Jessica Stair

Jessica Stair
MELLON POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW (HISTORY OF ART AND ARCHITECTURE AND THE CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF THE EARLY MODERN WORLD)

Biography

Jessica Stair is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow affiliated with the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, where she teaches courses on the visual culture of colonial Latin America. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on indigenous artistic and scribal practices of colonial Mexico. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation, “Indigenous Literacies in the Techialoyan Manuscripts of New Spain,” which considers how indigenous artists and scribes invented new iconographies and modes of reading and writing during the late-colonial period. At a time when alphabetic script had become a dominant mode of conveying information, indigenous communities marshalled pictures in an effort to secure the legitimacy of their communities in the face of restrictive viceregal policies. She argues that the artists of the Techialoyans drew upon 16th-century indigenous scribal practices, artistic traditions from Europe, and the contemporary pictorial climate to invent new communicative forms that relied not only on pictures and alphabetic script, but on the invocation of oral discourses and performative practices. Her other research projects center on the transformation of pictorial forms across genre and media; the authority of images within juridical settings; and the expurgation of images in the early modern Spanish-American World.