Jenny Ni

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Columbia U.

Grant number

Gr. 10336

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Ni, Jenny (Columbia U.) "The Politics of Visual Culture on the Southern Plains during the 18th and 19th Centuries"

This project explores the role of visual culture in the emergence of Southern Plains equestrian polities during the 18th and 19th centuries. Combining new archaeological survey at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, TX with existing rock art datasets from the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, NM, I investigate how images within the ‘Plains Biographic Tradition’ were deployed spatially, with a special focus on their roles within the growth of the Comanche polity. In examining the content and location of Plains Biographic rock art, and in dialogue with descendant members of the Comanche nation, I consider how visual culture addressed specific audiences and, through this, negotiated relationships within and between different groups. Through understanding Plains Biographic rock art as a historical archive and a political practice, the project will contribute to broader discussions in anthropology concerning mobile pastoralism, visual culture and politics, and political complexity.