Hist 657 indians and the state in latin america professor Erick D. Langer

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Spring 2006

ICC 214



Professor Erick D. Langer

ICC 520E

Tel. 7-7386

E-mail: langere@georgetown.edu

Office Hours: T 12:00-2:00

Or by appointment
When the Spanish first invaded the Americas, they encountered large populations of indigenous peoples. Other European peoples invaded somewhat later, to find all different kinds of native societies in the Americas. In some regions, the Indians died out because of disease, in others they mixed with descendents of European and African ancestries. Despite widespread death and miscegenation, native peoples of the Americas have not gone away. In many areas they constitute even today the majority of the rural population. In some regions, rural migrants to the cities and their descendants have rediscovered their ethnic identity and are becoming active in indigenous movements. Throughout, the relationship between indigenous peoples and the state has been one of the main threads in the history of the Americas since 1492.
This course is designed to acquaint graduate students with some of the salient issues in indigenous histories, with an emphasis on the relationship between native peoples and the states dominated by the Europeans and their descendants. (This is not to say that there weren’t relationships between the state and Indians before the European Conquest, but this is a subject that will not be covered in this course except tangentially.) The course ranges from the early conquest period all the way to the present, with approximately equal emphasis on colonial and republican topics. The basis for the interactions between Indians and the state in the modern period is heavily influenced by the pre-independence period and that is why the colonial period must take up a large portion of the course. The course is designed to deal with some of the most important issues. In addition, another dimension of the course is the basic problem of ethnohistory (this is what much of this literature is called): how does one reconstruct histories of peoples who do not write for themselves? This course examines this facet and the implications for constructing historical knowledge.

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