ANTH 1135, also known as Exploring Cultural Diversity, is a wonderful, eye-opening class offered at the University of Colorado Boulder. The general overview of this course includes learning about the 5 different South American countries in the Andean region. Through this, you’ll gain a new perspective on capitalism, socialism, and American imperialism by studying history through a different lens. Because you have to take on a new worldview in this class, you’re going to learn a lot of things. But of all the new facts you’ll learn in ANTH 1135, here are the 5 coolest ones.
1) Cocaine was once recreationally used by American presidents
In today’s America, cocaine is associated with death and the drug epidemic sweeping the country. But backtrack to the 19th century and early 20th century, and you’ll find that cocaine was used both recreationally and medicinally in the United States. Renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud prescribed cocaine to troubled patients, and both the 18th and 25th presidents of this nation were known to use the drug for recreational purposes. Those presidents are Ulysses S. Grant and William McKinley.
2) Capitalism is in South America
It’s common knowledge that major powers such as the United States and Germany are capitalist economies. However, it’s seldom taught that many of these capitalist economies exploit their power on South American countries, such as Bolivia. The United States and other capitalist countries exploit natural resources (like tin from Bolivia) from these nations, causing a currency drain. This means that although many South American countries are naturally rich, these capitalist economies take their resources with little cost, leaving these naturally rich countries quite poor.
3) Ancient Andean values regard the past as ahead and the future behind
During the Inca civilization, Incas viewed the past as ahead of themselves where they could always see it, and the future at their backs. Modern western culture holds the opposite values, with the future ahead and the past behind. So, while these ancient Andean values might seem ludicrous to us, upon closer analysis they actually make sense. To the Incas, the future was behind them where they couldn’t see it, because they had no idea what the future would hold. In contrast, their ancestral past was ahead of them, because they knew their history and wanted to stay connected to their ancestors and past.
4) U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (SOA) trained Latin American soldiers for combat
The School of the Americas was located in Fort Benning, Georgia, as well as a few other locations in central and South America. Although the institution was run by the United States Military, meaning it was funded by the United States government, it trained Latin American soldiers in combative training. The SOA’s goal was to create citizens that could fight against the rise of communism, however it mainly succeeded in producing dictators, torturers, and assassins. For example, Hugo Banzer, the barbaric dictator of Boliva.
5) The Inca could have possibly beaten the Spanish conquistadors in 1532
Despite the Inca Army being much, much smaller than that of the Spanish conquistadors in 1532, the Inca could have won the war against them. The Inca were very technologically advanced, and also had lots of land that the Spanish had to conquer. Some of the technological advancements the Inca had included the cloth slingshot and the Nazca road lines, which were over 25,000 miles long. These inventions helped the Inca so much that they actually were winning many battles against the Spanish. It was only until the outbreak of smallpox and the influenza that the downfall of the Inca was certain.
Every CU Boulder student should take ANTH 1135. Not only will you learn about South American history in-depth like you never have before, but you’ll also get to adopt an outside perspective on the United States. This class is guaranteed to teach you some fascinating facts, which will shape you into a more informed and skeptical citizen.