Professor Mónica Domínguez Torres specializes in Renaissance and Baroque art in the Iberian World, with particular interest in the cross-cultural exchanges that occurred between Spain and the Americas during the period 1500-1700. She received a B.A. in Art History from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, a Masters in Museum Studies and a Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of Toronto, Canada. She joined the Department of Art History at the University of Delaware in 2003, and since 2005 she has held a joint appointment in Latin American and Iberian Studies.
Her book Military Ethos and Visual Culture in Post-Conquest Mexico (Ashgate, 2013) investigates the significance of military images and symbols in sixteenth-century Mexico, showing how certain interconnections between martial, social, and religious elements resonated with similar intensity among Mesoamericans and Europeans, creating cultural bridges between these diverse communities. The study builds on scholarship in the fields of visual, literary, and cultural studies to analyze the European and Mesoamerican content of the martial imagery fostered within the indigenous settlements of central Mexico, as well as the ways in which local communities and leaders appropriated, manipulated, modified, and reinterpreted foreign visual codes.
In 2008-09, she was awarded a Kluge fellowship at the Library of Congress to work on the project "Blazons of the Anáhuac: The Production, Regulation and Consumption of Indigenous Heraldry in Sixteenth-Century Mexico," whose results have been featured in two important books. The essay "Emblazoning Identity: Indigenous Heraldry in Colonial Mexico and Peru" appeared in the book Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World (Yale University Press, 2011), published in conjunction with the exhibit of the same title presented at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from November 2011 to January 2012, and at the Museo Nacional de Historia "Castillo de Chapultepec" in Mexico City from July to October 2012. This book was awarded the 2012 Eleanor Tufts Book Prize from the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies. Another essay entitled "Los escudos de armas indígenas y el lenguaje heráldico castellano a comienzos del siglo XVI" will appear in the book Los escudos de armas indígenas: de la colonia al México independiente, edited by María Castañeda de la Paz and Hans Roskamp (Colegio de Michoacán, Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, UNAM, in press).
With Professor Wendy Bellion, she co-edited Objects in Motion: Art and Material Culture across Colonial North America (2011), a special issue of the journal Winterthur Portfolio featuring papers presented at an international symposium they organized at the University of Delaware in 2008. This collaboration has also extended to the classroom, offering graduate seminars on "Colonial Art Across North America" and co-authoring the essay "Teaching Across the Borders of North American Art History" which will appear in the book A Companion to American Art, edited by John Davis, Jennifer Greenhill, and Jason LaFountain (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming). Professor Domínguez Torres has also published articles in the Bulletin of Latin American Research, Archivo Español de Arte, Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, and Delaware Review of Latin American Studies.
Her current research project, "Pearl Fishing Representations in Early Modern Spain and Beyond," examines a series of chronicles and visual images featuring scenes of pearl fishing in Central America and the Caribbean. Professor Domínguez Torres studies such representations against the material culture that emerged around this early colonial industry in order to explore not only the deep cultural currency that pearls had in the early modern imagination, but also the bitter international rivalries and contestations of power that characterized the Atlantic world. She has presented advances of this research at the 53rd International Congress of Americanists (Mexico City, 2009), the Renaissance Society of America annual conference (Venice, 2010), and the African Americas Project at the University of Delaware (Newark, DE, 2011). Her essay “Pearl Fishing in the Caribbean: Early Images of Slavery and Forced Migration in the Americas” will appear in the volume African Americas Project, edited by Persephone Braham.