Events offer a look at Mayan prophecy and community
As Dec. 21—the date the world is said to end, according to the Mayan calendar—draws near, interest in Mayan culture and history is on the rise. This is undeniable here at Centre, where four events dedicated to this topic have been planned.
The first presentation, “2012: A Maya Odyssey,” took place on Monday evening. Dr. Miguel Aguilera, professor of religious studies at Arizona State University, discussed common assumptions about the Mayan religion and the ways Western society tends to misinterpret it. By citing ethnographic, archeological and glyphic evidence, he went on to explain the collective suppositions of the Mayans and helped put the looming date in December into a more accurate perspective.
The next event will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8 in the Vahlkamp Theater. Students have the opportunity to view “El Curandero” (“The Healer”), a film produced by Chipaneco indigenous communities that gives a glimpse at traditional Mayan healing practices. This film examines the physical, spiritual and psychological implications of this type of care, but also reveals the great contrast between the customs of the Mayans to those of Western Culture.
“La Palabra Maya,” a second film, will be screened at 7 p.m. on Nov. 11 in the Vahlkamp Theater. The documentary explores the Mayan prophecies and the deterioration of the traditional culture from the viewpoint of the Mayan people. Present day Mayans—including farmers, children, healers, teachers and community leaders—are given a chance to voice their concerns about the future of their people and the importance of maintaining their history and traditions.
Wrapping up the Mayan theme is “Kuxa’an K’aaylay/ A Living Past: Mayan Social Memory and Prophetic Intertextuality,” a convocation taking place at 7:30 in Young 113 on Nov. 12. Dr. Ramsey Tracy, professor of Hispanic studies and modern languages at Trinity College, will present her research from the “Caste War Cultural Archive.” As founder of this public body of oral history, she has collected over fifty interviews with relatives of those who participated in the Caste War, the longest known Mayan post-colonial insurrection. Her discourse will address the linguistic and thematic characteristics of the Mayans concerning time and the history of their people.
With these various opportunities, students, professors and faculty at Centre have a chance to become more familiar with the Mayan history, religion, traditions and culture as a whole.