You are here:Home/About/ Fellowship Community/ Stephanie M. Strauss

Stephanie M. Strauss

“Sculpting the Narrative: The Material Practice of Epi-Olmec Art and Writing”

Stephanie M. Strauss

University of Texas at Austin, Pre-Columbian Studies Fellow

Strauss’s research explores the interwoven Epi-Olmec monumental art and hieroglyphic program developed in Mexico’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec from approximately 350 BCE to 500 CE. She focuses on creating a robust working definition for this visual culture system, using both inscribed and uninscribed objects to explore the various ways in which Epi-Olmec artists, scribes, patrons, and audiences engaged with elite art and writing. Strauss’s project is the first to approach Epi-Olmec hieroglyphic writing as one component of a greater suite of Isthmian sculptural practices, stretching from the Late Formative to Early Classic periods. Her research outlines the consistent features of Epi-Olmec monumental practice, from the materiality of sculptural surfaces, to narrative themes and stylistic features, to the dialogue between Epi-Olmec texts and images. Strauss further situates this research within discussions of monumental display in early Mesoamerica specifically, as well as the development of primary and secondary writing systems in the ancient world more broadly.

Stephanie M. Strauss received her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, where she held a Donald D. Harrington Doctoral Fellowship from 2013 to 2018. Strauss previously earned a MA in anthropology from George Washington University and a BA in anthropology and Latin American studies from Yale University. Her research has been supported by the Harrington Foundation, the Linda and David Schele Research Fund, and the Josef Albers Research Fellowship, among others. Most recently, Strauss has served as professor of art history at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she taught courses in the visual culture of the ancient world, ancient textile theory, and surveys of Mesoamerican, Andean, and southwest indigenous American art.