Spring Semester Courses

Archaeology, Art and Cultural Heritage in Guatemala & Belize Program

Our program consist on a CORE Course offering of 2 classes and electives.
Enroll in the Archeology, Art and Cultural Heritage program in Guatemala & Belize and get credits for the following classes:

CORE CLASSES
Both classes below are required

 

Copan Field TripCopan Ruin, Honduras Field Trip

The Archaeology of Mesoamerica 
ANT 324L / ARH 374 / LAS 327 
This class carries a Global Culture Flag

Mesoamerica ancient history saw the rise and fall of several remarkable civilizations, all sharing many fundamental ways of life and ways of looking at the world, with cities, states, empires, and written histories. Today the living descendants of the ancient Maya, the Zapotec, and the Aztec (among others) continue to adapt their own identities to the modern world, only a few centuries after the harsh series of conquests in the sixteenth through seventeenth centuries.

In this class we will focus on ancient Mesoamerican cultures through an in-depth examination of their art and extensive archaeological remains. We begin the course by looking at what “Mesoamerica” means as a cultural label, as well as examining the ideas that led to the creation and sustainability of Precolumbian art, religion and political economy. One essential goal is to become familiar with the ideas, institutions and ethos of a very “alien” human culture that existed so near us geographically, and which still resonates strongly in the cultural expressions and identities of modern people in Mexico, Central America and even in the United States. Art, architecture, and archaeology are among the best avenues we have in reaching this goal, which says something about the extraordinary role and communicative power of visual expression in the pre-modern world.
 

Arch Santa Catalina
Photo C. Smith, Fall 2011

Colonial Encounter: Western and Indigenous Perspectives
ARH 374/ LAS 327
This class carries a Writing and Global Cultures Flag

This course explores relationships between the indigenous people of Mesoamerica (especially Maya) and the Europeans and their descendants, beginning with the earliest contact in the 15th century, and culminating with a current view of the Maya and other ethnic groups that make up the contemporary population of Guatemala and Central America. To understand social implications of five centuries of historical development, this course explores writings about the Aztec and Maya cultures of Mesoamerica spanning the period between the arrival of Hernán Cortés in Mexico in 1519 and the rediscovery of these indigenous civilizations by 19th century travelers exploring the abandoned ruins in the tropical jungles. Alongside western accounts of the Spanish Contact we will focus on the Aztec and Maya versions of the same events as they were recorded in indigenous histories, poetry, song, and letters to the King of Spain. More recent events, including the civil war of Guatemala, will be analyzed through ethnographic work especially in the highland of Guatemala.

The course will examine parallel narratives of the arrival of the Spaniards, both in their own records of events, as well as in the indigenous writings of the people Of Mesoamerica. Analysis of the course materials will entail close readings, discussion of the relationship between style and content, and formal and informal writing assignments throughout the semester. This approach will generate a broader understanding of the myths that are often hidden behind conventional wisdom on the Conquest of the Americas, as well as give students the academic tools necessary to produce college-level prose.
 

ELECTIVE CLASSES
Choose 2-3 electives from the courses below

 

Belize
Belize

Sacred Landscape in the Pre-Columbian World
ARH 371/ LAS 327/ GRG 356T
This class carries a Global Cultures Flag
 

This course is an exploration of the concept of landscape and environment from the perspective of archaeology. Students will gather information on the cultural aspects of environments from short ethnographic fieldwork assignments, and reading of case studies. Readings will be drawn from environmental psychology, the anthropology of space, and landscape archaeology to examine a variety of topics including natural and constructed landscapes, private and public space, the built environment, memory and commemoration of events through space, practice and symbolism of food production, environments in cosmology, and archaeological reconstructions of ancient landscapes.

Case studies from the Americas will highlight the social and cultural aspects of the study of ancient landscapes and provide students with a long-term horizon of the ways in which humans affect their environments, and how, in turn, environments shape cultural responses.
 

Maya Ruins field trip
Maya Ruins field trip, photo G. Flores

Ancient Maya Writing anf History
ARH 371 / ANT 324L / LAS 327

This course introduces students to Maya hieroglyphic writing, and how the decipherment of texts has led to new understandings of ancient Maya culture, society and history. The class aims to provide the student with a good working knowledge of the ancient Maya script, the language(s) in which it was written, the historical events narrated in the monuments of major Maya sites, and the history and methodology underlying the process of decipherment.course introduces students to Maya hieroglyphic writing, and how the decipherment of texts has led to new understandings of ancient Maya culture, society and history. The class aims to provide the student with a good working knowledge of the ancient Maya script, the language(s) in which it was written, the historical events narrated in the monuments of major Maya sites, and the history and methodology underlying the process of decipherment.

We will approach Maya writing through numerous case studies, drawn from texts found throughout the Maya area. Maya glyphs might well be considered the single most complex writing system ever devised. With its built-in capacity for exhibiting scribal artistry and idiosyncrasy, the Maya writing system’s inherent complexity has no equal among ancient or modern scripts. No previous knowledge of Maya glyphs is necessary; completion of the course will give students an appreciation of Maya history from the perspective of what the ancient Maya have written about themselves. 


Drawing: Place, Observation, Site
ART 319T/ ART 320K/ ART 320L

Exploration of various methods, subjects, and expressive possibilities in drawing. Explore Antigua and its surrounding villages and experience art in every corner. Open for majors and non ART majors.

Spanish
SPN 601D ( Introductory Spanish) , SPN 610D (Intermediate Spanish I) , SPN 611D ( Intermediate Spanish II)

The Spanish language program focuses on the development of multilingual literacies through the analysis and use of Spanish as a second language. The program focuses on the development of three major types of competencies (all equally ranked in terms of importance):

(1) linguistic competence (Spanish phonetics/phonology, morphosyntax, lexicon, discourse)
(2) communication / interactional competence (sociocultural uses of the language, pragmatics, cultural background / perspectives)
(3) metalinguistic competence (language as a conceptual, symbolic system)