Apocalypse Now? Modern Maya and Ancient Prophecies


Watch video of Mareike Sattler, senior lecturer, Anthropology Department, and Avery Dickins de Girón, assistant director of the Center for Latin American Studies, speaking at the Osher Lifelong Learning class, “Apocalypse Now? Modern Maya and Ancient Prophecies”.

This seminar introduces students to Maya culture from ancient to modern times. Maya people and culture have been featured prominently in popular culture over the last few years, and especially now, as the media have played up ancient Maya prophecies that supposedly predict an apocalyptic end of the world in December 2012. What exactly did the Ancient Maya say about this event? How do modern Maya live today? Guest speakers will be invited to introduce students to topics ranging from archaeology and hieroglyphic writing systems to modern Maya languages and political economies in Guatemala. Vanderbilt’s numerous projects in health care, language studies, and community development in Guatemala will also be discussed. By the end of this course students will have learned how to read Maya hieroglyphs, how to calculate time in the Maya calendar, and how to greet someone in the K’iche’ Mayan language!

The class is part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt. The non-credit classes are intended for older adults who want to pursue lifelong learning with the stimulus of lectures and discussions in an informal and relaxed environment.