College Of Arts And Sciences | Native Amazonians and the Stewardship of Nature
E105 | 0216 | Moran
Scope of the course
This course provides an introduction to the ecology of the Amazon
Basin of South America, focusing on its habitats, the use and conservation
of the environment by its native inhabitants, and examining the forces
that threaten its very existence. The course will survey the historical
context of current developments, the differences found in native cultures
and the diverse ways in which they deal with environmental differences. It
will examine both the past and the contemporary social, economic and
political setting within which their attitude towards environment is
developed. Ethical dimensions of the uses of Nature, consideration of
what a conservation ethic implies, and the challenge of using and
conserving our natural resources are examined broadly, using the Amazon as
a backdrop for our own reflection on our stewardship of Nature.
Basic Required Readings:
E.F. Moran, Through Amazonian Eyes: The Human Ecology of Amazonian
Populations. Iowa City: Univ. of Iowa Press, 1993.
S. Hecht and Cockburn, The Fate of the Forest. Verso Press, 1989.
L. Sponsel et al. ed. Indigenous People and the Future of Amazonia.
Tucson: Univ. of Arizona Press, 1995.
Charles Wagley, Welcome of Tears: The Tapirape Indians of Central Brazil.
Allyn Stearman, No Longer Nomands: The Siriono Revisited. Hamilton Press,
Dennis Werner, Amazon Journey: A trip to the Mekranoti Kayapo. Simon and
About the Instructor:
Prof. Emilio F. Moran is Rudy Professor of Anthropology at Indiana
University. He is a past Chair (1980?87) of the Anthropology Department
and a past Guggenheim Fellow (1989?90). He is also a Fellow of the
American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science and the author of 5 books
among them Human Adaptability (1979); Developing the Amazon (1981).. He
has edited several volumes, among them , The Dilemma of Amazonian
Development (1983) and Transforming Societies, Transforming Anthropology
(1996). He is Director of ACT, the Anthropological Center for Training and
Research on Global Environmental Change, Co-Director of the National
Science Foundation-funded Center for the Study of Institutions, Population
and Environmental Change and leads a large-scale project studying the
impact of different forms of land use on the rate of regrowth of
vegetation after deforestation.
There will be a midterm and a final in the course. Each exam is worth
20 percent of the final grade.
Students will have three critical essays due during the course. The
first one will be a descriptive essay on conceptions of Nature that
contrasts two different Amazonian populations. The second one will be a
critical essay that examines the contradictions faced by two populations
in trying to balance use with conservation. The third, and final essay,
will be a self-reflexive essay that connects what has been learned in the
course, to your own ruminations on the challenges you see to your own
efforts to have an ethical relationship to Nature. Each essay will count
for 20% of the final grade. Each essay should be double?spaced, neatly
typed, have a substantial bibliography of references cited, and clearly
state its objectives at the outset.
All assignments are due on the date stated on the syllabus (or as modified
in the class).
Incompletes will be granted only in the most exceptional of circumstances
such as devastating illness.