Stella Nair

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, INDIGENOUS ARTS OF THE AMERICAS

Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 2003
Phone 310-825-8232
Email snair@humnet.ucla.edu
Office Dodd 247J
Office Hours: On leave as the Charles K. Williams II Rome Prize Fellow, American Academy in Rome (2016-2017)

BIOGRAPHY

Stella Nair’s scholarship focuses on the built environment of indigenous communities in the Americas and is shaped by her interests in construction technology, spatial theory, material culture studies, landscape transformations, cross-cultural exchange, and hemispheric networks. Trained as an architect and architectural historian (University of California, Berkeley), Nair has conducted fieldwork in Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, and the United States, with ongoing projects in the South Central Andes.

 

Nair’s publications explore a range of subjects and regions such as Tiahuanaco lithic technology, the design of Inca royal estates, colonial Andean paintings, eighteenth century woven roofs, and Brazilian urbanism. Nair’s most recent book, At Home with the Sapa Inca: Architecture, Space, and Legacy at Chinchero (University of Texas, 2015), examines the sophisticated ways in which the Inca manipulated space and architecture to impose their authority. Nair has also published (with Jean-Pierre Protzen) a book entitled The Stones of Tiahuanaco: A Study of Architecture and Construction (Cotsen 2013), which explores one of the world’s most artful and sophisticated carving traditions. Nair’s article “Localizing Sacredness, Difference, and Yachacuscamcani in a Colonial Andean Painting” was honored by its selection as one of thirty-two ‘greatest hits’ articles published in the last hundred years of the Art Bulletin.

 

Nair has received numerous research grants and fellowships from the American Philosophical Association, the Center for the Study of the Visual Arts (National Gallery of Art), Dumbarton Oaks, the Fulbright Institute, the Getty Foundation, and the John Carter Brown Library. More recently, Nair was awarded a Rome Prize by the American Academy of Rome and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, which will allow her to travel to Italy, Peru, and Spain in order to carry out research on Inca architecture and historiography (2016-2018).

 

Nair has co-founded two interdisciplinary groups at UCLA: the Andean Working Group with Dr. Chip Stanish in the Department of Anthropology, which brings together Andean specialists in the greater Los Angeles region to share research; and the Indigenous Material and Visual Culture Reading Group with Dr. Kevin Terraciano in the Department of History, which brings together students and faculty across campus who work on indigenous material culture A.D 1450-1850. Nair is currently developing an Architecture laboratory at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, which will focus on field methods, materials, and historical preservation. In addition, students in the laboratory will experiment with adobe and tapia construction, stone carving techniques, and thatch roofs weavings.

 

Stella Nair is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History. She is also Core Faculty in the Archaeology Interdepartmental Program and the Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies at UCLA. In addition, Nair is Affiliated Faculty with the American Indian Studies Center, the American Indian Studies Interdepartmental Program, and the Latin American Institute.

 

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

  • At Home with the Sapa Inca: Architecture, Space, and Legacy at Chinchero. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015.
  • The Stones of Tiahuanaco: A Study of Architecture and Construction (with Jean-Pierre Protzen). Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, 2013.
  • Las piedras de Tiahuanaco: un estudio de arquitectura y construccion (with Jean-Pierre Protzen). Lima, Perú: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, (Spanish translation of The Stones of Tiahuanaco) [forthcoming].
  • “Time and Space in the Architecture of Inca Royal Estates,” in The Measure and Meaning of Time in Mesoamerica and the Andes, edited by Anthony Aveni. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press [in press].
  • “Inca Built Environment: Architecture and Landscape: Variation, Technology and Symbolism” (with Jean Pierre Protzen), in インカ帝国:研究のフロンティア (Inka Empire: Research Frontiers), edited by Izumi Shimada and Ken-ichi Shinoda, 265–287. Tokyo: Tokai University Press, 2012.
  • “Inca Architecture and the Conquest of the Countryside,” in Architecture – Design Theory – Inca Structures, edited by Johanna Dehlinger and Hans Dehlinger, 114–125. Kassel: Kassel University Press, 2009.
  • “Witnessing the In-Visibility of Inca Architecture in Colonial Peru,” in Buildings and Landscapes 14, no. 2 (Fall 2007): 50–65.
  • “Localizing Sacredness, Difference, and Yachacuscamcani in a Colonial Andean Painting,” Art Bulletin 89, no. 2 (June 2007): 209–238.
  • “¿Neo inca o Colonial? La muerte de la arquitectura inca y otros paradigmas,” Identidad y transformación en el Tawantinsuyu y en los Andes coloniales. Perspectivas arqueológicas y etnohistóricas (segunda parte) 7 (2003): 113–131. Edited by Peter Kaulicke, PUCP Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima, Peru.

 

SELECTED COURSES TAUGHT, UNDERGRADUATE

  • Art, Architecture, and Urbanism of the Americas until 1450 A.D. (lecture)
  • Art, Architecture, and Urbanism of Latin America, 1450 A.D.–present (lecture)
  • Art Historical Theories and Methodologies (seminar)
  • Arts of the Andes (lecture)
  • Cuzco: A Journey into the Urban Unknown (seminar)
  • Inca Visual Culture (lecture)
  • Making Sacred Landscapes: Pilgrimage in the Medieval World (lecture)

 

SELECTED COURSES TAUGHT, GRADUATE

  • Architecture, Space, and Landscape in Colonial Encounters (seminar)
  • Art, Power, and the Sacred Capital: Tenochtitlan and Cuzco (seminar)
  • Body, Gender, Place (seminar)
  • From Law of the Indies to Brasilia: Architecture and Urbanism in Latin America (Mexico, Peru, Brazil) (seminar)
  • Public Places, Private Spaces: Constructing Inca Royal Landscapes (seminar)
  • The Inca in the Early Modern World (seminar)

 

SELECTED LINKS

 

RELATED CENTERS

 

RELATED WORKING GROUPS

 

LOCAL MUSEUM COLLECTIONS