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Clark University Home > Academic Catalog

Clark University    
  Jan 22, 2018
2017-2018 Academic Catalog

GEOG 090 - Native Americans, Land and Natural Resources

There are several reasons for the establishment of this course.  First, there are the issues of Native American histories and geographies - subjects that most “Americans” (and others) are not particularly well versed in, and - subjects that are constantly revised and reinterpreted. These histories and geographies are important for understanding the roots of the American “nation” and for considering the morality of other acts of past and present colonialism in the world, i.e. Israeli settlement of Palestine; European colonial history in India, Africa and the Middle East; Chinese colonialism in Uyghur territory in central Asia and in Tibet; the US in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Hawaii (to name just a few).  Second, studying Native American practices and attitudes toward “nature” allow us to consider other ways of being in the world besides the Euro-American way.  The concepts of “development” and “progress” must be critically examined here. Finally, the questions of who is indigenous and how cultures persist - with or without assimilation - are significant for better understanding international and intercultural relations, particularly where conflicts over land and resources occur. The course is divided into 4 modules: Introduction to Indigenous Studies, Indigenous Geographies of Colonialism, Indigenous Geographies of Justice and Indigenous Geographies of Resistance and Resurgence. We will begin by establishing a framework for our study, using the theories of settler colonialism and decolonization, and then examine various histories and geographies of indigeneity in the Americas. Our goals in the course will be to learn as much as we can about indigenous histories and geographies such as extractive industry conflicts, and projects of socio-ecological restoration. We will also examine indigenous peoples’ land claims and survival struggles elsewhere in the Americas, and through collaborative learning explore contemporary indigenous geographies in other parts of the world. In addition to the readings, we will make use of a number of films, web sources, and field trips to educate ourselves.




Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) Designation: GP

Anticipated Terms Offered: Varies