This course examines the Prehispanic cultures of Mexico including the Aztec, Olmec, Zapotec, Mixtec, and Chatino. We trace cultural developments in Mexico over the last 12,000 years by examining social organization, ideology, daily life, religion, art, writing, subsistence, technology, and exchange. The course considers some of the most important transitions in human history including the origins of agriculture, the formation of cities and states, the rise and fall of empires, and the development of writing. An important theme running through the course will be the relationship between religion and politics in ancient Mexico, especially the significance of divinities, ancestors, sacrifice, and sacred texts. We will consider the implications of a number of recent discoveries in the field such as the finding of hundreds of sacrificial victims buried within the Temple of Quetzalcoatl at the ancient city of Teotihuacan. The goals of this course are to provide students with an overview of the prehispanic history of Mexico and an appreciation of current debates by archaeologists.
Professor Arthur Joyce
See the University Catalog for specifics, recommendations, and prerequisites.