Pictorial Histories and Myth-Histories:
"Graphic Novels" of the Mixtecs and Aztecs

       A Summer Institute in Oaxaca, Puebla and Mexico City
                                June 29 - July 26, 2014

A National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for college
faculty from community and two-year colleges and four-year colleges and
universities, sponsored by the Community College Humanities Association


Project Co-Directors:
Dr. Laraine Fletcher
Adelphi University, Anthropology, emerita, fletcher@adelphi.edu

Dr. George Scheper
Director, Odyssey Program, and Senior Lecturer, Advanced Academic Programs, The Johns Hopkins University, gscheper@jhu.edu

David A. Berry
Project Manager Executive Director, Community College Humanities Association berry@essex.edu

The Institute at a Glance

“Pictorial Histories and Myth-Histories: ‘Graphic Novels’ of the Mixtecs and Aztecs” is a fellowship opportunity for twenty-four select faculty participants from two-year community and four-year colleges and universities to enhance their teaching and research by engaging with scholars in a wide range of disciplines.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and sponsored by The Community College Humanities Association (CCHA), this four-week Institute, held on-site in locations in Oaxaca, Cholula and Mexico City, will enable faculty participants to explore the rapidly accumulating new collaborative scholarship by investigators which focuses on the reading and interpretation of Pre-Columbian and Early Colonial indigenous pictorial manuscripts and the painted myth-histories of the Mixtecs of Oaxaca and the Aztecs of central Mexico and Puebla. The multidisciplinary approach provides a distinct perspective allowing for greater understanding of the complexities of the culture histories of these two diverse and interrelated regions of Mesoamerica and opens a window onto how these Mesoamerican peoples conceived of “history” and of their own existential situations.

Institute seminars, discussions and on-site field study with renowned visiting specialist scholars in archaeology, iconography, ethnography, anthropology, art history and ancient writing systems, together provide a compelling format for the selected Institute Summer Fellows directly to engage with the indigenous codices and maps. Site visits such as the study trips to Cuauhtinchan and Coixtlahuaca, enable Fellows to appreciate for themselves the very landscapes depicted on indigenous maps, lienzos, and tiras as well as in the codices we will be studying.


The stipend for individuals selected to participate in our-week projects is $3,300. Stipends are intended to help cover travel expenses to and from the project location, books and other research expenses, and ordinary living expenses. Stipends are taxable. Applicants to all projects, especially those held abroad, should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the stipend is insufficient to cover all expenses.

The “Pictorial Histories” Institute covers all lodging, internal travel and site-visit costs for all scheduled activities during the project as specified in the detailed Daily Schedule on our website, along with a few pre-arranged meals. Participants are responsible for all other meal expenses, for all personal expenses, and for individual travel arrangements to arrive in Oaxaca by June 29, 2014 and for return from Mexico City on or after July 26, 2014. Because all logistics, internal travel and lodging for the “Pictorial Histories” Institute have been pre-arranged and pre-paid by CCHA, the grant stipend monies of $3,300 for four weeks are pooled to cover these expenses. Any remaining balance is then paid directly to Fellows as a cash stipend to help defray external travel costs and/or other Institute expenses.

Institute Faculty

M. C. Alejandro de Avila Blomberg, Director Técnico of the important and pioneering Ethnobotanical Garden located in the city of Oaxaca,.will conduct a seminar discussing the representations of flora in the various codices and maps we will be studying and conduct a study visit to the Ethnobotanical Garden.

Dana Leibsohn, the Priscilla Paine Van der Poel Professor of Art, and Faculty Director of the Five Colleges Digital Humanities Project, Smith College, will give two seminars on the Historia Tolteca-Chichimeca and the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2

John Monaghan, Department of Anthropology and Program in Geography and Department Head, University of Illinois at Chicago, will a lecture on his ethnographic work among the Mixtecs and will be a scholar-guide on the study visit to the Mixteca Alta region.

John Pohl, Faculty associate, Department of Art History, University of California Los Angeles, will give four lectures on the codices and be a scholar-guide on the study visit to the Mixteca Alta region.

Ethelia Ruiz Medrano, professor and researcher at the Dirección de Estudios Históricos at the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, will give two seminars on the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2 and the contemporary indigenous communities relationship to colonial documents.

Karl Taube, Anthropology, University of California at Riverside, will conduct seminars on Mesoamerican iconography and give a study visit to the Museo Nacional de Antropología and the Aztec Templo Mayor.

Marcus Winter, archaeologist with the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Centro INAH Oaxaca,will give two seminars on the archaeology of Oaxaca and act as our scholar guide to Monte Alban and other sites in the region.


For additional information you may also contact one of the Project Co-Directors:

Dr. George Scheper, Director, Odyssey Program, and Senior Lecturer, Advanced Academic Programs, The Johns Hopkins University, gscheper@jhu.edu

Dr. Laraine Fletcher, Adelphi University, Anthropology, emerita, fletcher@adelphi.edu

Or contact the Project Manager: Prof. David Berry, Executive Director. Community College Humanities Association (CCHA). Tel. 973-877-3204; berry@essex.edu

Application Deadline: March 4, 2014

“Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.”