NEH 2020 Summer Institute: WORLDS IN COLLISION

WORLDS IN COLLISION: Nahua and Spanish Pictorial Histories and Annals in 16th Century Mexico

2020 NEH Summer Institute Opportunity

A National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for 26 College Faculty participants to be held at Adelphi University July 19 to August 9, 2020

     Applications are invited from college faculty, full-time or contingent, to participate in a three-week Summer Institute exploring the newly accessible archives of 16th century Spanish and Nahua textual and pictorial documents that give expression to the new existential realities created by the Spanish incursions into the Valley of Mexico in 1519-1521: the overthrow of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, and the founding of Spanish colonial Mexico City. The intriguing primary documents we will analyze — along with crucial secondary studies by our visiting scholars and others — take multiple forms: written alphabetic texts in Spanish or Nahuatl; ideographic calendars and books of divination; and pictorial histories in the form of scrolls, codices, lienzos (linens) and maps. The written source materials will be accessible to participants in English translation, with excerpts and secondary studies posted as library e-Reserves on an Institute Blackboard site, and the crucial pictorial manuscripts and maps will be accessible online, as well as in printed facsimiles.

     Every teacher/scholar dreams of the opportunity to immerse herself in the full array of source material of a given field of study, to be able to access directly the troves of primary source materials, whether manuscripts, photographs, artifacts, or rare print items. This project will provide Institute Summer Scholars an unprecedented opportunity to explore a unique archive in a collegial and supportive environment.

     Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and sponsored by Adelphi University, this three-week Institute will enable our Summer Scholar participants to explore the burgeoning new perspectives and theoretical approaches to 16th century Mexican textual, pictorial, and ethnohistorical studies with scholars who are in the vanguard of the development of new critical approaches. Institute seminars and discussions, among participants themselves, and with our renowned visiting scholars, will provide a compelling format for our Summer Scholars to engage directly with these new textual resources and critical paradigms

Visiting Scholar Faculty

Rolena Adorno (Sterling Professor of Spanish, Yale University) 

Frances F. Berdan (Professor emerita, Anthropology, California State University, San Bernardino); 

Amber Brian (Director of the Latin American Studies Program, University of Iowa); 

Lori Boornazian Diel (Professor of Art History, Texas Christian University); 

Jeanne L. Gillespie (Co-Director of the Center for American Indian Research and Study, University of Southern Mississippi); 

Dana Leibsohn (Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art, Smith College); 

Barbara Mundy (Professor of Art History, Fordham University-Rose Hill); 

Matthew Restall (Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Colonial Latin American History & Anthropology, Penn State University); 

Susan Schroeder (France Vinton Scholes Professor of Colonial Latin American History & Professor emerita, History, Tulane University); 

Kevin Terraciano (Professor of History and Director of the Latin American Institute & Co-Chair of the Latin American Studies Graduate Program, UCLA); 

Stephanie Wood (Director and Senior Research Associate of Wired Humanities Projects, College of Education, and Senior Research Associate, Department of History, University of Oregon). 

Institute Stipend and Lodging

     The taxable NEH stipend for a three-week Summer Institute is $2,700, intended to help defray costs of travel, lodging, meals, and books in connection with the Institute.

     For our project, we have pre-arranged lodging for 21 nights at dorms on the campus of Adelphi University, in Garden City, Long Island, NY. For those opting to accept our collegial arrangements at Adelphi, participants will receive lodging in air-conditioned double rooms and shared bathrooms on each hall, at a rate of $50 per night; for those preferring single accommodations, the rate would be $100 per night, depending upon availability. If, as a successful applicant, you opt to go with this lodging arrangement on a double-room basis, we would withhold $1,050 from your stipend to cover the dorm lodging for 21 nights, and your balance cash stipend would be $1,650. [If you opt for single lodging, based upon availability, we would withhold $2,100, and your balance cash stipend would be $600.]

     Participants may, of course, opt to make their own housing arrangements off campus. Once successful applicants are notified of their acceptance on March 27, they must notify the project directors by April 3 whether they accept or decline the offer, and whether they opt for the campus lodging plan, or wish to make alternative housing arrangements.

For additional information you may also contact one of the Project Co-Directors:Dr. Laraine Fletcher, Adelphi University, Anthropology, emerita. fletcher@adelphi.eduor Dr. George Scheper, Senior Lecturer, Advanced Academic Programs, The Johns Hopkins University,

Application deadline: March 1, 2020; notification date: March 27, 2020

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Pre-Columbian Papers and Sessions at the CAA Annual Conference | NYC | Feb. 13–16, 2019

New York Hilton Midtown | 13–16 February 2019

Please note, this list was prepared by the Pre-Columbian Society of New York and excludes presentations on related topics in Indigenous art outside Mesoamerica and the Andes as well as Colonial art and Latin American modernism. Registration information is located at the end of this document.

A PDF with this same information can be downloaded here.


Outside the Mold: Casts of Non-Western Art
Session Chair: Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye, Yale Center for British Art
10:30 AM–12:00 PM | 2nd Floor – Beekman

The Biography of a Cast Maker: Eufemio Abadiano and His Precolumbian Casts
Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye, Yale Center for British Art

Discussant: Rex Koontz, University of Houston

Subjugated Bodies and the Other in Art of the Ancient World
Session Co-chairs: Caitlin Early, University of Nevada, Reno, and Tara Prakash, The Met
10:30 AM–12:00 PM | 2nd Floor – Gramercy East

Captives and Elite Power in Moche Art, 200–850 CE
Joanne Pillsbury, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Alicia Boswell, University of California, Santa Barbara


Tenochtitlan/Mexico City: New Directions in Iconographic Study
Session Chair: George L. Scheper, Johns Hopkins University
8:30–10:00 AM | 2nd Floor – Bryant Suite

The Florentine Codex: A New World Product of Syncretism
Thomas Germano, Farmingdale State College

Nepantla: Metamorphic Transformations
Sallie Perez Saiz, Fresno City College, State Center Community College

A Common Cycle: The Similarities of Aztec and Daoist Expression
Carolyn L. Click, University of Colorado Boulder

Indigenous Languages of the Americas and the Language of Art History
Session Co-chairs: Kristopher Driggers, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Allison Caplan, Tulane University
10:30 AM–12:00 PM | 2nd Floor – Bryant Suite

Reevaluating Scent and Sound in the Borgia Group Manuscripts
Alanna Simone Radlo-Dzur, Ohio State University

Of Teeth like Corn: Color Terminology and Representation in Nahua Turquoise Mosaics
Allison Caplan, Tulane University

Blue. Green. Yax. Naming, Valence, and the Sacrality of Maya Blue
Amara Solari, Penn State University
Linda K. Williams, University of Puget Sound

Discussant: Dana Liebsohn, Smith College

Painted Books of Pre-Hispanic Mexico: New Discoveries
Session Chair: Anne W. Cassidy, Carthage College
2:00–3:30 PM | 2nd Floor – Bryant Suite

The Opossum and the Uayeb in the New Year Pages of the Madrid Codex
Merideth D. Paxton, Latin American and Iberian Institute, University of New Mexico

Yearbearer Imagery in Postclassic Codices: Thresholds of Time and Space
Susan Milbrath, University of Florida

The Chromatic Palettes of the Codex Vaticanus B: Characterization and Analysis in the Framework of the Mesoamerican Manuscripts’ Color Technologies
Elodie Dupey Garcia, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Cultural Interactions in Late Postclassic Mesoamerica: Exploring the Repainted Pages of the Codex Vaticanus B and Cognate Almanacs of the Maya Madrid Codex
Gabrielle Vail, University of North Carolina

Indigenous Artistic Process and Collaboration in the Mapa Uppsala (ca. 1540)
Jennifer R. Saracino

Distinguished Scholar Session Honoring Elizabeth Hill Boone
4:00–5:30 PM | 3rd Floor – Grand Ballroom East

Elizabeth Hill Boone, Martha and Donald Robertson Chair in Latin American Studies, Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Tulane University, will be recognized as the Distinguished Scholar in this special session.

Elizabeth Hill Boone, Tulane University
Lori B. Diel, Texas Christian University
Barbara E. Mundy, Fordham University
Dana Liebsohn, Smith College

Discussant: Joanne Pillsbury, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Open Session for Emerging Scholars of Latin American Art
Association for Latin American Art
Session Co-chairs: Theresa Avila, CSU Channel Islands, and Arden Decker
4:00–5:30 PM | 2nd Floor – Clinton Suite

Spectacle of Stone: The Art of Passage in the Ancient Maya Landscape
Catherine H. Popovici, The University of Texas at Austin


New Investigations into Pre-Columbian Materials and Process
Session Chair: Leah McCurdy, University of Texas at Arlington
4:00–5:30 PM | Concourse – Concourse G

The Cosmology and Ethnobotany of Two Floral Motifs at Teotihuacan
Lois Martin, Fordham University

What the Ancient Maya Learned at Art School
Leah McCurdy, University of Texas at Arlington
M. Kathryn Brown, University of Texas at San Antonio

The Biology of the Aztec Feather Costume
Mary B. Brown, Independent Scholar

Registration Information

Pay-as-You-Wish Policy

Pay-as-you-Wish is available onsite only at the New York Hilton Midtown. It is open to everyone, CAA members and non-members alike, with no advance registration needed. Pay-as-you-Wish purchases can be made with any registration staff or the Pay-as-you-Wish helpers in the registration area.

Suggested Pay-as-you-Wish Day Pass price: $25

The Pay-as-you-Wish Day Pass allows for full, one-day access to the conference, and if you want to return the next day, a full day pass must be purchased.

CAA Members (Tier 2): 
Advance Registration: $395
On-site Registration: $495
Day Pass: $150
Single Time-slot Ticket: $20

CAA Student Members (Tier 3): 
Advance Registration: $130
On-site Registration: $160
Day Pass: $150
Single Time-slot Ticket: $15

CAA Retired Members (Tier 3): 
Advance Registration: $170
On-site Registration: $195
Day Pass: $150
Single Time-slot Ticket: $15

Non-CAA Members: 
Advance Registration: $495
On-site Registration: $595 
Day Pass: $150
Single Time-slot Ticket: $35


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PCSNY May lecture

Water in Ancient Mesoamerican Life and Cosmovision

Richard A. Diehl
Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology
University of Alabama

Unknown Nahua artist, Chalchiuhtlicue (Goddess of Water), Preconquest or Early Colonial. Codex Borbonicus, p. 5. Screenfold manuscript, panel 39 x 39.5 cm. Bibliothèque de l’Assemblée Nationale, Paris.

Water is essential for all life, including humans. Today we attempt to control water primarily through technological approaches. Ancient Mesoamericans employed both technology and religious beliefs and practices to obtain an abundant supply of this precious liquid. My talk includes discussions of how the pre-Columbian approach contrasted with those of the Spanish conquerors, and modern day hydrologists and politicians who confront the increasing water needs of an exploding population in the Basin of Mexico, home to 23,000,000 descendants of the Aztecs.

Friday, May 10, 2019
6 PM in the Lecture Hall
The Institute of Fine Arts
1 East 78th Street

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
RSVP to the Institute of Fine Arts

Followed by a reception with wine and cheese in the Loeb Room

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PCSNY April lecture

Chiminigagua’s Luminous and Resplendent World:
The Art and Architecture of the Muisca

Thomas B. F. Cummins
Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian and Colonial Art
Harvard University

Unknown Muisca Artist, Bird Pendant, 10th–16th century, Colombia. Gold, 10.2 x 11.1 x 1.9 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1979.206.509

Colombia has one of America’s richest pre-Columbian artistic traditions, especially gold work. This talk will examine the intersection between architectural spaces, metalworking, textiles, and rock art of the Muisca (CE 1200–1500). Emphasis will be placed on the ritual use of objects as well as the representation of ritual objects and spaces, particularly in gold as it is described in colonial texts. Muisca myths will be explored to help understand how ancient images, especially rock art, were understood by the Muisca.

Thursday, April 4, 2019
6 PM in the Lecture Hall
The Institute of Fine Arts
1 East 78th Street

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
RSVP to the Institute of Fine Arts

Followed by a reception with wine and cheese in the Loeb Room

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PCSNY March Lecture

The Izapa Kingdom and Its Neighbors

Robert M. Rosenswig
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
Director, Institute of Institute for Mesoamerican Studies
University at Albany–SUNY

Lidar Image of Kingdom of Izapa, 2018 (photograph courtesy of Izapa Regional Settlement Project)

The largest of a network of early kingdoms on the Pacific coast of southern Mesoamerica, Izapa provides insight into the origins of urban life and hierarchical political relations. Izapa’s impressive architecture and carved monuments have led to speculation about the nature of the power of the site’s elite. Until now, however, the political organization and territorial extent of Izapa’s associated polity were completely unknown. New lidar (light-detection and -ranging) and pedestrian survey data document the internal structure of the Izapa kingdom from its emergence at 700 BCE through its collapse after 100 BCE. At its peak, the kingdom covered 450 square kilometers, with its largest centers defending the polity’s perimeter to maintain its sovereignty from neighboring kingdoms in Guatemala.

Thursday, March 14, 2019
6 PM in the Lecture Hall
The Institute of Fine Arts
1 East 78th Street

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
RSVP to the Institute of Fine Arts

Followed by a reception with wine and cheese in the Loeb Room

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PCSNY December Lecture

How Do You Make an Iguana Tamale?

Jennifer Loughmiller-Cardinal
PhD Candidate in Chemistry, University at Albany–SUNY

Chii`k Naab Mural Painting, Calakmul, Maya, ca. 650–700 C.E. (photograph © UNESCO)

The Classic Maya provided a vision of their world through the information left in hieroglyphic texts and images. While this vision is often limited to the lives of the elites and the divine, the idealized presentation does, at its root, indicate real behavior—real rituals, real foods, and real people and places. Although these texts and images would have easily communicated these ideal realities to the Classic Maya, such a perspective isn’t available to us as modern researchers. All aspects of ancient Mayan research have limitations: archaeology by preservation, epigraphy by under-specified statements, ethnology by the intervening centuries, and art by an isolated subject or moment within a larger tale. Ideally, the art, hieroglyphics, archaeology, and ethnography/ethnohistory would each support or fill in the others’ missing pieces. At times, though, each seems to offer up different—even conflicting—stories. This presentation discusses where we should also be looking to build more of the context behind the text and images, and how we can triangulate more answers from each aspect of research towards the real Mayan vision.

Thursday, December 6, 2018
6 PM in the Lecture Hall
The Institute of Fine Arts
1 East 78th Street

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
RSVP to the Institute of Fine Arts


Followed by a reception with wine and cheese in the Loeb Room

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Exhibition curated by PCSNY member Lois Martin

Shelley Jordon, Red Sea Turtle (Hand-painted animation still, 2017)

Site-specific installation in the Ildiko Butler Gallery
Academic Year: 2018–2019
Dates: September 15–October 31, 2018
Title: Still Streaming
Visual Artist: Shelley Jordon
Sound Artist/Composer: Kurt Rohde
Curator: Lois Martin

eBook Link

Still Streaming features works on paper alongside hand-painted animations by visual artist Shelley Jordon. The still and moving pictures complement each other, for while the videos provide a glimpse into Jordon’s memory and imagination, the paintings reveal the physical poetry of her surfaces and strokes. Musician Kurt Rohde has composed original scores to accompany the animations. Rohde’s beautiful and bracing soundtracks parallel Jordon’s visual compositions in feel and form, for they both combine naturalistic effects with passages of sheer abstraction. Still Streaming explores watery themes, including swimming, drowning, and dreams.

Both collaborators are teaching artists with distinguished resumes: Jordon ( is a Professor of Art at Oregon State University; Rohde ( is a Professor of Composition and Theory in the Music Department at the University of California at Davis. Curator Lois Martin is an Adjunct Professor in Visual Arts at Fordham University.

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Exhibition by PCSNY member Barbara Braun

Copyright © Barbara Braun Artist, All rights reserved.

Please join us in celebration of the opening for Reflections in Oil: Paintings by Barbara Braun, class of 66′ NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts

Opening reception Friday, October 5th, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
on view through January 27th, 2019

NYU Kimmel Galleries
60 Washington Square South, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10001

Gallery hours M-S: 8am to 11pm; Sun: 12pm-10pm

REFLECTIONS IN OIL offers a selection of 25 abstract oil on canvas paintings and one charcoal drawing created by Barbara Braun over the last five years.

Braun’s work is abstract, with figural references in the Expressionist vein. She conveys her emotional response to the natural and objective worlds and to current events here and abroad.

She comments: “I have looked closely at the work of modern artists I have studied and loved, including Arthur Dove (I wrote an MA thesis on him at the IFA/NYU), Kandinsky and the German Expressionists. Perhaps above all, I hold the work of Philip Guston as a model for creating a deeply personal style of abstract figuration that speaks to the head and the heart. Among contemporary painters I would single out the work of Amy Sillman as someone I keenly admire. My basic inclination is towards expressionist abstraction, incorporating references to figures and the objective, including the natural and social worlds we live in.”

Many of her oils evoking the natural world, including Evening Flowers, Night Gardens, Horses, Sunny Square, Sweeping Forms, Temptation, Electric Energy, All Together,  Strange Things, show her visceral responses to visual sensations. There is often a hint of strangeness, of intruding unnatural forms and energies lurking behind these visible elements, and acting upon them.

Braun’s attention is never far from disturbing current events in the world.  In a recent series of abstractions she focuses on the suffering of Syrian refugees as they seek survival in a new life, (Syria 2, Sea Rescue, Boat People, Comfort Zone),  on turmoil in Palestine (Gaza 1 and Gaza 2, Uprising), on confrontations between African American men and the police (Ritual Dance), on the mistreatment of Central American immigrants seeking asylum in the US (Long Wait, Moving Hand).

Braun lives in New York City and Saugerties, NY. She holds degrees from Cornell, NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts and Columbia, and has been involved with art all her life as a critic, curator, and author, but only took up painting in a serious way about eight years ago. Since then she has taken a number of classes and workshops at the Woodstock School of Art, near her country home, and has had several shows there and at the museum of the Woodstock Artist Association. This show marks her New York debut.

Visit  to learn more about the artist and contact her.

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PCSNY October Lecture

Classic Central Veracruz Art in Mesoamerican Art History

Rex Koontz
Professor of Art History, University of Houston

Decapitation scene (detail), South Ballcourt, El Tajín, Classic Central Veracruz Culture (drawing by Rex Koontz)

This presentation surveys key aspects of the art of Classic Central Veracruz, including the yoke/hacha/palma complex and the monumental center of El Tajín, in the larger context of Mesoamerican art history.

The art of Classic Central Veracruz (Mexican Gulf Coast, ca. 100–1000 CE) is best known through a remarkable elite portable sculptural tradition (the “yoke/hacha/palma” complex) and the monumental art of El Tajín. In their analyses of both the portable sculpture complex and the art of El Tajín, scholars have stressed the central role of the Mesoamerican ritual ballgame. The ballgame, in turn, is understood as a largely static set of practices and symbolism across Mesoamerica. This static view of the ballgame, its related objects, and the capital city of El Tajín is giving way to a more variegated historical understanding of the history of the yoke/hacha/palma complex as well as the slow emergence of El Tajín out of a heretofore little-discussed regional culture. This presentation will summarize some of the more important aspects of this recent work and attempt to put that work in the context of larger issues in Classic-period Mesoamerican history.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
6 PM in the Lecture Hall
The Institute of Fine Arts
1 East 78th Street

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
RSVP to the Institute of Fine Arts

Followed by a reception with wine and cheese in the Loeb Room

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PCSNY September Lecture

Pre-Columbian Art History in the Age of the Wall

Lisa Trever
Lisa and Bernard Selz Associate Professor in
Pre-Columbian Art History and Archaeology
Columbia University

Polygonal Inca wall, Calle Hantunrumioyc, Cusco (photo by Lisa Trever)

In an era of renewed politicization of the US southern border, and with federal calls for nearly 2,000 miles of border wall construction, what are the stakes of Pre-Columbian art history in the United States in 2018? In this talk, Dr. Trever exchanges the language of walls and borders for metaphors of intellectual horizon lines and evidentiary wells. She addresses the multilayered potential of Pre-Columbian art history during a time when the scholarly work of humanistic recognition of indigenous America’s past and present bears an especially heavy weight of representation. Her talk concludes with discussion of examples of contemporary artists who are using the forms of Pre-Columbian art as renewed muses for artistic expression and social activism.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
6 PM in the Lecture Hall
The Institute of Fine Arts
1 East 78th Street

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
RSVP Institute of Fine Arts

Followed by a reception with wine and cheese in the Loeb Room

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