Stella Nair, 2023–24 | National Humanities Center

Stella Nair (NHC Fellow, 2023–24)

Project Title

Inca Architecture: Chapters in the History of a (Gendered) Profession

Hurford Family Fellowship, NEH Fellowship, 2023–24

Associate Professor of Indigenous Arts of the Americas, University of California, Los Angeles

Stella Nair’s scholarship focuses on the built environment of indigenous communities in the Americas. Her work is shaped by her interests in gender, spatial theory, construction technology, landscape transformations, and hemispheric networks. Trained as an architect and architectural historian, Nair has conducted fieldwork in Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, and the United States, with ongoing projects in the South Central Andes. She has authored At Home with the Sapa Inca: Architecture, Space, and Legacy, and coauthored, with Jean Pierre Protzen, The Stone of Tiahuanaco: a Study of Architecture and Construction. Her current book project, Inca Architecture: Chapters in the History of a (Gendered) Profession, offers new perspectives on the Inca built environment by highlighting the profound ways in which women designed, constructed, used, and gave meaning to Inca spaces and places.

Nair is associate professor in the Department of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles and core faculty in the American Indian Studies Interdepartmental Program and the Archaeology Interdepartmental Program. She is also a Senior Fellow of Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks (Harvard University). Nair has received research grants and fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, the American Philosophical Association, the Center for the Study of the Visual Arts (National Gallery of Art), Dumbarton Oaks, the Fulbright Institute, the Getty Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the John Carter Brown Library, among others.

Selected Publications

At Home with the Sapa Inca

  • Nair, Stella. “La plaza inca: arquitectura, paisaje, y teatro en Chinchero.” In Actas del I Congreso Internacional de Arquitectura Andina: arquitectos y arqueología: “en homenaje a Emilio Harth-Terré”: I CIAA Perú 2019, edited by Miguel Guzmán Juárez, 159–72. Lima: Editorial Universitaria Universidad Ricardo Palma, 2022.
  • Nair, Stella. “‘Salones de vino’, conventos y otros espacios incas imaginados.” In El arte antes de la historia: para una historia del arte andino antiguo, edited by Marco Curatola Petrocchi, Cécile Michaud, Joanne Pillsbury, and Lisa Trever, 311–30. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2020.
  • Nair, Stella, Sonia Archila, and Christine A. Hastorf. “The Lost Half of Andean Architecture: Eighteenth-Century Roofing Traditions and Environmental Use at Chinchero, Peru.” Latin American Antiquity 29, no. 2 (June 2018): 222–38.
  • Nair, Stella. At Home with the Sapa Inca: Architecture, Space, and Legacy at Chinchero. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015.
  • Protzen, Jean-Pierre, and Stella Nair. The Stones of Tiahuanaco: A Study of Architecture and Construction. Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, 2013.
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