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Professor Mónica Domínguez Torres specializes in the arts of the early modern Iberian World, with particular interest in cross-cultural exchanges between Spain and the Americas during the period 1500-1700. She received a B.A. in art history from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, a master's in museum studies and a Ph.D. in the history of art from the University of Toronto, Canada. Since 2005, she holds a joint appointment in Latin American and Iberian Studies.
Her book Military Ethos and Visual Culture in Post-Conquest Mexico (Ashgate, 2013) discusses the martial imagery fostered within the indigenous settlements of central Mexico and the ways in which local communities appropriated, manipulated, modified and reinterpreted foreign visual codes related to military worth. In 2008-09, she was awarded a Kluge fellowship at the Library of Congress to work on the project “Blazons of the Anáhuac: The Production, Regulation and Consumption of Indigenous Heraldry in Sixteenth-Century Mexico," whose results have been featured in two important books: “Emblazoning Identity: Indigenous Heraldry in Colonial Mexico and Peru" appeared in the book Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World (Yale University Press, 2011), which was awarded the 2012 Eleanor Tufts Book Prize from the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies; and “Los escudos de armas indígenas y el lenguaje heráldico castellano a comienzos del siglo XVI" was published in Los escudos de armas indígenas: de la colonia al México independiente, edited by María Castañeda de la Paz and Hans Roskamp (Colegio de Michoacán, Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, UNAM, 2013).
With Wendy Bellion, she co-edited Objects in Motion: Art and Material Culture across Colonial North America (2011), a special issue of the journal Winterthur Portfolio featuring papers presented at an international symposium they organized at the University of Delaware in 2008. This collaboration has also extended to the classroom, offering graduate seminars on “Colonial Art Across North America" and co-authoring the essay “Teaching Across the Borders of North American Art History," which appeared in A Companion to American Art, edited by John Davis, Jennifer Greenhill and Jason LaFountain (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015). Domínguez Torres has also published articles in the Bulletin of Latin American Research, Archivo Español de Arte, American Art, Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas and Delaware Review of Latin American Studies.
Her second book, Pearls for the Crown (under contract with Penn State University Press), analyzes a selection of images and collectibles connected to the Atlantic pearl industry in relation to the interplay between materiality, labor and consumption that shaped artistic production in early modern Europe. More specifically, this new study examines the messages that particular pieces articulated about imperial expansion, providential wealth, racial hierarchies and human mastery over nature, notions of crucial importance in courtly circles linked to the Spanish Crown. This research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Getty Research Institute, the Bard Graduate Center, the Renaissance Society of America and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. She has published various essays based on this research: “Pearl Fishing in the Caribbean: Early Images of Slavery and Forced Migration in the Americas" in African Diaspora in the Cultures of Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States, edited by Persephone Braham (University of Delaware Press, 2015); “Nel piu ricco paese del Mondo: Cubagua Island as an Epicenter of the Early Atlantic Trade" in Circulación: Movement of Ideas, Art and People in Spanish America, edited by Jorge Rivas (Denver: Frederick & Jan Mayer Center, Denver Art Museum, 2018); “Mastery, Artifice, and the Natural Order: A Jewel from the Early Modern Pearl Industry" in The Oxford Handbook of History and Material Cultures Studies, edited by Ivan Gaskell and Sarah A. Carter (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020); and “Pearls for the King: Philip II and the New World Pearl Industry" in Picture Ecology: Art and Ecocriticism in Planetary Perspective, edited by Karl Kusserow (Princeton: Princeton University Art Museum, 2021).
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