“The Popol Vuh is an indigenous K’iche’ Maya story of creation that describes itself as “an instrument for seeing” (ilb’al). What does it mean to take that self-description literally–to see with this story of the creation of the Americas? In this seminar we will join the artists, poets, writers, and scholars who emphasize that the creative works of the Americas are more than mere content to be interpreted (or seen) by European and Eurocentric forms; but who rather emphasize the forms of seeing, knowing, and understanding that emerge from this hemisphere. We will read several key passages from the Popol Vuh to gain a sense of its colonial, indigenous, and contemporary contexts. And we will pivot on those readings to consider how to look at visual art and the visual world with this classic work of the Americas as our guide. Short critical works will supplement our curated reading of the Popol Vuh, with the aims: (1) to learn from its poetics of seeing, imagining, world-making, and world-reckoning and (2) to self-reflect on our practices, prejudices, problematics, and potentialities as makers, viewers, and inhabitants of visual and imagistic worlds.”
Seeing with the Popol VuhMon, Aug 8, 202210:00 am to 12:00 pm
Tue, Aug 9, 202210:00 am to 12:00 pm
Wed, Aug 10, 202210:00 am to 12:00 pm
Edgar Garcia is a poet and scholar of the hemispheric cultures of the Americas. He is the author of Skins of Columbus: A Dream Ethnography (Fence Books, 2019); Signs of the Americas: A Poetics of Pictography, Hieroglyphs, and Khipu (University of Chicago Press, 2020); and Emergency: Reading the Popol Vuh in a Time of Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 2022); among other works and collaborations. He is Associate Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, where he is also Director of Undergraduate Studies in Creative Writing. In 2022 he is Editor in Chief of Fence.