Dr. Stephanie M. Strauss, adjunct professor in the Department of Art History, has been awarded a 2023 ACLS Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). The ACLS Fellowship Program supports exceptional scholarship in the humanities and interpretive social sciences that has the potential to make significant contributions within and beyond awardee fields.
For 2023, the program will award more than $3.8 million in research support to 60 scholars selected through a multistage peer review process. Strauss was further recognized with one of only 10 named fellowships, as the 2023–24 H. and T. King Fellow in Ancient American Art and Culture. The fellowship provides $60,000 to support 12 months of sustained research and writing on her project “Inscribing Power: The Materiality of Script in Early Mesoamerican Art.”
Strauss’ research explores the invention, display, and design of hieroglyphic texts and narrative art in early Mesoamerica. While most epigraphic studies center discussions of writing in the Americas from the perspective of the Maya or the Mexica (“Aztec”), this project takes Formative Gulf Coast visual culture as a center from which to survey the topic. This endeavor combines the author’s experience in Mesoamerican epigraphy with her subject area expertise in Formative era visual culture. Through an exploration of the indexical fields of text, image and material practice, Strauss follows the roots of Indigenous American writing as they stretch deep into the past.