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240526 SE Indigeneity - Identity, Politics and Culture in a globalized World (P4) (2019W)

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!



max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Friday 18.10. 11:30 - 14:45 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Friday 08.11. 11:30 - 14:45 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Friday 29.11. 11:30 - 14:45 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Friday 13.12. 11:30 - 14:45 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
Friday 10.01. 11:30 - 14:45 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Friday 24.01. 11:30 - 14:45 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

The course will explore the processes of identity construction and transformation among a particular group of population of the world - indigenous peoples, in the context of rapid culture change, (post)colonialism and globalization. It will focus on several topics related to indigenous, and in wider terms - ethnic and territorial, identities. First, we will explore how indigenous identities are legally constructed in international law, identity building politics and indigenous rights movements in different nation states. Then we will analyze the interrelations between traditional knowledge, land use, environmental ethnics and indigeneity, esp. vis-à-vis development projects. Finally, we will focus on the roles of native cultures, languages, and religious beliefs in the reproduction and sustaining of identities in every-day life, as well as in indigenous activism. The aim of the course is to demonstrate that indigenous identities, similarly to other social identities, are rather cultural and legal constructs than primordial categories. Methodologically, the course is informed by anthropological and social science literature on indigeneity and identity, as well as by some readings from the field of critical indigenous studies. While we will strive to include case studies from all over the world, many of our examples will come from the circumpolar North, including the regions where our empirical research is conducted.

The course will have a mixed character: the first session will serve as the general introduction and provide the literature overview, while during the following sessions lectures on the main topics will be intermingled with the discussions of the relevant literature in the seminar format.

Assessment and permitted materials

written exam, paper, oral presentation, participation in course

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

In order to receive a passing grade, you need at least 60 points. A "sehr gut" requires at least 90 out of 100 points (a "gut" at least 80 points, etc.).
Assessment will include a seminar paper, based on recommended and additional reading - will count for 60%. Short oral presentations will make up 25% of the grade, and the remaining 15% will be determined by course participation.

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). From winter term 2019/20 the plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.

Examination topics

Reading list

Anaya, S. James. 2004. Indigenous Peoples in International Law. Second edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Axelsson, Per, and Peter Sköld, eds. 2011. Indigenous Peoples and Demography: The Complex Relation between Identity and Statistics. New York: Berghahn Books.
Blaser, Mario, Harvey A. Feit, and Glenn McRae, eds. 2004. In the Way of Development: Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects and Globalization. London: Zed Books.
Bodley, John H. 1999. Victims of Progress. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing.
Clifford, James. 2013 Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Donahoe, Brian, et al. 2008. Size and Place in the Construction of Indigeneity in the Russian Federation. Current Anthropology 49(6):993-1020.
Forsyth, James. 1989. The Indigenous Peoples of Siberia in the Twentieth Century. In The Development of Siberia: People and Resources. A. Wood and R.A. French, eds. Pp. 72-95. Studies in Russia and East Europe. London: Macmillan.
Grant, Bruce. 1993. Siberia Hot and Cold: Reconstructing the Image of Siberian Indigenous Peoples. In Between Heaven and Hell: The Myth of Siberia in Russian Culture. G. Diment and Y. Slezkine, eds. Pp. 227-253. New York: St. Martin's Press.
Hodgson, Dorothy L. 2011. Being Maasai, Becoming Indigenous: Postcolonial Politics in a Neoliberal World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Ingold, Tim. 2000. The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. London: Routledge.
Kasten, Erich, and Tjeerd de Graf, eds. 2013. Sustaining Indigenous Knowledge: Learning Tools and Community Initiatives for Preserving Endangered Languages and Local Cultural Heritage. Fürstenberg/Havel: Kulturstiftung Sibirien.
Kuper, Adam. 2003. The Return of the Native. Current Anthropology 44(3):389-402.
Smith, Eric Alden, and Joan McCarter, eds. 1997. Contested Arctic: Indigenous Peoples, Industrial States, and the Circumpolar Environment. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. 1999. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed Books.
Wolfe, Patrick. 2006 Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native. Journal of Genocide Research 8(4):387409.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:21