The Mesoamerica Center congratulates Dr. Julia Guernsey, affiliated faculty of our center, for the Outstanding Teaching Award. The award's program is one of the nation’s largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education, honoring outstanding performance in the classroom and dedication to innovation in undergraduate instruction.
This spring, The Mesoamerica Center brought students to Casa Herrera for their study abroad semester for the third year. This satellite campus provides a teaching and research center in the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala.
The study abroad program is open to all majors and focuses on ancient and contemporary culture in Guatemala and Belize, giving students a fully immersive and interactive experience at ancient Maya sites, national and local museums, archaeological laboratories, and contemporary Maya villages.
The Mesoamerica Center faculty lead for the program, Dr. Astrid Runggaldier, teaches courses in Antigua and oversees the curriculum, field trips, invited speakers, and special projects.
In 1978, this 56-page booklet, the original “notebook” for the Maya Hieroglyphic Writing Workshop at Texas, was handed out to all participants and contained Linda Schele’s detailed transcriptions of selected hieroglyphic tablets from Palenque, Mexico.
This initial gathering, held over a chilly spring break in Austin, was the distant ancestor of the current Maya Meetings and has been held annually ever since.
I hope you will take a little time to read about some of the many exciting developments in Mesoamerican research now happening at The University of Texas at Austin.
Among many other activities, The Mesoamerica Center, housed in the Department of Art and Art History, oversees the planning and operation of two major undertakings: The Maya Meetings and Casa Herrera.
The annual Maya Meetings, now in its 37th year, brings scholars, students, and all types of interested people together to share the latest discoveries in Maya art, archaeology, and decipherment (back in 1978 it was called the “Maya Hieroglyphic Writing Workshop” –see From the Archives). It remains one of the preeminent conferences in Maya studies, and our next meeting will take place in January, here in Austin. We will focus on the theme of sacrifice and ritual and keep you updated on The 2015 Maya Meetings website.
Casa Herrera, our beautiful research and learning center in Antigua, Guatemala, is home to a number of academic programs, seminars, lectures and residential scholars. Casa Herrera will continue to play a key role in forging communication and dialogue between the researchers in Central America and Texas, especially in these times when in-person connections and understanding are so vitally important.
Lucia Henderson has received the Sylvan C. Coleman and Pamela Coleman Memorial Fund Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Dr. Henderson will be conducting focused research on the museum’s Maya collection, which is housed in the Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.
Lucia Henderson received her Ph.D from the University of Texas at Austin in 2013. Her dissertation provides the first illustrated catalog and comprehensive analysis of the sculptures of the Late Preclassic Maya site of Kaminaljuyú, Guatemala. Lucia holds an MA in art history from UC San Diego, a BA in anthropology from Harvard University, and is a trained archaeological illustrator. Lucia has published on a diverse range of topics, cultures, and time periods, from stone sculpture to cave art, hydraulic systems, and volcano imagery, and from the Late Preclassic Maya to the Postclassic Aztecs and the American Southwest.
Caitlin Earley, doctoral candidate in the Department of Art and Art History, was awarded a Junior Fellowship from Dumbarton Oaks. Dumbarton Oaks is a research institute of Harvard University dedicated to supporting research in Pre-Columbian Studies as well as Byzantine Studies and Garden and Landscape Studies. Junior Fellowships are awarded to PhD candidates for one academic year of residential study in Washington, DC, giving them the opportunity to pursue research amongst the rich academic resources and dynamic scholarly community of Dumbarton Oaks.
Professors, local instructors, and students from various universities in the United States and Guatemala collaborated at Casa Herrera during June and July for an intensive 6-week program of dynamic language instruction in Kaqchikel and K’iche’.
Dr. Judith Maxwell from Tulane University, along with 6 local Kaqchikel teachers, lead a group of eight students in the Kaqchikel program. Professor Mareike Sattler of Vanderbilt University and Dr. James Mondloch of the University of New Mexico, plus 4 local K’iche’ instructors, worked with a group of eight students in the K’iche’ program. Dr. Sergio Romero from The University of Texas at Austin also provided program support for the K’iche’ group during their three-week stay in Nahualá.
Casa Herrera greeted 19 undergraduates from various disciplines across The University of Texas at Austin campus to participate in a 6-week program called Culture, Education, and Diversity. During this program, students received classes at Casa Herrera led by Dr. Noah De Lissovoy from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the College of Education at UT Austin.
The Society for American Archeology ( SAA) Conference is held in Austin, Texas from April 23-25, 2014. Dr. Astrid Runggaldier will be leading a section titled "Pre-Classic Maya Civilizations is no Longer a Contradiction in Terms: A Session in Honor of Norman Hammond on the Last Forty Years of Pre-Classic Maya Research"