Spring 2013 Speaker
ANTHONY F. AVENI
Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, Anthropology, and Native American Studies, Colgate University
Doomsday Scenarios and the Ancient Maya: At the Crossroads of Culture, Science and Religion
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
7 p.m. in Textor 102
Free and Open to the Public
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Kim Wojtanik at 607-274-3102 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We ask that requests for accommodations be made as soon as possible.
Description of Lecture
In this lecture Prof. Aveni will explore beliefs about the end of the world, especially those manifested in the recent December 21, 2012 Maya pop-cultural craze. He will examine the deep American cultural and religious roots of apocalyptic thinking, and draw connections between the 2012 phenomenon and the many visionaries, prophets, and evangelical preachers who have set specific "scientifically-based" countdowns to the end of the world. The lecture will reveal that the study of end-of-time beliefs is no fringe matter, for in fact this study can give us insight into competing views regarding the nature of both religion and history.
**On April 9, a panel of Ithaca College faculty members will present an interdisciplinary approach to thinking about "apocalyptica." Click here for more information.
Anthony F. Aveni (A.B. Boston University, Ph.D. University of Arizona) is the Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, Anthropology, and Native American Studies, serving appointments in both Departments of Physics & Astronomy and Sociology and Anthropology at Colgate University, where he has taught since 1963. He has also served in visiting appointments at the University of South Florida, the University of Colorado, Tulane University and the University of Padua, Italy.
Featured in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the ten best university professors in the country, Aveni was also voted National Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Washington D.C., the highest national award for teaching. At Colgate he has received, among other teaching awards, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching (1997) and the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society Distinguished Teaching Award voted by the Freshman Class of 1990.
Aveni has spoken or written on astronomy-related subjects on the Learning Channel, the Discovery Channel, PBS-Nova, BBC, NPR, The Larry King Show, NBC's Today Show, Unsolved Mysteries and the N.Y. Times, Newsweek, and USA Today. He has lectured in more than 300 universities around the world. Aveni helped develop and now is considered one of the founders of cultural astronomy, in particular for his research into the astronomical history of the Aztec and Maya Indians of ancient Mexico. He has done similar research in North America, Peru, Israel, Italy and Greece. Aveni has involved his students in research through regular field trips to Central America and Peru to study history, hieroglyphic writing, calendars and architecture; they often contribute as co-authors in the publication of new discoveries. In 2004, Aveni was the recipient of the H.B. Nicholson Award for Excellence in Mesoamerican Studies, given by the Peabody Museum and the Moses Mesoamerican Archive at Harvard University.
Professor Aveni has been awarded research grants by the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation and various private foundations for work in both American continents as well as in Europe and the Middle East. He has more than 300 research publications to his credit, including three cover articles in Science magazine and key works in American Scientist, The Sciences, American Antiquity, Latin American Antiquity, and The Journal of Archaeological Research. Two of his short pieces have been cited as “notable essays” in the volumes Best American Essays of 2002 and Best American Science Writing of 2002.
Aveni has written sixteen books and edited thirteen. His works include Empires of Time, on the history of timekeeping, Conversing With the Planets, a work that weaves together cosmology, mythology and the anthropology of ancient cultures by showing how they discovered harmony between their beliefs and their study of the sky; Behind the Crystal Ball: Magic, Science and the Occult from Antiquity through the New Age, Stairways to the Stars: Skywatching in Three Great Ancient Cultures, Between the Lines, and Nasca: Eighth Wonder of the World, chronicle his 10 year research program on the mystery of the ground drawings of Nasca, Peru; Ancient Astronomers, Foundations of New World Cultural Astronomy, The Book of the Year:A Brief History of Our Seasonal Holidays, and most recently, The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012. Skywatchers, his revised updated version of Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico has served as a basic textbook in archaeoastronomy. The First Americans: Where They Came From and Who They Became, the first of three books for children, received the 2006 Golden Spur Award for Western Juvenile Nonfiction, and made the 2006 Children’s Top Ten list of the International Readers’ Association. Other children’s books are Grandma’s Magic Map and Americas First Great Cities.