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David Shorter’s Syllabus Winter 2012

WLD ART 33 Tribal Worldviews

Winter 2012: TTH, 1-2:20pm                                                Professor David Delgado Shorter

Office Hours:  Thursdays 2:20-4pm                          Email:

Classroom: Kaufman 208 (Note: 208 is a theater. No food or drink will be permitted).    

TAs: Jacinta Arthur, Peter Haffner, Elaine Sullivan, Alessandra Williams


Course Description:  This course introduces students to the study of Indigenous folklore, religious performances, and lifeways.  The course also aims to discuss varieties of disciplinary approaches to cross-cultural analysis.  We will focus on native peoples’ worldviews as they are expressed through language, mythology, ritual, health practices, languages and ecology.  Readings and lectures will draw upon examples from around the world, including New Zealand, Malaysia, India, the Americas and Africa.  The course title is non-geographically specific to allow variation over time and to draw inter-continental and global implications through class discussions and texts.  Students will be asked to consider issues of colonialism, “tradition,” religious change, and representations of otherness.  In particular, the class will challenge students to weigh the legal and social implications of relativism and epistemological (ways of knowing) differences between people.


Course Requirements:


  1. List of Sources Reviewed (5 pts)
  2. Attendance and Active Participation in both lectures and discussion sections (15 points)
  3. Mid-term Paper Proposal (15 points)
  4. Discussion Section Preparation Emails (10 points)
  5. Pop quizzes (25 points)
  6. Final Paper (30 points)


Evaluative Criteria/Grading Policy – Timely completion of work as outlined below:


Research Projects:  All students must work during the quarter toward the completion of a final research project that links tribal worldviews to issues of globalization.  The Winter 2012 theme that we will be exploring in these final projects is “Media and Globalization.”  Your projects must engage both of these topics to some extent though the balance will be up to you.  Without a doubt, you will be best served by starting early (as in the first week of classes) to determine your subject matter and begin the research.  In that light, I have delineated several areas from which you must choose your research topic.  Note the scope of each option below:


I.  Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond.  For this research area, students must visit and choose one of the themes from any of the radio programs hosted by Dr. J. Kehaulani Kauanui.  Look through her site and find some topics of interest.  You can begin researching those topics as soon as you would like.  Change as of 01/20/12: all programs will be unavailable this quarter.  Feel free to use her archive as a list of topics in contemporary native rights, but you will not be able to use these as sources for your final paper or for any assignment regarding sources.


II.  Hemispheric Institute Web Cuadernos.  For this research area, students must visit and choose one of the subject areas from those listed.  Look through and choose any of the topics PERTAINING TO TRIBAL WORLDVIEWS and then use this cuaderno as one of your resources, developing a larger research project with other sources and craft a thesis pertaining to Media and Globalization.


Hemispheric Institute Special Collections

The Hemispheric Institute Special Collections is a growing digital archive of performance and politics in the Americas. Curated by leading scholars, it includes teaching modules, artist profiles, image galleries, articles, scripts, bibliographies and other research materials. Its contents are only available to faculty and students current Hemispheric Institute Member Institutions. Because UCLA is a member, these materials are available to you. To access them, you must create a Hemispheric Institute user account USING YOUR UNIVERSITY ( EMAIL ADDRESS, so you can be recognized as a Member by Hemispheric Institute staff, and then login to the website to gain member access to the Special Collections. If you experience any difficulties or have any questions, please contact the Hemispheric Institute through the “Email Us” section of their website:


III. Indigenous Filmmaking.  For this research area, students must address the theme of Media and Globalization by developing a thesis regarding indigenous filmmaking.  Perhaps students will find their topic at or or or Or perhaps students will bring another set of possibilities to light.  But students who choose this research area must be sure the resources reflect tribal worldviews.  You will be best served by getting approval for anything other than the four websites listed here sooner rather than later.


IV. Case Study (Varies by Class Offering).  For the Winter 2012 quarter, the variable case study available as a topic for your final paper is Gaza.  Using both on-line sources and print materials, students must develop a thesis on how Gaza might be understood through the lens of Indigenous Studies or Native Studies.  What can a tribal worldview bring to bear on the “Goldstone Report,” and the international community’s varied responses to the Israeli colonization of Palestinians?


List of Sources Reviewed: Students should pay particular note that the first assignment due is in the fourth week of class and that this assignment reflects the research completed outside of the course readings.  Students must list on one page an annotated bibliography of the sources already reviewed for possible inclusion in the final project.  An evaluative annotated bibliography is a formal citation of a resource with a short (two to three sentence) description of the resource and the resources’ possible contribution to a particular research topic.  Lists will be evaluated both on the quantity of sources and the detail of their annotations.  You can find a fine example of these at points/perfect score: 5 points.


Midterm Paper Proposals: Students must choose one of the themes listed above and write a proposal for their final paper. The paper proposals will provide an introduction (1-2 pages) to the research paper, a detailed outline (3-5 pages) to the paper, and a list of research resources (1-2 pages). Proposals should be anywhere between five and seven pages in length. Grading will be based on the number of resources already consulted, the adherence to the quarter’s theme, and on the detail of the outline.  Total points/Perfect score: 15 points.


Discussion Section Preparation Emails:  There are a total of 10 discussion section meetings in this class.  All discussion sections meet on either Thursdays or Fridays.  In order to better prepare the TA and students for a productive conversation, students must submit an email to the TA before their section meetings in which they include one paragraph and one question.  Students in Thursday sections must submit their assignments via email to their TAs before 9am on Thursday morning.  Students in Friday sections must submit their assignments via email to their TAs before 5pm on Thursday, the day before their sections meet.  In the paragraph (four to six sentences), students are expected to explain why the readings for that week were significant to understanding tribal worldviews. Students should use the one question to foster conversation among students rather than query a particular aspect of the readings.  “How” and “why” questions are often more useful than “who,” “what,” “where,” or “when.”  For each email received on time, students will receive either a check, check plus, or check minus.  Students should use these informal evaluations as a guide to their following weeks’ emails. All emails received on time and following the directions here will receive one point contributing to 10 points toward the final grade.  Total points/Perfect score: 10 points.


Final Papers:  For their final papers, students will complete a research paper, responding to the comments offered in the midterm paper proposal grading process.  The final papers will be evaluated upon the student’s ability to articulate the course theme within the context of their individual research projects. These final papers will be between ten and twelve pages, not including a works cited. Total works cited will range from at least 12 sources to at most 20 sources. Standard College Rule will be followed in terms of format; a handout will be available that details the strict formatting requirements. Total points/Perfect score: 30 points.


Pop Quizzes: At unannounced times throughout the quarter, students will be required to take quizzes that enable the student and instructor to track reading comprehension and retention.  Total Points for all quizzes: 25 points.


Attendance and participation: Students may earn up to 15 points for attendance.  Signing in each day of lecture and discussion section enables us to monitor attendance. On the daily attendance sheets, the students are responsible for printing their name and signing it every single class.  YOU CANNOT SIGN UP FOR ATTENDANCE AFTER THE FACT. There are nineteen required days of lecture (meaning I’ve already given you a three missed-class/section margin of error by that counting of seventeen for class and nine for sections).  There are ten possible discussion section meetings. Out of 29 possible signatures (19classes and 10section), points will be assigned based on the following attendance scale. Total Points/Perfect score: 15 points.

26 – 29=15









11 – 12=6

9 – 10=5

7 – 8=4



0 – 4=1


Missed Classes: Of course you might miss class.  Neither your TA nor your professor needs to know why. The attendance policy listed immediately above does not discriminate between classes missed for doctor’s appointments, illness, or simply not coming because you didn’t feel like it.  If you must miss a discussion section, your discussion preparation email is still required the day before.  If you miss a class, DO NOT ASK THE PROFESSOR IF YOU MISSED ANYTHING. You are best served by developing a mutually beneficial relationship with your classmates for at least this purpose.


LATE PAPERS: In the most rare of cases, any professor can expect to receive late papers from students. In fact, your professor in this class does expect to receive a late paper now and then.  He does not, however, want to hear about why the paper is late or when the paper will be completed.  If you absolutely must turn in an assignment after the due date, please know that you will receive an automatic .5 deduction for every day the paper is late.  Do not attempt to excuse yourself from this policy.


PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism is a serious academic offense and will not be tolerated.  You consult the work of others, fraternity/sorority files, or any other source, at your peril.  If you find yourself feeling as though you need to do so you must consult the professor first.   The American College Dictionary defines plagiarism as “copying or imitating the language, ideas, and thoughts of another author and passing off the same as one’s original work.”  As commonly understood, plagiarism has to do with any and all forms of cheating. All final research papers will be submitted for grading through, an on-line originality verification system.


If you wish to request an accommodation due to a suspected or documented disability, please inform your instructor and contact the Office for Students with Disabilities as soon as possible at A255 Murphy Hall, (310) 825-1501, (310) 206-6083(telephone device for the deaf). Website:


Final Grading Scale: Adding the scores from the individual assignments, the final scores will be calculated in the following manner:

A+ =    100 points

A =      94 to 99

A- =     91 to 92

B+ =     89 to 90

B =       83 to 89

B- =     80 to 82

C+ =     78 to 79

C =       71 to 77

C- =     68 to 70

D+ =    66 to 67

D =      64 to 65

D- =     60 to 63


Mandatory Course Texts:


Horse Capture, George.  Seven Visions of Bull Lodge.

Sarris, Greg. Mabel Mckay: Weaving the Dream.


Both of the books and a Course Reader for the class are MANDATORY. All texts are available at the ASUCLA Bookstore in Ackerman.


Supplemental Course Materials Will Be Available on CCLE, the course website


Reading/Assignment Schedule

Since the course will meet twice a week for lectures (and once per week for discussion sections), each week below is divided into two days as a way to designate the required readings for that day.


Week One: Why We Like Indians

Tuesday, Jan 10

Professor Introduction, Timeline, Assignment Schedule, Syllabi, Waitlist

Film: “White Shamans, Plastic Medicine Men” (26 min)

Thursday, Jan 12

Lisa Aldred, “Plastic Shamanism and Astroturf Sun Dances”

Andy Smith, all

The Sacred Egg excerpt, 225-248

Robert Redfield, 81-95

Week Two: Approaching the Study of Native Peoples

Tuesday, Jan 17:          Robert Berkhofer, 3-31

David Maybury Lewis, “Indigenous Peoples”

Thursday, Jan 19:        David E. Wilkins, “Indian People are Nations, Not Minorities”

Week Three: Challenges to Understanding Other Tribal Worldviews

Tuesday, Jan 24:          Hallowell, “Ojibwa Ontology and Worldview”

Thursday, Jan 26:        Horse Capture, to 77


Week Four: Case Study: Current USA

Tuesday, Jan 31:          Horse Capture, to end

Thursday, Feb 2:          Sarris, to 67


Week Five: When Natives Write

Tuesday, Feb 7:           Sarris, to end

Due: List of Sources Reviewed for Final Paper (5 pts)

Thursday, Feb 9:          Linda Tuhiwai Smith, “Imperialism, History, Writing and Theory”


Week Six: Broad Strokes: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization

Tuesday, Feb 14:         Tuhiwai Smith, “Colonizing Knowledges”

Thursday, Feb 16:        Anthony J. Hall, “Imagining Civilization on the Frontiers of                                                               Aboriginality.”

                                    Due: Midterm Paper Proposals Due (15 pts)


Week Seven: Case Studies

Tuesday, Feb 21:         Anna Tsing, “Indigenous Voice”

Thursday, Feb 23: Melanesia and India

Mary N. Macdonald, “Changing Habits, Changing Habitats: Melanesian                                                         Environmental Knowledge”


Week Eight: Case Studies (continued)

Tuesday, Feb 28:         Pramod Parajuli, “Leaning from Ecological Ethnicities: Toward a Plural

Political Ecology of Knowledge”

                                    Optional: Indigenous Peoples: A Fieldguide for Development to 31

Thursday, Mar 1:  South America

In Class Film: “Roots, Thorns, and other Movements”

Aldisson Anguita Mariqueo, “Chilean Economic Expansion and Mega-

development Projects in Mapuche Territories.”

Optional: Indigenous Peoples: A Fieldguide for Development to 59

Week Nine: Case Studies

Tuesday, Mar 6:  South America (continued)

Barbara Rose Johnston and Carmen Garcia-Downing, “Hydroelectric

Development on the Bio Bio River, Chile: Anthropology and Human

Rights Advocacy.”

                                    Optional: Indigenous Peoples: A Fieldguide for Development to 98

Thursday, Mar 8:  Africa

Njoki Nathani Wane, “Indigenous Knowledge: Lessons from the Elders

– A Kenyan Case Study”

George J. Sefa Dei “African Development: The Relevance and

Implications of            ‘Indigenousness’”

Optional: Indigenous Peoples: A Fieldguide for Development to 121


Week Ten: The Future is Native

Tuesday, Mar 13:

Mary Arquette, Maxine Cole and the Akwesasne Task force on the

Environment, “Restoring our Relationships for the Future”

Rober C. A. Maaka and Augie Fleras, “Indigeneity at the Edge: Towards

a Constructive Engagement”

Thursday, Mar 15:       Tirso A. Gonzales and Melissa K. Nelson, “Contemporary Native

American Responses to           Environmental Threats in Indian Country”





Finals Week:  Final Paper Due (30 Points) Monday, March 19th: 12pm NOON



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