Survey of Prehisoric Mesoamerica
- Course Number:
- ATH 235
- Transcript Title:
- Prehistoric Mesoamerica
- Jul 25, 2022
- Jan 23, 2023
- Total Credits:
- Lecture Hours:
- Lecture / Lab Hours:
- Lab Hours:
- Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement:
- Satisfies General Education requirement:
- Grading Options
- A-F, P/NP, Audit
- Default Grading Options
- Repeats available for credit:
Examines the development of pre-contact Mesoamerican indigenous cultures from the earliest known Paleo-Indian occupation to the impact of the Spanish invasion, surveying the dynamics of economic, social, political, cultural, and religious systems of the Maya, the Aztec, and their neighbors. Prerequisites: IRW 115 or WR 115 or equivalent placement; placement into MTH 65 or MTH 98. Audit available.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Define the boundaries of cultural areas in order to interpret how geography contributed to cultural development.
- Apply archaeological and anthropological methods to identify factors contributing to the emergence of incipient agriculture and sedentary cultures.
- Examine evidence for the emergence of ancestral cultures which developed into the hierarchical societies responsible for building monumental structures.
- Distinguish between the artistic, architectural, and religious expressions of major cultures during the Pre-Classic, Classic, and Post-Classic periods.
- Evaluate the impact of Spanish invasion and colonial institutions on the cultural, religious, and social condition of Mesoamerican people.
Suggested Outcome Assessment Strategies
The determination of assessment strategies is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: writings (journals, self-reflections, pre writing exercises, essays), quizzes, tests, midterm and final exams, group projects, presentations (in person, videos, etc), self-assessments, experimentations, lab reports, peer critiques, responses (to texts, podcasts, videos, films, etc), student generated questions, Escape Room, interviews, and/or portfolios.
Course Activities and Design
The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.
Outcome #1: Define the boundaries of cultural areas in order to interpret how geography contributed to cultural development.
- Contextualize Mesoamerican geography and climate.
- Identify the boundaries of different culture groups.
- Determine regional expressions in economic and agricultural diversity.
- Identify the major theories behind the development of maize and teosinte as base crops.
- Explore the archaeological grasp of the prehistory and history of Mesoamerican civilizations.
Outcome #2: Apply archaeological and anthropological methods to identify factors contributing to the emergence of incipient agriculture and sedentary cultures.
- Investigate archaeological and anthropological methods and techniques of data collection.
- Investigate archaeological evidence of human occupation in Mesoamerica.
- Provide examples of the regional development of art, astronomy, agronomy, mathematics, and literature.
- Identify the diversity of cultures and major sites, periods, and trends in the development of Mesoamerica.
Outcome #3: Examine evidence for the emergence of ancestral cultures which developed into the hierarchical societies responsible for building monumental structures.
- Discuss the Paleo-Indian and Formative periods.
- Define hierarchically structured societies.
- Provide examples of large-scale architectural construction of temple complexes and cities.
- Explore the history of agricultural techniques, cultigens and domestication of animals.
- Examine the existence and impact of trade routes.
- Discuss the topics of militarism, migration, and aggression between rival states.
- Explore indigenous writing and calendrical systems in Mesoamerican religious and political ideology.
Outcome #4: Distinguish between the artistic, architectural, and religious expressions of major cultures during the Pre-Classic, Classic, and Post-Classic periods.
- Discuss the Pre-Class, Classic, and Post-Classic period developments.
- Discuss the Maya and differentiate from neighboring culture systems.
- Explore indigenous perspectives of history.
- Explore the overlap of prehistoric population and settlement patterns with historic.
- Explore the city of Teotihuacan and urban evolution of large-scale settlements.
- Investigate the Aztec Empire and neighboring culture systems.
- Discuss major Mesoamerican artistic styles, belief systems, and indigenous concepts of self.
Outcome #5: Evaluate the impact of Spanish invasion and colonial institutions on the cultural, religious, and social condition of Mesoamerican people.
- Identify and deconstruct the interests, perspectives, gender and cultural bias of historians.
- Discuss changes of political and military alliances and cultural traditions.
- Investigate the impact of Spanish invasion and colonial establishment.
- Identify the causation of collapse of indigenous societal structure of city-states and governmental systems.
- Identify the spread of epidemic diseases, missionization and assimilation efforts.
- Explore current interpretations of Mesoamerican artistic, religious, and historical tradition.
Suggested Texts and Materials
- Adams, Richard E.W. (2005). Prehistoric Mesoamerica. University of Oklahoma Press.
- Claudia García-Des Lauriers, C., & Murakami, T. (2020). Teotihuacan and Early Classic Mesoamerica: Multiscalar Perspectives on Power, Identity, and Interregional Relations. University Press of Colorado.
- Coe, M.D., & Koontz, R. (2013). Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs, 7th Edition. Thames and Hudson.
- Coe, M.D., & Houston, S. (2015). The Maya, 9th Edition. Thames and Hudson.
- Feder, K. (2016). The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Prehistory, 7th Edition. Oxford University Press.
- Goodwin, W.A., Johnson, E., & Figueroa, A.J. (2021). Southeastern Mesoamerica: Indigenous Interaction, Resilience, and Change. University Press of Colorado.
- Malpass, M. (2008). Daily Life in the Inca Empire. Hackett Publishing.
- Nichols, D.L., & Pool, C.A.(2016). The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology.Oxford University Press.
- Restall, M., Sousa, L., & Terraciano, K. (2005). Mesoamerican Voices: Native Language Writings from Colonial Mexico, Yucatan, and Guatemala.Cambridge University Press.
- Smith, M. (2016). At Home with the Aztecs: An Archaeologist Uncovers Their Daily Life, 1st Edition. Routledge.