Elisa C. Mandell, associate professor of art, argues that modern, Western notions of gender have been imposed on the paintings and sculptures of the ancient Mexican city-state of Teotihuacan in “A New Analysis of the Gender Attribution of the ‘Great Goddess’ of Teotihuacan” published in Vol. 26, Issue 1 of Ancient Mesoamerica.
“The result has been that a wide range of figures have been identified as female,” says Mandell, who believes they are “mixed gender, combining masculine, feminine and neutral attributes. Moreover, these figures are deliberately depicted as mixed gender, a tradition for which there is significant precedence in the Americas.”
Trained as a pre-Columbianist, Mandell has presented her research in diverse interdisciplinary conferences in the U.S. and abroad. Last year, she was named president of the Association for Latin American Art.