Specialization Coordinator: Joel Correia 

Indigenous communities, histories, lifeways, beliefs, politics, and social movements are central to Latin America. The MALAS specialization in Indigenous Studies connects students to a diverse selection of courses that address aspects of Indigenous affairs across the Americas, providing affiliated students with ethical, theoretical, and empirical frameworks to facilitate working with Indigenous communities and gain a deeper understanding of Indigenous issues. The courses associated with the specialization explore diverse cultural traditions, histories of relations with nation-states, political mobilizations and rights, spiritualities, political ecologies, contemporary challenges, ethnobotanical relations, among other topics. With affiliated faculty across the UF campus, MALAS Indigenous Studies students have the opportunity to take courses in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, and to benefit from a range of multi-disciplinary perspectives and research opportunities, both theoretical and applied.

  • To help graduate students and advisors to navigate the vast and constantly shifting curricular landscape supporting Latin American Studies at UF.
  • To foster connection and collaboration around shared interests among current and prospective UF faculty and students.
  • Complete 30 credit hours, fulfilling distribution requirements listed below
  • Demonstrate advanced proficiency in Portuguese, Spanish, or Haitian Creole
  • Produce a thesis, internship, or capstone project
  • 6 hours of gateway seminars
    • LAS 6220 Issues and Perspectives in Latin American Studies
    • LAS 6293 Research Design and Methods in Latin American Studies
  • At least 15 of the 30 total hours completed in courses listed as LAS
  • Thesis students must register for LAS 6971 in the semester of graduation
  • Internship students must register for 3 credits of LAS 6949
  • 12 hours of courses in an interdisciplinary specialization*

*Students may take more than 12 credits—potentially as many as 21 of required 30 credits—in courses associated with interdisciplinary specialization of choice.


12 credits total, including courses from at least two academic programs.

Core Courses

Select 6-12 credits from courses listed:

  • ANG 6930 Indigenous Histories and Historicities in Latin America
  • ANG 6930/RLG5937 Religion, Medicine and Healing
  • REL 6137 Indigenous Religions of the Americas 
  • ARH 6654 Pre-Columbian Art Seminar
  • LAS 6930 Indigenous Rights, Environmental Justice, and Development in Latin America
  • LAS 6938 Environmental social movements in Latin America
  • LAS 6290 Ethnoecology
Elective Credits

Select up to 6 credits from courses listed here:

  • ANG6930 Indigenous Peoples of Brazil
  • ANG6930  Religion and Healing
  • ANG6930  Legal Anthropology
  • ANG6086  Historical Ecology
  • ANT6286  Urban Anthropology
  • ANG6930  Ethnobotany
  • ARH6918  Mesoamerican Art
  • ARH6918 Ancient Andean Art
  • ARH6918 Indigenous Arts of the Colonial Americas
  • ARH6654 Pre-Columbian Art Seminar
  • ARH6666 Colonial Latin American Art Seminar
  • LAS6290  Community Forest Management
  • LAS6938  Environmental Governance
  • REL6385  Indigenous Religions of the Americas
  • REL5937  Contemporary Shamanisms

Before each semester, the Center compiles and posts online a Guide to hundreds of LAS-related courses available the coming semester. Some courses contributing to specializations are offered every semester, others once every few years. The list of courses provided here is not intended to guarantee any curricular offerings, but rather to open horizons to topics that have been and may be offered in widely varied programs around UF.


Each specialization offers students the opportunity to craft personalized programs of study and to add their own contributions. Students may identify additional courses relevant for a specialization, including new and one-time offerings, and may seek approval from the Specialization Coordinator to count such courses toward specialization credits.


Simone Athayde (Tropical Conservation and Development, Amazon) Amazon dams and indigenous peoples

Joel Correia (Latin American Studies; Southern Cone; Paraguay) Human Rights, Land Rights, Indigenous Rights, Environmental Justice, Legal Geography, Environmental Governance, Inter-American

Michael Heckenberger (Anthropology, Amazon) Ethno-archaeology, Embodiment, Urban anthropology

Karen Kainer (Latin American Studies/Forest Resources and Conservation) Brazil, Mexico, Community-based forest management, Tropical forest ecology, Amazon conservation, and sustainable development

Richard Kernaghan (Anthropology; Peru and Amazonia) Legal Anthropology, Ethnography and Ethnographic Writing, Roads and Indigenous Populations

Augusto Oyuela-Caycedo (Anthropology, Archaeology, Colombia and Peru) Historical Ecology, Shamanisms, Amazonia and Andes

Susan Paulson (Latin American Studies; Bolivia, Ecuador, and Brazil) Gender and Ethnoracial Systems Interacting with Environment, Political Ecology, Research Methodologies, Sustainability Science, Degrowth

Maya Stanfield-Mazzi (Art and Art History; Mesoamerica and Andes) Indigenous Art and Art History Art of Pre-Columbian and Colonial Latin America (colonial Peru)

John Richard Stepp (Anthropology, Latin American Studies; Mesoamerica) Cultural Ecology, Ecological Anthropology, Ethnobotany, Medical Anthropology, Visual Anthropology

Catherine Tucker (Latin American Studies and Anthropology; Central America, Mexico, and Peru) Ecological and Economic Anthropology, Environmental Governance, Community-Based Conservation, Institutional Analysis, Climate Change Adaptation, Belief Systems, Sustainability

Robin M. Wright (Department of Religion; Brazil) Religion, Medicine, and Healing; Shamanisms; Indigenous Religious Traditions; Indigenous Histories; Amazonia Brazil Indigenous Religious Traditions, Anthropology of Religion, Myth, Symbol & Ritual