Dr. de la Cova at the Palenque ruins, Chiapas, Mexico
Latin American

Mon. Wed.

Dr. Antonio de la Cova

Office: Sycamore Hall 043
Hours: 11AM-Noon  M-W
Phone: 855-4745

COURSE OBJECTIVES:  Historical ethnography of the major pre-Columbian civilations, especially the Olmec, people of Teotihuacan, the Maya, Aztec, the Zapotec and Mixtec. Emphasis of the social life, cultural achievements, religion, world viewm and political systems to illustrate the diversity and richness of Amerindian life before the Spanish conquest.

READINGS: You are expected to read all of the texts assigned to this course and the homework assigned readings. Questions regarding the texts will appear on the exams. The texts available at the bookstore are:

    Samuel M. Wilson, ed. The Indigenous People of the Caribbean. Univ. Press of Florida, 1999. ISBN: 978-0813016924
    Mary Ellen Miller, The Art of Mesoamerica (4th ed., 2006) ISBN 0-500-2039-2X
    Nigel Davies, The Ancient Kingdoms of Peru. Penguin, 1997.

OTHER MATERIAL: Documentaries and overhead projections presented are part of class lectures, requiring taking notes on these occasions. Homework will be assigned from the Latin American Studies web page.

GRADING: Your grade will consist of three exams with an essay component and a research paper. The exams will cover material from the readings, lectures and presentations. There will be NO "Extra Credit." The final grade is:

     First exam 15%     Second exam 25%     Third exam 30%     Research Paper 30%
     A = 100-90; B+ = 89-87; B = 86-80; C+ = 79-77; C = 76-70; D+ = 69-667; D = 66-60; F = 59-0

RESEARCH PAPER: Choose your own topic related to this course. Eight to ten pages in text length, typed in 12-point font, double-spaced, with standard margins, without illustrations. Include at least three citations from the Latin American Studies web page, three books and three journals. A late paper will lose ten points. Turn in a paper copy and one on disk or by e-mail.

MAKE-UP EXAMS: It will only be given if you have a valid physician's excuse or a verified family emergency. Makeups are different and considerably more difficult than the regularly scheduled test.

ATTENDANCE: The roll will be taken at every class. Absences totaling 8 classes (20% of the course) will result in an F for the course.

March 4-8     Introduction and study guides    
              Crossing Theories                Early Migrants by Land and Sea   
              First Settlers                   Monte Verde Revisited 
              Film: The First Americans        Thor Heyerdahl, Adventurer
March 11-15   Olmec society and religion             
              Olmec architecture and art       Mystery of the Olmec 
              Teotihuacan city-state           The Nubians and Olmecs 
              Film: Teotihuacan                State and Society at Teotihuacan

March 18-22   Teotihuacan art and religion     
              Teotihuacan society              Dig uncovers clues about Mexico pyramids 
              The Totonacs                     The Life Style of El Tajin    
              First exam.                      Classic Veracruz Sacrificial Iconography

              Research paper prospectus and bibliography are due.
March 25-29   The Zapotecs (1300 BC-700 AD)
              San Jose Mogote phase             History of the Zapotecs
              Origins of Mesoamerican Writing
              Film: Lost Kingdoms of the Maya   Natural Environment

April 1-5     The Maya Pre-Classic Period
              Epigraphy and mathematics         The Maya Sweat House
              Maya pyramids and architecture    In Guatemalan Jungle, A Mayan Wall Street?
              Film: The Riddle of the Maya      In Guatemala, a Rhode Island-Size Jade Lode

April 15-19   Maya religion
              Maya society                      The Maya Finally Speak
              The Toltecs                       Divers Discover Maya Relics in Caves
              Second exam                       The Rise of the Toltec Empire

April 22-26   The Aztecs  
              Warfare and expansionism          The Enigma of Aztec Sacrifice
              Human sacrifice                   Aztec Cannibalism: An Ecological Necessity?
              Film: Aztecs:The Hidden Empire    The Incidence of Disease among the Aztecs

April 29      Chavin de Huantar                               

-May 3        Paracas and Nazca                anthropologist ponders 'center of centers' 
              Moche                            Ancient History Imperiled in Peru 
              Film: Peru's City of Ghosts      the Mystery of the Moche Warrior-Priest 

May 6-10      The Incas                        
              Government and society           Entirely Preserved Inca Mummies Found 
              Engineering and architecture     Peru's native language still widely heard 
              Film: Death Cults of the Incas   A Place That May Have Been Incas' Refuge 

              Research paper due
May 13-17     The Taino                        
              The Siboney                      Mining Threatens Ancient Cave Art 
              The Carib                        Cuba finds bones of ancient population 
              Third exam

The preceeding schedule and procedures in this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.