C/1 Seminar/lecture: Introduction to and set-up of the course, and the presentation of the documentary Sanema: Waking the spirits.
Assignment: 2 discussion points per student should be posted on BlackBoard, each one related to the previously assigned reading.

C/2 Seminar/lecture: Introduction to shamanism: Tropical Lowlands and Caribbean coasts and islands, indigenous peoples, hallucinogenic trances and cosmovision.
Assignment: 2 discussion points per student should be posted on BlackBoard, each one related to the previously assigned reading.

C/3 Seminar/lecture: ‘Worldmaking’ and Amerindian perspectivism.
Assignment: 2 discussion points per student should be posted on BlackBoard, each one related to the previously assigned reading.

C/4 Seminar/lecture: Shamanistic expressions in material culture and landscapes.
Assignment: 2 discussion points per student should be posted on BlackBoard, each one related to the previously assigned reading.

C/5 Seminar/lecture: Taíno (Greater Antilles) shamanism.
Assignment: 2 discussion points per student should be posted on BlackBoard, each one related to the previously assigned reading.

C/6 Seminar/lecture: Andean shamanism.
Assignment: 2 discussion points per student should be posted on BlackBoard, each one related to the previously assigned reading.

C/7 Seminar/lecture: Students’ participation (session of questions and answers) dedicated to case study presentations.
Assignment: Prepare the discussion points related to the case study presentations led by BA3 students; title, abstract and related literature of each presentation will be posted on BlackBoard.

Specific weekly readings will be provided on BlackBoard in due time. Dates and hours for the delivery of discussion points and presentations, and the thematic blocks to be researched in student presentations (last class of the course, C7) will be established together with the students.

Course objectives

  • Acquisition of systematised knowledge on shamanism and cosmovision of indigenous societies, in particular those of the Caribbean and Amazonia;
  • Ability to clearly define scholarly terms and concepts related to shamanism and cosmovision, as presented in specialised literature;
  • Background understanding of a western frame of reference of the world and the interactions between human and other-than-human beings;
  • Capacity to perceive and understand ‘other’, non-western, worldviews, interactions, and attitudes (especially related to the theoretical approaches represented by the ontological turn in the social sciences and Amerindian perspectivism);
  • Ability to assess the pros and cons of the different theories, and to take one’s own academically-grounded, well-argued, and transparent stance, both in writing and during in-class discussions and presentations;
  • Ability to independently apply and operationalise the above realisations in specific case studies.

Timetable

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 x 4 hours of lectures (1 ec);
  • 280 pages of literature (2 ec);
  • Essay of 1,800 words (1 ec);
  • Weekly assignments of readings and discussion points, including a presentation (1 ec).

Assessment method

  • Final essay (30%);
  • Weekly assignments of readings and discussion points (30%);
  • Active in-class participation in the weekly in-class discussion (20%);
  • Oral 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

Registration via uSis is mandatory.

  • The Administration Office will register all BA1 students for their tutorials (not lectures; register via uSis!).
  • BA2, BA3, MA/MSc and RMA/RMSc students are required to register for all lectures and tutorials well in time.
  • The Administration Office registers all students for their exams, students are not required to do this in uSis.

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).

Contact

For more information about his course, please contact dr. A.T. (Andrzej) Antczak.

Remarks

Compulsory attendance.