Graduate Seminar: Image, Object, and Being in Latin America (600-1650 CE)
In this seminar we will study indigenous concepts of image, object, and being—and related problems in visual representation, ontology, materiality, embodiment, and agency—as they impact the writing of Pre-Columbian and early colonial Latin American art history. Sources include Quechua, Nahua, and Maya myths and narratives, Spanish chronicles and extirpation accounts, epigraphy and pictography, material science studies, and close analyses of works of art and visual culture. Discussion will encompass native perspectives as well as cross-cultural engagements and conflicts surrounding these concepts in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century New Spain and Peru.
Furthermore, we will read the Latin American literature against influential works in visual studies and the anthropology of art (Mitchell, Gell, Belting, Summers, et al.). Intensive study of our non-Western subject may serve as a ground from which to evaluate some claims for a global art history. Seminar participants may chose to develop a research paper either on a Latin American topic or on a topic situated in another area (or areas) that intersects with the thematic of the seminar. Spanish reading ability is highly recommended, but not required.