Thursday, October 25

New Maya Perspectives
Internationally recognized author and scholar Victor Montejo delivers the keynote address for the symposium. In his lecture, Professor Montejo asks:

What is the role of scholars and activists in the renewal of the Maya world? While ajq’ij or Maya priests and diviners study the prophecies and explanations of the Maya calendar, we Native scholars should continue our efforts to rectify the historical record while producing knowledge through our creativity in literature, art, ceremonies, and research. So, we may propose new ideas that may become useful in the process of renewing the world. Drawing from indigenous knowledge, I understand cycles of time as “eras”, or periods of growth and improvement (orthogenesis). The achievement of great knowledge is followed by a consequent decline as a result of excessive greed and disrespect of life. This process is expressed in the myths of indigenous people as a continuous process of world building, world maintenance, world dismantling, and world renewal. From a native exegesis of the Popol Vuh we will see these patterns of creation, nourishment, and failure or cyclical destruction of life, and the eras of human existence earth with reference to 13 Bak’tun.

A reception and viewing of the exhibition Ancient and Living Maya in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Archaeological Discovery, Literary Voice, and Political Struggle precede the lecture.

Watch the lecture

Friday, October 26

Mesoamerica Through Its Literature
In this open class, Professor del Valle Escalante leads a discussion of how contemporary Maya conceive the end of the long count Maya calendar and represent it in current literature. Particular focus is placed on Gaspar Pedro González’s (Maya Q’anjob’al) novel, 13 B’aktun. Maya writers Briceida Cuevas Cob, Rosa Chávez, and Víctor Montejo are invited to participate in the exploration.

Indigenous Land Rights in Belize
Cristina Coc discusses the recent successes and ongoing struggles of the Maya in securing rights to ancestral lands in the Central American nation.

Ancestral Maya Civilizations: Cycles of Time and Classic Maya Royal Dynasties
Classic Maya royalty used the Long Count to mark significant calendric events but also to record dynastic events, such as coronations, martial conflicts, and the anniversaries of the deaths of progenitors. Professor McAnany leads an exploration in this open class of Classic Maya use of the Long Count (with ample illustrations) at major capitals that supported strong scribal traditions between AD 275 and 919.

Of Scribes and Calendars: The Once and Future History of Mayan Hieroglyphic Writing
In this multimedia presentation, Professor Mora Marín traces the development of Mayan hierogylphic writing from its origins around 500 BC until its end in the sixteenth century, demonstrating its close ties to the ancient calendar system used to keep track of political history and astronomical events and how ancient scribes adapted to changing social and political pressures.

Ancient and Living Maya Through the Photographic Lens
Curator George E. Stuart speaks about the photographs of Maya people and places on display, taken for National Geographic from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Contemporary Maya Poetry Reading
Briceida Cuevas Cob and Rosa Chávez read their work in Yucatec and K’iche’ languages, respectively, as well as Spanish, with English translations provided by members of the UNC Community.