Five College Consortium

Indigenous Women

Semester: 
Spring
Year: 
2018
Subject Name: 
Political Science
Course Number: 
411
Institution: 
Amherst College

(Offered as POSC 411[G] and SWAGS 411) Indigenous women are rarely considered actors in world politics. Yet from their positions of marginality, they are shaping politics in significant ways. This course inter-weaves feminist and Indigenous approaches to suggest the importance of Indigenous women’s political contributions. It is an invitation not merely to recognize their achievements but also to understand why they matter to international relations. 


This course tackles varied Indigenous contexts, ranging from pre-conquest gender relations to the 1994 Zapatista uprising. We will learn how Indigenous women played diplomatic roles and led armies into battle during colonial times. We will analyze the progressive erosion of their political and economic power, notably through the introduction of property rights, to understand the intersectional forms of racial, class, and gender violence. Course materials explore the linkages between sexuality and colonization, revealing how sexual violence was a tool of conquest, how gender norms were enforced and sexualities disciplined. In doing so, we will analyze indigenous women’s relationship to feminism as well as their specific struggles for self-determination. We will illustrate the sophistication of their current activism in such cases as the Maya defense of collective intellectual property rights. As we follow their struggles from the Arctic to the Andes, we will understand how indigenous women articulate local, national, and international politics to challenge state sovereignty. This course satisfies the advanced seminar requirement for the Department of Political Science.


Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Picq.

Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during all registration periods.
Crosslisted Section ID: 
POSC-411-01,SWAG-411-01
Schedule #: 
POSC-411-01-1718S

Course Sections

Indigenous Women
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
01 4.0 Manuela Picq mpicq@amherst.edu T 02:30PM-05:00PM CONV 209