Fall 2019 - SA 365 D100

Selected Regional Areas (A) (4)

The Highlands of Bolivia

Class Number: 5872

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Mon, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An examination of selected aspects of the social structure, culture and the processes of social change in varying regional areas. The focus will vary from semester to semester.


Environmental Justice, Politics, and Indigeneity in the Bolivian Highlands
This course explores the intersections of indigeneity and environmental justice within the rapidly changing politics of Bolivia’s Andean highlands. Decades of activism and resistance by the country’s indigenous peoples culminated in the 2005 election of a new socialist government, headed by Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president. This dealt a blow to two decades of neoliberalism and ushered in an era of rapid political, social, and economic change, bringing the Bolivian highlands both increased prosperity and intensifying environmental degradation. This course will examine anthropological studies of the contradictions and tensions of this rapidly changing region, focusing on how Bolivia’s highly politicized notions of indigeneity are shaped by social and environmental change and how highland indigenous peoples simultaneously impel economic and political transformations while resisting environmental destruction. We will also discuss the ways that the Bolivian case sheds light on broader concerns over neoliberalism, neocolonialism, and global climate chaos.


Upon completing the course students of SA 365 should be able to:

  • Explain and critique how anthropological field research methods and ethnographic writing are used to holistically examine Bolivia’s recent history of rapid environmental and socioeconomic transformation.
  • Describe the interrelatedness of indigeneity with processes of political, social, economic, and environmental change in the Bolivian highlands.
  • Explain how Bolivia’s recent history of change relates to, and sheds light on, broader global concerns over neoliberalism, neocolonialism, and climate chaos.
  • Critically read, analyze, and discuss different academic sources, alone and with peers.
  • Demonstrate understanding of how academic research is an ongoing critical and polyvocal conversation by preparing a detailed book review on an ethnography of political and environmental change in the Bolivian highlands.


  • Participation/in-class collaborative work 10%
  • Weekly online roundtable 15%
  • Group presentation 20%
  • Ethnography book review 25%
  • Final paper 30%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html



All required readings will be provided on the course Canvas page.


Recommended readings for each week will be provided on the course Canvas page.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html