2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
    Jun 16, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ARTH 234 - Art and Architecture of the Early Americas

Examines how certain societies of the early Americas created objects and buildings that gave meaning to the sense of self, community and world.  Objects and buildings, both in their characteristics and function, assist in the retelling of certain sociological and spiritual “truths” shared within a community.  This seminar offers students an introduction to case studies of objects and architecture that reflect narratives about creation, sacrifice, divinity, and communal success from the early Americas.  The examples are drawn from Mesoamerica (Olmec, Nayarit, Teotihuacan, Maya, and Aztec) and the Andes/Peru (Nazca, Moche, and Inca).  Those cultures included creative artisans, shamans, sacred structures and social organization in which visual culture played many roles.  Although the course ends at the time of conquest when Spanish and Portuguese merchant/explorers entered the Americas, even early seminar discussions try to address colonialism and the lenses both historic and contemporary by which we try to understand the objects and the civilizations.  There are still more than a million Mexican citizens who identify as ethnically Maya, and other countries, including Peru, have peoples strongly identified with indigenous peoples.  Although this course is not addressed to modern Latin America, it explores the past record of those foundational, sometimes national identities.  There are no prerequisite classes in art history or language.  Seminar work will include first-hand study of artifacts & objects in the Worcester Art Museum. 

Course Designation/Attribute: DI

Anticipated Terms Offered: Fall