College of Arts and Letters Department of Humanities, Arts, and Religion



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College of Arts and Letters

Department of Humanities, Arts, and Religion

ARH 365 / Art and Architecture of Precontact Mexico and the Maya

[3 credit hours]

Greta Jennings Murphy

Greta.Murphy@nau .edu

Riles 118

523.3753
Course prerequisites: Junior Status


Course description:
This course covers Mexican and Mayan arts and architecture from approximately 1200 BCE until the Spanish Conquest of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan in 1521. The cultures included in this study are the Maya, Olmec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Toltec, Aztec, and others. Cultural contexts are emphasized as a means of understanding this tremendously compelling body of work. Lectures and readings are thematically structured.
Art historians borrow knowledge, theories, and methodologies from a number of disciplines in an effort to understand a work of art from within its original cultural context. History, archaeology, and religious studies are but a few of the disciplines to which art historians are indebted, and it is virtually impossible to isolate art historical inquiry from them. This class is therefore designed to accommodate a variety of academic interests and backgrounds but does not assume or require any specialized knowledge. By the same token, art history is an excellent vehicle for exploring a number of cultural issues that you will be able to use in other areas.
Student Learning Expectations/Outcomes for this Course:

This is a Liberal Studies Course in Global Diversity Awareness. You will acquire a demonstrable understanding of the historical foundation, political events, social environment, and religious belief systems that are visually and conceptually encoded in the arts and architectures of indigenous Mexican and Mesoamerican cultures. These varied cultures continue to survive, and have significantly contributed to the national identities of Mexico and Central American countries.


Course structure/approach:
Three exams, each worth 25% of your final grade (75% total). These will test your ability to recognize specific works of art and architecture and your knowledge of the basic contextual information one must have in order to understand these works. Questions are taken from lectures, discussions, and readings (a fairly even balance of each).

Research project worth 25% of your final grade.

Textbook and required materials:

Johanna Broda, David Carrasco, and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, The Great Temple of Tenochtitlán: Center and Periphery in the Aztec World. Berkeley : University of California, 1987


Mary Ellen Miller, The Art of Mesoamerica from Olmec to Aztec. New York: Thames & Hudson, 19% & Karl Taube, Illustrated Dictionary of Ancient Mexico and the Mava. New York: Thames & Hudson, 1997.
Linda Schele and Mary Ellen Miller, The Blood of Kings : Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art. Fort Worth: Kimbell Art Museum, 1986.

Course outline


Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes:
Grading System:

A Excellent: exceptional work (90-100)

B Great: surpassed basic requirements (80-89)

C Very good: met all basic requirements (70-79)

D Not so good : did not meet basic requirements (60-69)

F Little or no effort demonstrated (0-59)


Course policy

Regular class attendance is crucial! Art history involves visual information that you will have little opportunity to experience elsewhere. Please familiarize yourself with the following policy :


You are expected to attend all classes, period. Two points will be deducted from your final grade per unexcused absence. It is your responsibility to know the university's attendance policy i.e. what constitutes an excused absence and to obtain the appropriate written excuse.
I do not give make-up exams or accept late work without an excused absence or by prior arrangement. You must provide advanced notice in writing if you know you will have an excused absence on an exam day or deadline, and you must contact me within 24 hours if you missed an exam or deadline.
You are expected to arrive on time and stay for the entire class. Please let me know beforehand if you must leave early.
It is your responsibility to sign the attendance sheet. Please don't forget!
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR GRADES:
Exam 1 ____ x .25 = Exam 2 ____X .25 =

Exam 3 ____ x .25 = Research Paper ____ x .25 =


Keep track of your absences here:___________(please remember attendance policy)

Schedule and Reading List


Week 1 The Mayan World View:
Film:

The Popol Vuh

Read:

Susan Gillespie. Ball games and Boundaries. The Mesoamerican Ballgame. Tucson: University of Arizona, 1991. pp. 317-345 [electronic reserve]


Week 2 Mayan Art and Architecture:
Read:

Schele & Miller, The Royal Person. The Blood of Kings, pp. 63-102

Read:

Schele & Miller, Mayan Kingship and the Rites of Accession. The Blood of Kings, pp. 103-132



Week 3 Mayan Art and Architecture:
Read:

Schele & Miller, Courtly Life. The Blood of King, pp. 133-174

Read:

Schele & Miller, Bloodletting and the Vision Quest. The Blood of King, pp. 175-208



Week 4 Mayan Art and Architecture:
Read:

Schele & Miller, Warfare and Captive Sacrifice, The Blood of Kings, pp. 209-240

Read:

Schele & Miller, The Ballgame, The Blood of Kings pp.


Week 5 Mayan Art and Architecture:
Read:

Schele & Miller, Death and the Journey to Xibalba. The Blood of Kings, pp. 265-300

Read:

Schele & Miller, Kingship and the Maya Cosmos. The Blood of King, pp. 301-316


Week 6 Introduction to Mexican Cultures:Pre-Classic Period Mexico : The Olmec
EXAM ONE

Read:


Miller, The Olmecs. The Art of Mesoamerica, pp. 17-37

Week 7 Pre-Classic Period Mexico: The Olmec & the Cultures of West Mexico


Read:

Miller, The Late Formative. The Art of Mesoamerica, pp. 38-65

Week 8 Classic Period Mexico:Teotihuacan
Read:

Miller, Teotihuacdn. The Art of Mesoamerica, pp. 67-81

Read:

Jeff Kowalski, Natural Order, Social Order, Political Legitimacy, and the Sacred City : The Architecture of Teotihuacdn. Mesoamerican Architecture as a Cultural Symbol. New York Oxford University Press, 1999. [electronic reserve]


Week 9 Classic Period Mexico:Teotihuacan
Read:

John B. Carlson, The Rise and Fall of the City of the Gods. Archaeology vol. 46, no. 6 (Nov/Dec 1993) : pp. 58-69 [electronic reserve]


Week 10 Classic Period Mexico:: Veracruz & El Tajin
Read:

Miller, The Late Formative. The Art of Mesoamerica, pp. 38-65

Miller, Classic Monte Albdn, Veracruz, and Cotzumalhuapa . The Art of Mesoamerica, pp. 83-102
Week 11 Post-Classic Period Mexico: The Toltecs
EXAM TWO

Read:


Miller, Mesoamerica After the Fall of the Classic Cities. The Art of Mesoamerica, pp. 170-176
Week 12 Post-Classic Period Mexico:The Toltec-Maya at Chichen Itza
READ:

Miller, Mesoamerica After the Fall of the Classic Cities. The Art of Mesoamerica pp. 176-188


Week 13 Post-Classic Period Mexico: The Aztecs
READ:

Moctezuma, The Templo Major of Tenochtitlan : History and Interpretation. The Great Temple of Tenochtitlin. pp. 15-60


Week 14 Post-Classic Period Mexico: The Aztecs
Read:

Broda, Templo Major as Ritual Space. The Great Temple of TenochtitlAn. pp. 61-123


Week 15 Post-Classic Period Mexico: The Aztecs
RESEARCH PAPER DUE

Read:


Carrasco, Myth, Cosmic Terror, and the Templo Major. The Great Temple of Tenochtitlan. pp. 162
Week 16 Final Exams Week
EXAM THREE


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