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Hayley B. Woodward

"The Codex Xolotl: The Visual Discourse of Place and History in Early Colonial Mexico"

Hayley B. Woodward

Junior Fellow, Pre-Columbian Studies

Hayley’s research centers on pre-Columbian and colonial visual communication, placemaking, history-writing, and artistic practices, specifically in sixteenth-century Central Mexico. Her research project centers on these topics as evinced in the Codex Xolotl, a Nahua pictorial manuscript. Although it was created in the early years after the Spanish invasion, the Xolotl exhibits hundreds of individual scenes of pre-invasion history. Hayley’s project demonstrates that, through study of the entangled relationships between the Xolotl’s materiality, composition, iconography, and style, the Xolotl does not convey a single message. Instead, it embodies the conflicting goals of its makers as they adjusted and erased the pre-Columbian past to serve a contentious and shifting colonial present. Hayley’s project reveals how multiple contexts and agendas live within the pictorial history and undermines any simplistic understanding of the visible historical narrative; instead, it brings to light traces of interface with the manuscript and calls into question the idea of completeness or synchronicity in indigenous historical products.

Hayley B. Woodward is a PhD candidate in the Art History and Latin American Studies program at Tulane University. She received her BA in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin and her MA in Art History at Tulane University. Her fieldwork has been supported by numerous grants from Tulane, and she has held the Center for Renaissance Studies Consortium fellowship at the Newberry Library and a Predoctoral Fellowship at the Getty Research Institute. She has taught Art History and Latin American Studies courses at Tulane University and the University of New Orleans.