The Deep Dig offers in-depth adult classes taught by Penn professors and graduate students. These specially designed online courses are more academic in nature and guide participants through subjects connected to the Penn Museum’s collection and research. In addition to engaging lectures from the expert, digital readings, online archival research, and access to videos and research help adult scholars dig deeply into a range of topics.
Africa and the World
Four Thursdays: February 4, 11, 18, and 25
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
With Dr. Tukufu Zuberi
“Africa and the World” is a dynamic discussion of how people and events in Africa shape our world today. Tukufu Zuberi, Ph.D will discuss stories of many Africans he has met—from refugees to heads of state—as he takes participants through key events in African history.
Using clips from his feature-length documentary, African Independence, Dr. Zuberi traces the epic story of the African continent from enslavement and colonization to the struggle for freedom and self-determination. We will examine the birth and realization of the movement to win independence in Africa, as well as problems confronted along the way.
Dr. Tukufu Zuberi is the Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations and Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is dedicated to bringing a fresh view of culture and society to the public through various platforms such as guest lecturing at universities, television programs, and interactive social media. Currently, he works on human rights initiatives by participating in public speaking engagements, international collaborations with transnational organizations, and individuals dedicated to human equality.
Tukufu’s research focuses on Race and African and African Diaspora populations. He has been a visiting professor at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. He currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also served as the Chair of the Graduate Group in Demography, the Director of the African Studies Program, and the Director of the Afro-American Studies Program. In 2002, he became the founding Director of the Center for Africana Studies, and he has also served as the Faculty Associate Director of the Center for Africana Studies.
He is the writer and producer for African Independence, an award-winning feature-length documentary film that highlights the birth, realization, and problems confronted by the movement to win independence in Africa. The story is told by channeling the voices of freedom fighters and leaders who achieved independence, liberty and justice for African people. With this and other documentary film projects, Tukufu’s is dedicated to bringing a critical, creative vision not typically seen or heard on the big and small screen.
Born Antonio McDaniel to Willie and Annie McDaniel, and raised in the housing projects of Oakland, California in the 1970s, he embraced the name Tukufu Zuberi—Swahili for "beyond praise" and "strength." He “took the name because of a desire to make and have a connection with an important period where people were challenging what it means to be a human being."
How to Read Maya Hieroglyphs
A Beginner’s Guide
Four Tuesdays: March 9, 16, 23 and 30
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
With Dr. Simon Martin
This four-part, online course will explain the fundamentals of how ancient Maya glyphs work and how they were first deciphered. Maya script was in use from at least 300 BCE to as late as 1700 CE—a span of two millennia—and it was the most sophisticated writing system to emerge in Mesoamerica, a region encompassing much of Mexico and Central America. Often carved or painted on materials as diverse as limestone, jade, stucco, clay, bone, and barkpaper, it was used to mark the passage of time and to glorify the reigns of kings and queens. Reading the glyphs has opened unparalleled vistas into Maya life and thought, transforming our understanding of this ancient American civilization.
Simon Martin is an Associate Curator in the American Section at the Penn Museum, a political anthropologist, and specialist in Maya hieroglyphic writing, with a particular interest in the history, politics, and religious beliefs of the Classic Period (150-900 CE). His major focus for three decades has been on the social and political organization of the Maya lowlands and reconstructing the network of hegemonic ties between polities. He has conducted epigraphic fieldwork at Calakmul, a UNESCO World Heritage Site set within the largest biosphere in southeastern Mexico since 1994. His work on Calakmul and its political network has appeared or been discussed in Science, Scientific American, National Geographic, Archaeology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Simon also took part in the NOVA television program “Cracking the Maya Code” and other shows for the Discovery and History Channels. His most recent contribution was to the National Geographic Channel’s “Lost Treasures of the Snake Kings” (2018). He has authored 37 articles and book chapters, together with another 15 co-authored pieces. His book Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens, with Nikolai Grube (2000), is now in its second edition (2008) and has been translated into five other languages. He co-developed the exhibition “Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya” for the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, writing its accompanying book together with Mary Miller (2004). He co-curated the exhibition “MAYA 2012: Lords of Time” and the Penn Museum’s newly installed Mexico and Central America Gallery. His most recent book “Ancient Maya Politics” was published by Cambridge University Press this year.
Members are welcome to attend a preview of the class on February 16 at 7:00 pm. Learn more and register here.
Four Thursdays: April 1, 8, 15 and 22
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
With Dr. Anne Tiballi
This Deep Dig course unearths the rich and varied history of cloth and clothing, from the first twisted string to the modern fashion industry. What materials have cultures across the world used to make textiles? How and why were they created? View stunning and distinctive textiles from Asia, the Near East, Africa, and the Andes as we explore how fabric, weaving, and fashion have shaped agriculture, empire, colonialism, and contemporary globalism. Join Dr. Anne Tiballi for this four-part online course offering a dynamic, in-depth learning experience with up-close investigations of artifacts from the Museum’s collections.
Dr. Anne Tiballi is the Andrew W. Mellon Director of Academic Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. After completing her undergraduate degree in anthropology at Vassar College, she began graduate study at Binghamton University and performed her dissertation research on the archaeological materials from the Cemetery of the Sacrificed Women, Pachacamac, Peru, at the Penn Museum. Dr. Tiballi specializes in the analysis and interpretation of ancient textile materials, with a particular interest in the social dimensions of technology. She has worked with textile collections from several coastal Andean sites, including Huayuri, Cerrillos, and Casa Vieja in the Ica Valley. As Director of Archaeological Textile Students for the California Institute of Peruvian Studies, Dr. Tiballi led an annual field course on the analysis, reproduction, and field conservation of textiles from the prehistoric Andes, which has been held in Arequipa, Peru and at Bryn Mawr College.
Members are welcome to attend a preview of the class on March 15 at 7:00 pm. Learn more and register here.