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Pre-Columbian Architecture: Selected Sites of the Ancient Americas  

Nancy Fee This introductory survey course will study the architecture and some art in situ of a selection of pre-Columbian cultures of Mexico, Central America, and Peru. Certain themes recur in the course of pre-Columbian art and architectural history: the primacy of both urban and natural landscapes in shaping identity, settlement, ritual, and worldview; the use and appropriation of imagery and architecture to represent and promote corporate identities (ethnicity, class, trade, place of origin) and/or nation and their relationship to the greater cosmos; miniaturization; the complicated connection between religion and politics; and separations between public and private realms, between elites and commoners, and between center and periphery. This course will help students become more familiar with aspects of the built environment and related cultures of selected sites of ancient Mexico, and Central and South America by developing their historical knowledge and visual literacy of these topics. Sparking joy and curiosity from armchair travel, visual imagery, and archaeological and art historical inquiry are also significant objectives. Plentiful optional readings will be provided. Week 1: Introduction to Mesoamerica; Olmec; Introduction to Teotihuacán Week 2: Teotihuacán Week 3: Monte Albán; Introduction to Maya Week 4: Maya and Pre-Inca Ancient Andes Week 5: Inca Week 6: Aztec Nancy Fee has a PhD in Art History from Columbia University. She has taught at the University of California-Davis, the San Francisco Art Institute, Drexel University, and Mills College. The editor and translator of Virtues of the Indian/Virtudes del indio (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009), she has published articles on architecture, processions, and civic identity in 17th century Puebla, Mexico. Her research specialization is in Latin-American architecture. Other developing research interests include pilgrimage architecture, California residential architecture and landscape design history, historic building preservation, and sustainable design.