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LARC Ideas Group

2017-2018 LARC Ideas Group:

Development of Urbanism in Prehispanic Latin America

This interdisciplinary group will explore the path to urbanism in Latin America, particularly in tropical regions, and how it was distinct from that in other parts of the world, and remains poorly understood. Topics that will be covered by the group are diverse and include the range of urban forms present in Prehispanic Latin America, urban governance, urban-rural relationships, population diversity, social inequality, resource exploitation, environmental impact of increased urbanism, and inter and intra-city economic networks, among others. For more information on this working group, please email

The group will host a series of lectures by Christian Isendahl, Senior Lecturer Archaeology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. March 19-23, 2018.

As of 2017, the Development of Urbanism in Prehispanic Latin America Ideas Group has generated ideas useful to several faculties at the University of Calgary and institutions in Mexico, including Archaeology, Environmental Design, Anthropology, Sociology, Arts, History and Geography. In addition, the group hosted a workshop at this year's interdisciplinary Chacmool conference of the University of Calgary Archaeology Association, in its 50th anniversary.

Workshop Abstract: There has been a long-standing recognition that early urban centers played important roles in the development of craft specialization, large-scale exchange networks, and media of exchange. An increasing interest in pre-industrial urbanism, particularly the development of public spaces, neighborhoods, and social organization, is paralleled by a renewed interest in ancient markets, merchants, and exchange networks. In this session, part of the 50th anniversary of the Chacmool Archaeology Conference, we seek to develop a comparative framework for the analysis of urban commercial institutions in the ancient Americas. How were merchants, marketplaces, crafts, and currencies embedded within the public spaces, market/producer neighborhoods, administrative buildings, and/or households of ancient cities?  



The LARC Ideas Group is an initiative that encourages collaborative innovation by offering a group from different disciplines the opportunity to explore and develop new ideas. A group must be convened by at least two individuals from different departments, and must agree to meet at least five times during the academic year.  Membership should be open to both students and faculty, and initial meetings should be publicized to attract diverse participants. A LARC Ideas Group can develop new ideas, share works in progress, experiment with diverse research or pursue a common project (including preparing grant applications).

For further information, contact LARC Director Pablo Policzer (

Monday, December 4, 2017