New Beginnings: Insights into the Mayan Culture
In the run-up to the month of December, 2012, it is doubtless that the much-debunked Mayan Calendar 2012 end-times scenario will re-surface in the commercial market, reducing a complex history, culture, and its people to a stereotype. However, with your support, the students of John Muir Middle School will have a different experience. On December 13, 2012, John Muir Middle School, a Los Angeles Unified/LA's Promise partnership school, will host a symposium in order to give the topic a more critical, thoughtful, and thorough examination of what its true meaning may be, as well as a broader study, contextualizing the focus through a range of diverse presentations by Mayanists and scholars who have confirmed their intent to join us and meet and interact with our students. The symposium will also feature a gallery walk of student work, including Mesoamerican calendars (3' in diameter) made of salt dough.
John Muir Middle School is located south of USC in South Los Angeles and has a significant demographic of students with a Central American heritage. Without a complete picture of the various interpretations of the Mayan calendar, stereotypes of the Mayan culture may consternate and misinform the students, whose understanding of the event may have already been shaped by Hollywood--namely by the film "2012," which depicts the end-of-times scenario being one of a catastrophic physical ending.
Experts claim that the transformative event at the end of the Mayan Calendar 2012 is more of an internal collective and individual one, rather than an extreme external physical one. That the transformation is more towards a mindset of renewal. The documentary "The Mayan Word," explores this rich and layered discourse, which, in part, helps to dispel the sensationalized American popular culture 2012 meme. The Mayan Calendar 2012 Symposium promises to do the same, as well as give our kids a sense of pride in humanity and a positive experience in which one can embrace the change in time with hope, creativity, and appreciation for the common good, renewing in us a fresh perspective on how to learn and work together in a spirit of community and perserverance in the face of life's most difficult obstacles.
Please support us in our efforts to make this a vibrant event and extend our mission and message of the importance of education to our kids, and possibly to larger media outlets. Most of the Mayanists, scholars, and presenters have signaled their intent to present on a Pro bono basis, but we'd like to show our appreciation for their time and efforts and do more for them. We'd also like to use the funding for promotional materials, refreshments, and help defray some of the expenses, traveling or otherwise, of some of the presenters.
The Mayan Calendar 2012 Symposium Presenters and Supporters include the following:
- Dr. Mark Van Stone, Southwestern College
- Associate Professor, Dr. Gerardo Aldana, UC Santa Barbara
- Professor, Dr. Gloria Chacon, UC San Diego
- Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company