Presentation kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 13:09
NDSU’s second annual Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off on Wednesday with a presentation on the Mayan prediction of the apocalypse, purported to occur later this year.
Bradley Benton, an associate professor of history, gave his presentation at noon to an audience that could barely fit in to the Memorial Union’s Arikara room.
Benton’s area of research focuses on Mexico and Central America. He has two published works and is now working on a journal article and a book manuscript.
The presentation focused around the Mayan prediction of the apocalypse.
Benton began with a description of the Mayan calendar system. He said the Mayans who predicted the end of the world were from the classic period, which lasted from around 300 to 900 A.D.
The calendar the Mayans used had something called a “long count,” Benton said, which is a system they used to make a date concrete in time.
He compared this system to how modern cultures put a year at the end of a date.
According to Mayan belief, the gods destroyed everything on Earth at the end of the long count. This way they could start over.
The media hype comes from two pieces of evidence that come in the form of glyphs, Benton said. Both of these sets of glyphs refer to the end of the long count – which happens to be Dec. 21, 2012.
The media connected these two strands of information creating the hype, Benton said. The apocalypse set to come upon us is in only a few short months.
In response to this, Benton pointed out other monuments also had dates inscribed upon them that reference dates far in the future past the end of the long count.
According to Benton, other groups of Mayans had time and date systems, which put the end of the long count billions of years in the future.
Hype also comes from the west, new age thinkers and Medieval Europe, Benton said.
He said most of the apocalyptic imagery from Medieval Europe comes from the book of Revelations in the Bible. These images have continued to pass through time all the way to the present.
“Bottom line – we are living in an age of perpetual apocalypse,” Benton said at the end of his presentation.
The Mayan Apocalypse presentation was only one event happening during the month of September for Hispanic Heritage Month. Others include:
Salsa Dance Night
A salsa dance night will be held in the Great Plains Ballroom from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Sept. 22. There will be live music and food. Non-perishable food items will be collected for the Equity and Diversity Center Pantry.
Pan y Café
An event called “Pan y Café” will be held at the Equity and Diversity center from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 25. This event involves a Spanish book and film exchange for a way to celebrate the Spanish language.
Dan Guerrero Documentary
In October, Dan Guerrero will be visiting NDSU. Guerrero will show a documentary honoring his late father, Lalo Guerrero, a celebrated Chicano musician. It will be shown at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 in the Century Theater.
Guerrero will perform his one-man autobiographical show, “Gaytino.” at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Concert Festival Hall.
World iView Speaker
The last event of Hispanic Heritage Month will be a World iView speaker presenting at noon Oct. 11 in the Century Theater.
All of these events offer opportunities for students to learn about Hispanic Heritage, according to Kara Gravely-Stack, director of diversity initiatives of the Office of Multicultural Programs.
“These programs serve as an excellent opportunity for people who share this cultural heritage to celebrate that culture,” Gravley-Stack said. “And for those of us who do not share that cultural heritage, to learn more.”
Other pride months will be observed throughout the year that students can be involved in.
“Students are all entirely welcome (and encouraged!) to attend any of the events that we have scheduled,” Gravely-Stack said.
To help plan events such as Hispanic Heritage month, contact the Equity and Diversity Center.