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Study Guide

SPAN 44 Study Guide - Comprehensive Final Exam Guide - Latin America, Guatemala, Mexico


Department
Spanish
Course Code
SPAN 44
Professor
Patricia Arroyo Calderon
Study Guide
Final

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SPAN 44

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WEEK 1: 10/03/17: PreColumbian society, culture, civilizaztion
Nawal=spirit animal everyone is assigned at birth depending on birth date
Latin America on the eve of the European “discovery
Variety of cultures, civilizations, and languages when the Spaniards landed in Americas
Mayas, Aztecs, Incas
Tainos, tupi, caribs, arawaks,
Guarani, apuches, otomi, pueblo
Ethnic and cultural heterogeneity
Social complexity
Dense and rich history
Demography
Between 35 and 55 million inhabitants, not evenly distributed
Age of explorations and incomplete picture of the continent
Known territory vs. terra incognita (unknown, unexplored territory)
The problem of representation
Cannot take all we know about these civiliations at face value
Always consider from what source/perspective our information is from; does the info tell more
about the source than the demographic and geography?
Upon arriving at the Americas, there was both a sense of wonder and calculation
Both “wow, this is new and fascinating” but also “what should we do with all this new land
and people”
Recounts from formerly captive europeans who lived among the new world people that were
awesome, marvelous, curiosity invoking
Observing an engraving:
Tupi natives of coastal brazil
Presence of long houses, naked people
Naked goes on to signify primitivity
Ethnic markings: tattoos/scars?
Common narrative of “i was captive, i lived among these people, they are so primiitive”
Very negative stereotypes created and reinforced about the native peoples of Latin
America’
The problem of knowledge
What do we know and how can we know it?
Archaeology and material culture (ex: utensils, weapons, buildings)
Linguistics and epigraphy
(historical) anthropology
Different social sciences have given us some kind of information of what life was like in
pre-columbian latin america
Surviving texts and codices (many of the 16th c.)
codex=pre-columbian “books”, wrtten by mayans/aztects, existing prior to spanish arrival
Mayan texts, glyphs, illustrations carved into stone, with skins, wood, etc.
4 Maya codices (Dresden Codex, etc.)
Several aztec codices (florentice C. Mendoza…)
Cultural memory and cultural resistance (practices)
Weaving patterns, oral traditions
Rituals, sacred places/spacews, and cosmovisions
Festivals and performances
The tragedy of the Death of the Inca Atahualpa
Intl Raymi
Over time, the culture has survived, evolved with time, and are very different today, but have a
link to certain precolumbian culture
The three “high civilizations”: Mayans, Aztecs, Incas
Problems using the term “civilization”
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Implies that these civilizations were more noteworthy or advanced than other existing latin
american cultures at the time
Who is to decide a culture’s worth? Very eurocentral perception
Mayans situated in what is considered modern-day Yucatan Penninsula and Guatemala
Aztecs situated around present-day Mexico City, the central valley of Mexico with certain territories
occupying Southern Mexico
Incans’ center was located in Cuzco in present-day Peru, stretches into ecuador, columbia, bolivia, and
mid-chile
Largest empire, occupied large portion of South America
Comparing and Contrasting
Common traits
Hiearchical societies organized around ruling lineages
Polytheistic
Importance of religion and ritual in public life
Complex cosmologies
Complex stories that exlained origin of world and humanity
Importance of warfare
Centrality of agriculture and importance of long-distance trade
Lacked iron, hard metal tools, the wheel,, and big domestic animals
Differences:
Geogaphical areas
Period of development
Forms of state organization
Forms of literacy
Incas didn’t have a system or writing
Mesoamerica and the mayans
Heirs of rich olmec culture
Similar cultural traitts and high levels of linguistic heterogeneity
Very diverse among themselves
Periods of maya civilization
Pre-classic (circa 1000 a.D.)
Classic (240-900a.D.)
Tikal
Post-classic
Chichen-itza
The Mayans in the Classic period
When archeologists believed the mayan civilization was at its epitome
Growth of big cities=->control of surrounding rural areas (milpas)
Corn-growing field (corn=main product of nutrition and sustenance)
Expansion of agriculture “de roza” (slash-and-burn)
Organization in autonomous city-states
each with their own royal governming families
City state=basic politcal unit
ununified
Development of asronomy and mathematics
Pyramids for sacred activities, sports places (ballcourt), civil buildings
Urban monumental architecture
Expansion and control of new land by warfare
Increasing long-distance trade
A decaying society?
By 1524 (spaniard arrival), Mayan society shows signs of exhaustion
Abandonment of urban centers
More scattered rural settlements
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