Colgate University

First-Year Course Offerings — Fall 2022

CORE 159C   Maya
Credits1
RestrictionsNo 2024 2023
Pre-Requisites
Co-Requisites
DistributionNone
Core AreaCommunities & Identities

The term "Maya" typically conjures images of ancient pyramids and/or ancient civilizations that are now found in ruins. Some forms of popular media, particularly science fiction, even go as far as describing the Maya people as a civilization that mysteriously disappeared sometime around AD. 900. The Maya currently total over 7 million people in what is today Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. Furthermore, the word "Maya" serves as an umbrella term that refers to a number of diverse populations, each with distinct culture, language, and material culture. This course will focus on both the construction of the pan-Maya identity, and the numerous populations included within the concept, such as the Tzel Tal, Tzotzil, Kaqchikel, K'iche', Chantal, and the Lacandon, just to name a few. Each of these groups has distinct histories, which often demonstrated significant clashes with colonial and modem national hegemonies. This course also highlights how tradition, language, and identity are preserved under the forces of colonial and nationalistic domination and will also delve into the subject of changing traditions, as these Maya movements of resistance have integrated social media, rock music, and hip-hop to engage younger generations. Ultimately, the Maya provide a means of deconstructing the concept of identity itself by demonstrating how shared identities are constructed, contested, and negotiated.