Event: Virtual Pizza Talk: Mestizo Aesthetics: Image and Appropriation in the Colonial Southwest, 1600-1900 CE

Date & Time

April 28, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
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Contact Information

Michelle Jacobson



Event Type

Pizza Talk

Event Details

Severin FowlesComanche Spoiler image
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the American Studies Department
Barnard College, Columbia University

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The European invasion of the Americas unleashed a period of heightened global exchange as technologies, religions, political structures, foodways, languages, diseases, mineral resources, labor and more began to circulate with unprecedented velocity and scale. For the colonized, many of these cultural movements happened forcibly, at the tip of a spear, but there were also moments of Indigenous appropriation and creative reinvention of European traditions. This was particularly true with respect to image production and modes of graphic representation, as Indigenous communities sought out new visual cultures to assist them in understanding and intervening in colonial worlds. In this presentation, I consider what might be called the mestizo aesthetics that arose within colonial New Mexico following the arrival of Spanish settlers in 1598. Theoretically, my focus is on the power of images as technologies of action and intercession, no less than of representation. Historically, I pay special attention to image production among the Indigenous communities referred to by the Spanish as “barbarians”groups like the Apache and Comanche who were themselves the fast-moving, intercultural choreographers of social life at the edge of empire.

Severin Fowles is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the American Studies Department at Barnard College, Columbia University. For the past 25 years he has directed excavations and surveys in northern New Mexico, examining the history of Archaic hunter-gatherers through to the hippies of the 1960s. He is the author ofAn Archaeology of Doings: Secularism and the Study of Pueblo Religion(SAR) and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Southwest Archaeology(Oxford University Press). His current research has been designed in collaboration with Picuris Pueblo and is focused on the tribe's ancestral landscapes and farming practices.