The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

November 14, 2012

Professors: Mayan culture cause for celebration, not end-of-world anxiety

JOPLIN, Mo. — The end of the world as we know it is not drawing nigh, at least according to two Missouri Southern State University professors who are focusing on the hubbub surrounding the 2012 Mayan calendar.

Conrad Gubera, professor of sociology, and Sam Claussen, retired theater faculty member at Southern, are teaching a class this semester titled “Maya Civilization and End Times.” The two hope to deconstruct some of the hype that has led to speculation that the ancient Mayans knew that the world would come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012.

Gubera said the class also deals with the development of the Mayan culture during its golden age and how it was able to integrate “horizon astronomy” into several aspects of the culture.

“This class shows the development of the Maya culture and how they came to flourish,” Gubera said. “I’ve got books on my shelf dealing with the calendar and how people have become obsessed with the psychology of this year, but what we are showing in this class is what the Mayans used to develop and how they were truly rich in ritual. We should be celebrating their culture beyond the calendar, and that’s what we have concentrated on during the first part of the semester.”

Claussen’s brother, Mark Claussen, will be a guest speaker this afternoon, discussing his expertise on astronomy and planetary movement, which Sam Claussen will relate to the Mayan society.

Both Mark and Sam Claussen are graduates of Carl Junction High School and MSSU.

Mark Claussen is an astronomer with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, near Socorro, N.M.

“The cool thing about their civilization is how accurate their measurements and tracking were over such a long period of time,” Mark Claussen said. “Their culture had startling accuracy over such a period of time, and they did it with their eyes.”

Mark Claussen acknowledges that his expertise is in astronomy and not the Mayan culture, but he admires what the Mayans were able to accomplish by just using the naked eye.

“They were tracking the five brightest objects in the sky with relationship to their horizon, and they were actively engaged in letting that guide a big part of their culture, and all without the aid of telescopes or technology,” he said. “Their measurements and records of their observations is what we do. Sam will tie that in with what they did with it in their architecture and their growing seasons.”

Gubera hopes the presentation will help the class approach December with a levelheaded view on what will happen.

“It’s the end of the 20th cycle of the Maya Long Count Calendar, and it’s the solstice,” Gubera said. “The Mayans only mentioned that once. All of this speculation on what will actually happen from the day comes from everyone else but them.”

Time, place

MARK CLAUSSEN’S PRESENTATION will start at 1 p.m. today in Room 207 in Webster Hall at MSSU. The presentation is open to the public.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Former Webb City teacher charged with sexual contact with student

    A former Webb City High School choir teacher was charged Tuesday in Jasper County Circuit Court with having sexual contact with a student. According to a probable-cause statement, Carrie Njoroge, 30, of Oronogo, had consensual sexual intercourse with an 18-year-old male student in her office at Webb City High School during the evening hours of April 15.

    April 23, 2014

  • Carthage Council reorganizes

    The Carthage City Council has one new member after Paul McCoy was sworn in Tuesday as 2nd Ward councilman. Oaths of office also were repeated by Mayor Mike Harris, and Councilmen Lee Carlson, Jason Shelfer, Kirby Newport and Brady Beckham, all re-elected in city balloting on April 8. Councilman Dan Rife was re-elected as mayor pro tem.

    April 23, 2014

  • New Powell bridge to open today

    Great River Associates engineer Spencer Jones, of Springfield, is planning a final inspection of the new Powell bridge on Cowan Road off Route E, to be followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. today. The initial cost for the bridge was put at $800,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Spring a great time to visit Carver monument

    It occurred to me when the woman passed me — for the second time — as I ambled along the walking trail at George Washington Carver National Monument that perhaps I should step up the pace of my amble. The only problem is, the walking trail at the monument isn’t a place that necessarily inspires a stepped-up amble. To me, the Carver monument is a place to linger.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Season opens Friday for Carthage Art Walk

    Art, music and other activities are scheduled Friday when a new season of the Carthage Art Walk opens on the courthouse square. Displays and programs set for 6 to 9 p.m. will showcase galleries, artists, restaurants and shops. Special events will feature a timed painting and a demonstration of an 1896 printing press.

    April 23, 2014

  • Missouri lawmakers file three resolutions calling for impeaching governor

    While Gov. Jay Nixon was in Nevada, Mo., on Wednesday, a Missouri House panel led by Republicans began hearing arguments on three measures calling for impeaching him. Nixon has downplayed the proceedings as a legislative “publicity stunt.” One resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, is critical of Nixon for waiting several months to call special elections to fill three vacated House seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • r042314psumove2.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Moving day for biology and chemistry building at Pittsburg State

    They didn’t all go two-by-two, and the person in charge wasn’t named Noah, but nonetheless, critters of all shapes and sizes were on the move Wednesday. Students, volunteers and staff members helped Delia Lister, director of Nature Reach, relocate everything from a pair of prairie dogs to a vocal macaw named Charlie so that Heckert-Wells Hall — the biology and chemistry building where they are housed on the campus of Pittsburg State University — can undergo a $4.4 million transformation in the coming months.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3M plant expansion to create 22 jobs

    An $18.7 million expansion at the 3M Co. manufacturing plant in Nevada will create 22 new jobs, a company official said Wednesday. “We started 43 years ago as a small manufacturer,” said Todd Cantrell, plant manager, in a meeting with employees. “We are now the largest 3M plant in the state of Missouri and one of the largest of all 3M plants.”

    April 23, 2014

  • Nixon: Tax-cut bill holds fatal flaw; area lawmakers say stance totally false

    Another year has brought yet another tax-cut fight between Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led Missouri General Assembly, and on Tuesday, Nixon announced that he had found what he sees as a fatal flaw.

    April 22, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has adopted a state budget provision that would prevent public colleges and universities from offering in-state tuition rates to students living in the country illegally. Do you agree with this?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter