Women of Power in the Indigenous New World

    March 3, 2022

    March 3, 2022


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    Traci Ardren, Carol Damian, and Arthur Dunkelman
    "Women of Power in the Indigenous New World"

    Several objects in the Kislak Center collection depict women in various roles considered significant to the rituals of their cultures. To mark Women's History Month, Dr. Traci Ardren joins Dr. Carol Damian and Curator Arthur Dunkelman to discuss indigenous women and their roles of power in the ancient Americas. Professor Ardren will present her research into the contemporary rituals of indigenous women as a continuation of ancient practices.

    A Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Miami, Dr. Traci Ardren is an anthropological archaeologist interested in New World prehistoric cultures. Her research focuses on issues of identity and forms of symbolic representation in the archaeological record, especially the ways in which differences are explained through gender. Her current preoccupations include the role of cuisine in identity formation in the later periods of Classic Maya culture and prehistoric southern Florida, as well as the ways we can read memories in ancient living spaces. As Consulting Curator for Mesoamerican Art at the Lowe Art Museum at UM, Ardren has curated exhibitions that include Flowers for the Earth Lord: Guatemalan Textiles from the Permanent Collection in 2006, The Jaguar’s Spots: Ancient Mesoamerican Art from the Lowe Art Museum in 2010, and, most recently, Kay Pacha: Reciprocity with the Natural World in the Ancient Art of the Andes in 2016. She grew up in and around the Ringling Museum of Art and the many ways in which objects are allowed to convey our wants and needs is a lifelong fascination for her.

    Dr. Carol Damian is an art historian, former Professor of Art History in the School of Art and Art History at Florida International University, and former Director and Chief Curator of the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU. She has contributed to numerous publications and lectures frequently on Latin American and Caribbean art, and the local art scene. She is currently Curator of the Kislak Center, part of the Miami Dade College Special Collections, housed at the Freedom Tower; and of the Chapel of La Merced Colonial Collection at Corpus Christi in Miami.

    Arthur Dunkelman is the curator of the Kislak Collection of the Early Americas, Exploration, and Navigation in Special Collections at the University of Miami Richter Library, where the exhibition Open New Worlds is ongoing at the Kislak Center Gallery. Before coming to UM, he was the director and curator of the Kislak Foundation for twenty-four years. In 2004, a portion of the Kislak Foundation Collection was donated to the Library of Congress, and Dunkelman managed the transition, research, and public outreach, and edited a comprehensive catalogue of the collection that was published by the Library of Congress in 2007.