Specialization Coordinator: Carmen Martínez Novo and Joel Correia 

Given that the lifeways, beliefs, politics, social movements, and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples are central to Latin America’s history, present, and future, we seek to foster a deeper understanding of Indigenous issues across the Americas. The MALAS specialization in Indigenous Studies therefore connects students to courses that provide ethical, theoretical, and empirical approaches to working with Indigenous peoples and on topics related to Indigenous affairs. Courses, seminars, and workshops associated with the specialization cover wide-ranging topics from histories of relations with nation-states and settlers, the arts, political mobilizations, spiritualities, development, political ecologies, Indigenous rights, ethnobotanical relations, cultural traditions, research methodologies, and more. With affiliated faculty across the UF campus, MALAS Indigenous Studies students have the opportunity to benefit from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives and research opportunities in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences—both theoretical and applied. Complementing coursework, we also invite interested students and faculty to join our regular activities that include guest speakers, workshops, conferences, and opportunities to share works in progress. Seeking to foster greater understanding of Indigenous Studies and relations across the Americas, we recognize and acknowledge that the University of Florida sits on the historic territories of the Timucua and crossroads of the Native American peoples who long inhabited this land.

  • 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, Haitian Creole, or another creole or indigenous language of the region
  • 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
  • LAS 6938: Indigenous Ontologies
Elective Credits

Select up to 6 credits from courses listed here:

  • ANG6930 Indigenous Peoples of Brazil
  • ANG6930 Religion and Healing
  • ANG6930 Legal Anthropology
  • ANG6930 Sources of Law in Amazonia
  • 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
  • LAS 6938 Land Politics
  • LAS 6938 Human Rights in Latin America
  • LAS 6938 Indigenismo and Inter-ethnic alliances in Latin America
  • 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 in 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.


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

Max Deardorff (History) colonial, race, native intellectuals, early modern Iberian, world religion, law

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

Carmen Martinez Novo (Latin American Studies, Ecuador, Andes, Amazon, Mexico), race and ethnicity, racism, Indigenous politics, indigenismo, Indigenous ontologies

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