Mayborn lecturer to talk Maya, world beyond 2012

By Linda Nguyen
Staff Writer

It’s not the end of the world.

At least that’s what one man thinks.

Dr. Michael Callaghan, assistant professor of anthropology at Southern Methodist University, will give the first in a series of lectures at 3 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. today at the Mayborn Museum.

Callaghan’s lecture, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine,” centers on the date Dec. 21, 2012, and its role in the Mayan and Western worlds.

The lecture series will focus on the significance of Maya culture and religion in the Western world. It comes as the museum is unveiling an exhibit on the Maya.

Callaghan said understanding the Maya calendar is essential to those interested in the prediction the apocalypse will occur Dec. 21.

“I want to start with what the Mayan calendar is,” Callaghan said. “What are the problems with accuracy of the calendar? It’s not as accurate as we and pop culture make it out to be. Then I’m going to talk about what this date meant to the Maya.”

Callaghan said he will talk about archaeological artifacts that predict dates past Dec. 21, 2012.

“The Maya saw time continuing as far as 4772. Over 2000 years from now, the Maya saw time continuing,” Callaghan said.

The lecture series will continue at 3 p.m. on Sept. 13 with a presentation by Dr. Garrett Cook, professor of anthropology, called “Maya Religion in the 21st Century.”

“I’m doing two presentations,” Cook said. “One is a general overview of the mix of Spanish Catholicism and indigenous religion.”

Later that night, at 6 p.m., Cook is also going to present a DVD presentation called “The Dance of the Monkeys: A Video Documentary of a Maya Medicine Community.”

Cook said he made the video, which is about a traditional Maya dance, with Dr. Tom Offit.

“Dr. Tom Offit and I made the video four to five years ago with a small grant,” Cook said. “It’s an acrobatic performance on a tight rope by Maya men. It’s done as part of a religious vow for the patron saints.”

The lectures will be held in the SBC Theatre of the Mayborn Museum Complex. The lectures are free and open to everyone; however, seating is limited in the theater.

For more information, call (254) 710-7981.