The Aztecs and Maya Ancient and Modern

Ref: C2226710

Mexico and Guatemala are one of the world's original hearths of civilization. The region's distinctive tradition coalesced about 3000 years ago. We shall trace its formation and the emergence of the Olmecs before accounting for the rise, florescence and decline of the Maya among the forests and mountains of the east, the Zapotecs in the south and the monumental city of Teotihuacan. Then we shall account for the new cycle of development that began 900 centuries ago, including the Maya revival and culminating in the Aztec empire and its great capital. We shall consider the Spanish Conquest, which began 500 years ago. It decimated population and the subsequent colonization and missionary conversion ruined much of the tradition. Yet features have survived in parts of the region to this day. They offers lessons for the rest of the world; but for much longer can the tradition last? Our evidence ranges from archeology to history and ethnography.

Additional information about this course

No sessions on 02/10 and 30/10/2019. This course ends at 9.15pm as it includes a 15 minute break.

Course aim

to introduce the Mesoamerican tradition from its origins to its prospects in generations to come: rise, fall and unlikely survival of the Maya, Zapotecs, Aztecs and others

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • distinguish the principal historical phases of Mesoamerican history
  • recognize the principal issues in Mesoamerican history
  • explain the principal sources of evidence for Mesoamerican history

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full course information sheet

The Aztecs and Maya Ancient and Modern


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  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
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