A Trip Down Memory Lane to Mesoamerica and Colonial Mexico

Cal State LA hosts 2017 Mesoamerican Symposium in partnership with LACMA

The Golden Eagle Ballroom was crowded with students, scholars, and community members this past Saturday, April 22. A true collaboration among Cal State LA students and top-notch scholars in the field of Mesoamerican studies made the symposium and exhibition happen. The Art History Society at Cal State LA partnered with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to present the 2017 Mesoamerican Symposium “The Foundation of Heaven: the Great Temple of the Aztecs,” in order to honor Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, a very prominent Mexican archaeologist.

The event took place at the LACMA Bing Theater on Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and at the Golden Eagle Ballroom on Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Many highly respected scholars in the field have gathered to present their works, including Elizabeth Boone of Tulane University, David Carrasco of the Harvard Divinity School, John D. Pohl of the Institute for the Study of the Indigenous Civilizations of the Americas at Cal State LA, and Karl Taube of the University of California, Riverside, and more.

A fine collection of antique books from Mesoamerica and Colonial Mexico were also displayed in the University Library. The special exhibition was curated by Art History professor Manuel Aguilar-Moreno.

“The importance is showing the ancient cultures, the connection to these countries and many of the people that come from the state of California, and to show the ancestors of the American continent, because these are the primary cultures on this continent and the world,” said professor Aguilar-Moreno. “It’s very nice to bring together the community, to bring together the best in the world, and to learn from the best.”

Professor Moreno also emphasized that we now have three major antique books in our library collection that we could study here, on Cal State LA campus. “We are very happy [of the turnout of this event,] we have 550 people here today, and we [partnered] with LACMA, it’s the first time in history that [these] two institution do a project together, this is bringing possibilities of many more opportunities and collaborations in the future. These events that you saw were made by our students in the Art History Society. I’m very proud of what the students can do.”

Many scholars, students, and community members found the symposium very inspiring. Dan is an archaeologist working in Mexico, and he expressed that these past two days had been very important for him. “On one hand, [Professor Aguilar-Moreno and his students] have the impact of bringing top-notch scholars from all over the world to present their studies and new discoveries,” said Dan. “On the other hand, they have the impact of connecting these scholars and these discoveries with the public and with the students, and this doesn’t happen so often. In fact, it rarely happens. As someone who has been to many conferences, the connection this symposium has made, with the scholarly world and the public and the students, is very unique.”

Muriam Quezada is a Cal State LA Alumna, who is now a retired teacher and attends many conferences of different Mexican themes. “[This symposium] not only impacts the students, but also the community,” she expressed. “It’s very interesting to see their studies, their works, and their books.”

Many attendees were eager to see the collection of antique books in the University Library after the symposium and embraced a new understanding of the ancestors from Mesoamerica and Colonial Mexico.

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