Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Mesoamerica

Mesoamerica is the cultural area encompassing present-day Mexico and most of Central America, where a number of civilizations with shared traits and cultural traditions developed before the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century. Mesoamerica refers both to the cultures that existed before European contact and the region where they flourished, which included present-day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. The boundaries of Mesoamerica shifted constantly, and its traditions changed over time as cultural traits spread among the various societies. Among the important civilizations to develop in the region were the Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec. Archaeologists typically divide Mesoamerican cultural history into five major stages: Paleo-Indian (before 8000 bc); Archaic (8000-2000 bc); Preclassic, or Formative (2000 bc-ad 200); Classic (200-900); and Postclassic (900-1521). Each stage embodies a series of major interrelated developments.

MSN Encarta: Mesoamerica
Photo: Maya Monument Rubbing by Merle Greene Robinson

Mesoamerica + People View All
Amy George
Senior Professor of Practice - Spanish and Portuguese
Stephen A. Nelson
Professors Emeritus - Earth & Environmental Science
Dave Davis
Professor Emeritus - Director, Institutional Research

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Upcoming Events

Final Push Fridays: Graduate Research & Writing Support

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Every Friday from 10am-12pm CDT, The Latin American Library and Stone Center are co-hosting a virtual work-along for Latin Americanist graduate students to support each other in their research and writing goals. The Zoom meeting has two break-out options: participants may choose to troubleshoot research and methodological questions with an LAL librarian and/or work towards their writing objectives alongside a community of their peers. We hope you will join us when you can!

Central America, People and the Environment Educator Institute 2021

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This summer educator institute is the third institute in a series being offered by Tulane University, The University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University. This series of institutes is designed to enhance the presence of Central America in the K-12 classroom. Each year, participants engage with presenters, resources and other K-12 colleagues to explore diverse topics in Central America with a focus on people and the environment.

While at Tulane, the institute will explore the historic connections between the United States and Central America focusing on indigenous communities and environment while highlighting topics of social justice and environmental conservation. Join us to explore Central America and teaching strategies to implement into the classroom.

Additional details and registration will be available in the late fall 2020. For more information, please email dwolteri@tulane.edu or call 504.865.5164.