Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Iyaxel Cojti Ren

Assistant ProfessorPh.D., Vanderbilt University

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology


Political violence; historical memory; history; pre-contact history


ANT 324L • Maya Studs Past Present Future

31923 • Spring 2022
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM WCP 4.174

 This course explores the long history and cultural development of Maya peoples from Mexico and Central America that ranges from the earliest occupation of the Maya territory to the present. This class will start with the discussion of the term Maya in regard to the origin of the word, its use by archaeologists and anthropologists, and how it has been signified by indigenous peoples in Guatemala and Mexico. The class will be divided into three modules. In the first module, we will study the historical periods—Preclassic, Classic, and Postclassic—that comprise the chronology of the Maya civilization. In each period, we will explore several fields of the Maya population including sociopolitical organization, technology, economy, religion, and artistic expressions. The second section of this class will focus on the genocides—the Spanish Invasion, the Liberal Reform in Guatemala, and the Civil war—that the Maya people have faced in the last 500 years of their history and how they have resisted until now. The last module will cover present-day studies about contemporary Maya peoples from anthropological and historical perspectives. These modules will include reading about Maya spirituality, political participation of Maya women and men at the local and national level, cultural revitalization, and other challenges within the colonial context.   

ANT 324L • Mesoamerican History Oral Trad

31924 • Spring 2022
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM WCP 4.174

The indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica have a deep-rooted historical consciousness that is demonstrated by the existence of various writing systems and by the production of several documents. These documents, produced by specialists or members of the indigenous nobility, had the function of reinforcing collective identity and safeguarding the history of their communities. Much of the content of these documents was also reproduced through oral tradition that has persisted until the present day. Archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists have resorted to the study of indigenous documents and oral traditions in order to reconstruct different aspects of the life and culture of the past and present populations of Mesoamerica. These resources contain an emic vision that can be correlated with archaeological evidence or other ethical perspectives, a common process of the increasingly popular interdisciplinary studies. In this course, methodological approaches will be carried out for the study of indigenous primary sources from Mesoamerica written during the Late Postclassic (c. 1200-1524 CE) and the beginning of the Colonial period, including oral tradition. This course will be divided into different themes, among them religion, socio-political organization, territory and territoriality, economy, gender roles, and the norms and values of everyday life. 

ANT 391 • Pol Viol Pop Mov In Cent Amer

32595 • Fall 2021
Meets TH 9:00AM-12:00PM WCP 5.118

This seminar addresses the issue of state and community violence, analyzing the relationship between questions of power, inequality, social and racial exclusion, and environmental destruction. Although countries in Central America have democratic governments, their peoples have experienced different forms of structural violence which are connected to macro processes such as state formation, neoliberal capitalism, and globalization. These processes have affected the lives of indigenous peoples, peasants, workers, and women since these phenomena are generally connected with the appropriation and privatization of local territories. This course will also address how Central Americans have struggled to create autonomous lives, control their resources, avoid privatization, and recover their culture. The main historical periods that are addressed in this course are the Republican period, Liberal Reform, the Cold War, and recent historical events. Each of these historical periods is studied through theoretical frameworks and case-studies with anthropological and sociological perspectives. 

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  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    SRH 1.310
    2300 Red River Street D0800
    Austin, Texas 78712