U-M History of Art graduate student Ximena Gomez has been awarded the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Abroad Fellowship. The fellowship provides grants to colleges and universities to fund individual doctoral students who conduct research in other countries, in modern foreign languages and area studies, specifically projects that deepen research knowledge on and help the nation develop capability in areas of the world not generally included in U.S. curricula.

Gomez's dissertation examines how the residents of early colonial Lima utilized images of the Virgin Mary to establish their identities within colonial society. The project is organized around three case studies of confraternities that span the urban space of Lima and represent the city's major racial groups: the indigenous confraternity of Nuestra Señora de Copacabana, the black African confraternity of Nuestra Señora de la Antigua, and the elite Spanish confraternity of Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción. By analyzing the way these confraternities manipulated and related to the images they venerated, Gomez hopes to demonstrate how these artworks created sites of racial and social mediation.