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date: 14 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on the concepts of collapse and regeneration employed by Mesoamericanists. Much mischief is caused by ambiguities about what it is that is supposed to be collapsing or regenerating. Most often, what is at issue is either the fragmentation of a large polity or the termination of a major cultural tradition. Mesoamericanists have not always clearly distinguished the fragmentation of polities from the termination of major cultural traditions. In discussing collapses and regenerations in Mesoamerica, it seems best to focus on political alternations, although migrations, demographic changes, and alterations of ethnic identities must be also considered. Scholars can, and will discuss the fates of cultural traditions, but they should make themselves clear on the distinction between that and the histories of polities.

Keywords: Mesoamerica, complex societies, collapse, regeneration, Mesoamericanists, polities, cultural traditions

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