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Indigenous Peoples, Environment and Sustainability

Information about course offerings for the current academic year can be found on the Latin American Studies section of the Stanford Bulletin Explore Degrees website. More detailed course descriptions including the times and locations can be found by searching on Explore Courses.

Please note: not all courses are offered every year. Blank fields indicate that the course is not offered this academic year.


"Why be concerned with indigenous peoples and their environments? After all, these people are few in number and have little influence on the environment." (Fragoso and Reo 2013). Many believe this statement to be true and suggest that indigenous societies are similar to other human societies in their relationships and impacts on the environment. Supporters of this view argue that extant indigenous people have transitioned or are transitioning into the dominant "westernized" world culture, negating any special relationship they may have had with biota and the environment. However, interactions among groups of people, biota, and geographies are inherently complex, making it difficult to tease apart reality from myth and sustainability from unsustainability. Through a series of lectures, readings, and discussions of case studies from the Americas and the world (with a slight focus on the Amazon) we will explore indigenous peoples views of and interactions with biota and the environment. We will also examine how culture influences ecology and sustainability and explore the tension that exists between science and traditional ways of knowing. nCourse will span two quarters (Winter and Spring) and students must enroll in both quarters. Winter course will meet for six weeks, beginning the week of February 6 through the end of the quarter. Grade will be given in Spring quarter. Students must complete a total of 5 units over the two quarters to complete the course.

Course ID: 
219 005
Letter or Credit/No Credit