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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Indigenous Futures (fusion online) (EFIE11049)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryFrom highland Asia to Canada, and from Hawaii to New Zealand, Indigenous peoples are increasingly making their voices heard. They are finding new ways to build an inclusive and fairer society around notions of trust, tradition, guardianship, and protection. Using three themes - sovereignty, ecology and repatriation - and developing and exploring data driven case studies, the course will put in context the long legacy of colonialism, the predicaments around international rights, and the innovative ways in which Indigenous peoples are engaging with the world.

Reconsidering what constitutes 'data', and how might we expand our notion of evidence, is the key to understanding Indigenous Futures. Data should not only be seen as a derivative that informs government policy, but as being about how we navigate knowledge that includes dreams, prophecies, protests, and public debates, and how Indigenous peoples deliberate on issues through peoples' councils, consultations, and customary laws.
Course description This course offers a conceptual and practical way of rethinking the place of Indigenous peoples in the world today through three data driven case studies:

(1) Sovereignty;
(2) Ecology;
(3) Repatriation.

Central to the course is expanding on notions of data, engaging with diverse ways we can complicate and nurture its production. The course organiser will choose three case studies for the intensive workshop, engaging with key stakeholders via online and in-person discussion. The course will involve independent reading and discussions with cohort and course tutors, participation in a group project and video presentation, engagement with the course organiser and invited speakers, including leading group discussion, and completing a final essay.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - Online Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities. Students should note that their interactions may be recorded and live-streamed. There will, however, be options to control whether or not your video and audio are enabled.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop an understanding of key concepts related to Indigenous peoples and their real-life challenges.
  2. Acquire a critical ability to articulate the significant course themes through engagement with secondary sources and scholarly debates and relate them to historical and contemporary case studies.
  3. Critically review different media and data - such as written literature, art, music, oral testimonies, video documentaries, social media, newspapers (including online news), events related to protests, public debate and the way Indigenous peoples deliberate on issues through people's councils, consultations, community meetings, and customary laws.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to work independently and in groups, and to critically engage with various levels of policy, laws, institutional mechanisms, and community knowledge in light of the international context such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  5. Critically evaluate how issues of Indigenous knowledge and visions of the future relate to the critical analysis of data and inequality in society.
Reading List
Indicative Reading List:


Atalay, Sonya et al. 2017. 'Ritual Processes of Repatriation: A discussion'. Museum Worlds 5 (1): 88-94.

De la Cadena, Marisol. 2015. 'Uncommoning Nature': STORIES FROM THE ANTHROPO-NOT-SEEN. Anthropos and the Material.

De la Cadena, Marisol and Orin Starn. 2007. Indigenous Experience Today. London: Routledge.

Noelani Goodyear-Ka'opua. 2017. 'Protectors of the Future, Not Protestors of the Past: Indigenous Pacific Activism and Mauna a Wakea'. South Atlantic Quarterly 116 (1): 184-194.

Olupona, Jacob K. (ed.). 2004. Beyond Primitivism: Indigenous Religious Traditions and Modernity. London: Routledge.

Porsanger, Jelena. 2004. 'An Essay about Indigenous Methodology'. Nordlit 8 (1): 105-120.

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. 1999. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed Books.

Stanley, Nick (ed.). 2007. The Future of Indigenous Museums: Perspectives from the Southwest Pacific. Berghahn Books.

Subba, Tanka and Beppe Karlsson (eds.). 2006. Indigeneity in India: Studies in Anthropology, Economy and Society. London: Kegan Paul.

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:


Bennett, Tony. 2003. The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics. New York: Routledge.

Berglund, Jeff & Bronwyn Calrson. 2021. Indigenous Peoples Rise Up: The Global Ascendency of Social Media Activism. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

Brousis, Peter. 2003. 'Local Knowledges, Global Claims: On the Significance of Indigenous Ecologies in Sarawak, East Malaysia'. Indigenous Traditions and Ecology: The Interbeing of Cosmology and Community. Harvard: HUP.

Clifford, James. 2013. Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century. Harvard: HUP.

Chakrabarty, Dipesh. 2019. 'The Planet: An Emergent Humanist Category'. Critical Enquiry 46 1-31.

Cultural Survival:

Johnson, Greg. 2014. 'Off the Stage, on the Page: On the Relationship between Advocacy and Scholarship'. Religion 44 (2): 289-302.

Fforde, Cressida et al. 2020. The Routledge Companion to Indigenous Repatriation. London: Routledge.
Jung, Courtney. 2008. The Moral Force of Indigenous Politics: Critical Liberalism and the Zapatistas. Cambridge: CUP.

Hohmann, Jessie, and Mark Weller. 2018. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: a commentary. Oxford: OUP.

Kimmerer, Robin Wall. 2013. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Milkweed Editions.

Kuokkanen, Rauna. 2019. Restructuring Relations: Indigenous Self-Determination, Governance and Gender. New York: Oxford University Press.

Land, Clare. 2015. Decolonizing solidarity: Dilemmas and Directions for Supporters of Indigenous Struggles. London: Zed Books.

Longkumer, Arkotong. 2020. 'Indigenous Futures: The practice of sovereignty in Nagaland and other places'. Indigenous Religion(s): Local Grounds, Global Networks. Open Access, Routledge.

Mathur, Nayanika. 2017. 'The Task of a Climate Translator'. Economic and Political Weekly liI no 31: 77-84.

McGranahan, Carole. 2016. 'Theorizing Refusal' and Audra Simpson, 'Consent's Revenge' in Cultural Anthropology Vol. 31 No. 3.

Meissner, Shelbi and Kyle Whyte. 2017. 'Theorizing Indigeneity, Gender, and Settler Colonialism'. The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Race. London: Routledge.

Monture, Patricia. 2008. 'Women's Words: Power, Identity, and Indigenous Sovereignty'. Canadian Woman's Studies 26 (3/4): 154-159.

Muehlebach, Andrea. 2001. ''Making Place' at the United Nations: Indigenous Cultural Politics at the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations'. Cultural Anthropology 16 (3): 415-448.

Niezen, Ronald. 2003. The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Pasternak, Shiri. 2017. Grounded Authority: The Algonquins of Barriere Lake Against the State. Minneapolis: MUP.

Peers, Laura et al. 2017. 'Repatriation and Ritual, Repatriation as Ritual'. Museum Worlds 5 (1): 1-8.

Return, Reconcile, Renew.

Scott, James C. 2009. The Art of Not Being Governed. Yale: YUP.

Shaw, Karena. 2008. Indigeneity and Political Theory: Sovereignty and the Limits of the Political. Oxford: Routledge.

Smith, Laurajane and Natsuko Akagawa (eds.). 2009. Intangible Heritage. Oxford: Routledge.

Tsing, Anna L. 2009. 'Adat/Indigenous: Indigeneity in Motion'. In Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon, edited by Carol Gluck and Anna L. Tsing. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 40-66.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and Understanding:
- A critical understanding of a range of specialised theories, concepts and principles.
- Develop an understanding in one or more specialisms, much of which is at, or informed by, developments at the forefront.
- A critical awareness of current issues in a subject/discipline/sector and one or more specialisms.

Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding:
- Ability to use a significant range of the principal professional skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with the subject/discipline/sector.
- Ability to plan and execute a significant project of research, investigation or development.
- Ability to demonstrate originality and/or creativity, including in practice.

Generic Cognitive Skills:
- Development of original and creative responses to problems and issues.
- Capacity to critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking across disciplines, subjects, and sectors.
- Ability to deal with complex issues and make informed judgements in situations in the absence of complete or consistent data/information.

Communication, ICT, and Numeracy Skills:
- Communication, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise.
- Communication with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists.
- Use of a wide range of ICT applications to support and enhance work at this level and adjust features to suit purpose.

Autonomy, Accountability, and Working with Others:
- Responsibility for own work and/or significant responsibility for group work.
- Demonstration of leadership and/or initiative and make an identifiable contribution to change and development and/or new thinking.
- Practice in ways which draw on critical reflection on own and others' roles and responsibilities.
Course organiserDr Arkotong Longkumer
Tel: (0131 6)50 8781
Course secretary
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