Dr. Molly Bassett, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, will present a lecture at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University on the topic of Teosinte & Tlacatl: Corn & People in Aztec Religion on Tuesday, January 27 @ 7:30 PM.
Thousands of years ago, Mesoamericans domesticated maize from a grass called teosinte, a compound word that links corn to the gods. Dr. Bassett will explore how Aztec mythology articulates maize’s centrality. The Aztecs understood themselves as living in the heart of a world that had been created and destroyed multiple times. During these solar cycles, maize became increasingly important. In the first age, people ate acorns; in the second, pine nuts; in the third, wild plants; in the fourth, a precursor to corn; and in the Fifth Sun, the time in which the Aztecs lived, humans ate maize. The Aztec myth of the Fifth Sun reveals a clear cosmogonic progression: as culture developed, corn developed, and from both religious and agricultural perspectives, culture depended on corn.
Selected works by Dr. Bassett include:
- “Coloring the Sacred in Sixteenth-Century Central Mexico” in The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation, and Application of Dyes and Pigments, 1400-1800. Ed. Andrea Feeser and Beth Fowkes Tobin. London: Ashgate, 2012. 45-64.
- “Indigenous Religions, Global” in The Encyclopedia of Women in Today’s World. London: Sage, 2011. 741-744.
- “Religion in Mesoamerica: A Case for Comparative Religious Studies.” Religious Studies Review 33:3 (2007): 193‐199.