New Book | The Art of Professing in Bourbon Mexico

Posted in books by Editor on May 1, 2014

From the University of Texas Press:

James M. Córdova, The Art of Professing in Bourbon Mexico: Crowned-Nun Portraits and Reform in the Convent (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-0292753150, $55.

Cordova_5275_Comp-CIn the eighteenth century, New Spaniards (colonial Mexicans) so lauded their nuns that they developed a local tradition of visually opulent portraits, called monjas coronadas or ‘crowned nuns’, that picture their subjects in regal trappings at the moment of their religious profession and in death. This study identifies these portraits as markers of a vibrant and changing society that fused together indigenous and Euro-Christian traditions and ritual practices to construct a new and complex religious identity that was unique to New Spain.

To discover why crowned-nun portraits, and especially the profession portrait, were in such demand in New Spain, this book offers a pioneering interpretation of these works as significant visual contributions to a local counter-colonial discourse. James M. Córdova demonstrates that the portraits were a response to the Spanish crown’s project to modify and modernize colonial society—a series of reforms instituted by the Bourbon monarchs that threatened many nuns’ religious identities in New Spain. His analysis of the portraits’ rhetorical devices, which visually combined Euro-Christian and Mesoamerican notions of the sacred, shows how they promoted local religious and cultural values as well as client-patron relations, all of which were under scrutiny by the colonial Church. Combining visual evidence from images of the ‘crowned nun’ with a discussion of the nuns’ actual roles in society, Córdova reveals that nuns found their greatest agency as Christ’s brides, a title through which they could, and did, challenge the Church’s authority when they found it intolerable.

James M. Córdova is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he teaches pre-Columbian and colonial Latin American art.

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1. Women’s Religious Pathways in New Spain
2. New Spanish Portraiture and Portraits of Nuns
3. Euro-Christian Precedents in the Crowned-Nun Image
4. Indigenous Contributions to Convent Arts and Culture
5. The Profession Portrait in a Time of Crisis
6. Colonial Identity Rhetorics

Call for Papers | Travel and the Country House

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 1, 2014

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From the Call for Papers:

Travel and the Country House: Places, Cultures, and Practices
University of Northampton, 15–16 September 2014

Proposals due by 19 May 2014

Keynote speakers include Roey Sweet (University of Leicester) and Margot Finn (UCL).

Travel has long played a vital role in shaping the country house, opening up horizons and exposing both house and owner to a variety of external influences. Travel impacted upon values, tastes, material culture and money, and helped to articulate the flow of ideas, information, goods and capital. The importance of the Grand Tour and Empire to the country house has long been recognised, but domestic tourism and travel for more mundane purposes—to visit family or friends, engage in political life or go to town—were also significant. In this conference, we wish to explore a wide range of travel experiences and consider how these impacted on the country house. How were travel choices made and how were impacts articulated? How did new influences mesh with existing tastes and goods? What impact did its status as a place to visit have upon the country house? And how do we communicate the importance of travel to those visiting country houses today?

We invite papers on all aspects of travel and the country house, but would especially welcome those which focus on:
• Geographies of travel: the Grand Tour, colonies and empire, and domestic and everyday travel
• The view from abroad: foreign visitors to British country houses
• Royal progresses and prodigy houses
• Travelling for business and pleasure: court and parliament; tours and spas
• Travel and material culture: how different places were brought into the country house through objects
• Travel and taste: the impact of travel on architecture, collecting, design and
• Visiting the country house: receiving guests and staying with friends or family
• The practicalities of travel: stables, coaches and horses; trains, ships and boats; servants and guides; accommodation, meals and sleeping
• Travel and publishing: journals, guidebooks and maps
• Travel as a theme in country house interpretation/presentation today

If you would like to present a paper, then please send a 300 word abstract to Prof Jon Stobart: jon.stobart@northampton.ac.uk by 19th May 2014.

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