Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya: Theory, Comparison, and Synthesis - Vol. 1

Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya: Theory, Comparison, and Synthesis - Vol. 1

Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya: Theory, Comparison, and Synthesis - Vol. 1

Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya: Theory, Comparison, and Synthesis - Vol. 1

Synopsis

This study of the pre-Hispanic Maya in the Preclassic, Classic, and Postclassic periods of their history is an interdisciplinary study of the administrative functions, internal dynamics, and symbolic roles of rulers and their royal retinues.

Excerpt

The idea for this book took shape in 1996, when we organized a small session on this topic for the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Most participants would agree that through the efforts of the speakers, the AAA session was productive and well-received. It seemed logical to undertake a more ambitious effort in a forum that would allow greater intellectual and chronological scope. Accordingly, we devised a symposium titled Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya, held at Yale University in November 1998, with the plan of publishing an edited volume afterward. At the outset, we felt that Yale would be an ideal venue. It was, after all, the place where Michael Coe, George Kubler, and Floyd Lounsbury had created a remarkable program of study and learning that continues to influence current research on ancient Maya art, writing, and thought. Sadly, there was another reason to hold the conference at Yale. Floyd, a beloved figure to all who knew him and a personal inspiration for Houston, passed away in late spring 1998, after years of physical frailty that somehow failed to hinder his incisive and precise mind. We dedicate the conference and this two-volume book to Floyd's memory and to his unique combination of kindness and exacting scholarship.

Besides the original participants of the Yale conference, contributions by Patricia McAnany and Shannon Plank, Simon Martin, and Matthew Restall (his chapter is in volume 2, forthcoming in 2001) further enriched the book. John Clark expanded Hansen's chapter as coauthor (in volume 2). We regret that Andrew Apter and Richard Burger, who participated in the conference as discussants, are not included in the book. Apter is a cultural anthropologist specializing in the kingship of the Yoruba in West Africa, and Burger is an Andean archaeologist. All the participants of the meeting greatly benefited from their insightful comments. The chapters by the original participants of the symposium (except for the concluding chapter of volume 1) were reviewed by two anonymous readers, as well as by ourselves. Our hearty thanks go to the authors and reviewers of the book, who endured our continuous nagging and made timely publication possible. Karl Yambert of Westview Press enthusiastically supported our proposal for this book from the beginning. Antonia Foias carefully . . .

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