The Aztec Empire and the Spanish Conquest

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Brought to you by Odyssey

May 17, 2022
Thursday, 6:30 - 8:30 PM ET

Some 500 years ago occurred the remarkable culture clash between the Aztecs under their Emperor Montezuma and Spanish Conquistadors led by Hernán Cortés, along with vast numbers of Indigenous allies. New scholarship has given us a very different picture of these events and of the main actors than was common until very recently.

Part I - The Aztec Empire
The session begins with an overview of Aztec history and culture in the centuries immediately preceding the arrival of the Spanish, with a focus on the indigenous capital of Tenochtitlan. We will explore the origins and development of Aztec culture, focusing on the monuments and artifacts of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan and its central Templo Mayor. We will look through the lenses of archaeology, history, art, literature and comparative religion to arrive at an understanding of the dynamics of Aztec culture in the past, and its reverberations in the present day.

Part II - The Spanish Entrada
We then move on to consider the dynamics of what has traditionally been called the "Spanish Conquest," but which we now know involved a great deal of indigenous agency, and the emergence of colonial Mexico City on the ruins of the Aztec capital.

We consider the existing Spanish presence in the Caribbean, the mission of Cortes, his progress across central Mexico, and the fateful meeting with the Aztec Emperor Montezuma. We trace the story of the Spanish entrance into Tenochtitlan, the house-arrest of Montezuma, and the Aztec/Mexica resistance that drove the Spanish out of the city, the famous Noche triste, followed by the subsequent victorious return of the Spanish a year later, and the overthrow of the Aztec Empire and the establishment of colonial Mexico City on the ruins of Tenochtitlan.

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Current and retired full-time Johns Hopkins faculty and staff, as well as their spouses or domestic partners, are eligible for tuition remission. Eligibility details can be found here.

After registration, tuition remission eligibility will be confirmed by the Odyssey registrar. If eligibility cannot be confirmed, you will be required to pay full tuition for the course. Under the terms of the University’s remission program, Hopkins employees must withdraw in writing at least five working days before the first class to receive a 100% refund. No partial refunds are given to JHU employees and affiliates. All other participants should review the JHAA Event Cancellation and Refund Policy


ABOUT George L. Scheper
Senior Lecturer, Advanced Academic Programs, Johns Hopkins University

George L. Scheper (Ph.D., Princeton) is Senior Lecturer in Liberal Arts and former Director of the Odyssey Program (lifelong learning and educational enrichment for adults) at Johns Hopkins University. His interdisciplinary humanities teaching focuses on Pre-Columbian and Native American Studies, and on urban cultural histories, especially of turn-of-the-century culture circa 1900. He has directed fifteen National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institutes for college and university faculty on Pre-Columbian and Native American topics, convened on-site in the U.S., Mexico, and Central and South America. His publications include many articles and reviews on cultural studies; a survey of British Literature text for a telecourse by Maryland Public Broadcasting; a bio-critical study of Oxford don and detective fiction writer J. I. M. Stewart, aka Michael Innes.

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 Event Date
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Start Time: 6:30pm EDT
End Time: 8:30pm EDT

1-800-JHU-JHU1 (548-5481)

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