Course title and instructor

Pre-Columbian Mexico in the 21st Century World

Ellen Hoobler, art history professor

Course description

This class will explore, through the selection of a limited number of works of art and architecture, the rich artistic traditions of pre-Columbian Mexico. Although the course’s geographical and historical reach is large (spanning over 3,000 years of history and a broad swath of North America), the works that we will examine are selective rather than comprehensive, and certain recurring themes will be emphasized in class discussions.

Such themes include: Mesoamerican rulership and its representation; various cultures’ approaches to life and death and how they are reflected in art and material culture; Mesoamerican cities and urban planning; materials and “material meanings”; uses of technology in understanding the pre-Columbian world; collecting the pre-Columbian past; and continuities of pre-Columbian culture after 1521.

Course highlights

  • Study Aztec civilization in Mexico City
  • Day trips to nearby sites of Cacaxtla and Teotihuacan
  • Fly to Palenque, one of the greatest Mayan cities
  • Visit a variety of sites in the state of Oaxaca