Daniela Bleichmar

Associate Professor of Art History and History

Contact Information
E-mail: bleichma@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 821-6384
Office: VKC 351

Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website

Biographical Sketch

Daniela Bleichmar is Associate Professor in the departments of Art History and History at the University of Southern California, where she also serves as Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Initiatives in the Arts and Humanities.

Professor Bleichmar grew up in Argentina and Mexico before immigrating to the U.S. to attend college. She studied at Harvard University (BA, 1996) and Princeton University (PhD, 2005). Before joining the USC faculty, she held a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship through the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute, with which she remain actively involved. She is also a member of the executive committee of the USC Visual Studies Research Institute, and serves as Director of the Visual Studies Graduate Certificate.

Her work examines the history of visual culture and the natural sciences in Europe and the Spanish Americas in the period 1500–1800, in particular. Her research and teaching interests include interactions between art and science in the early modern period; visual and material culture in the Spanish Americas and early modern Europe; the history of Iberia, the Spanish Americas, and the Atlantic World; the history of colonialism, imperialism, and global exchanges; the history of collecting and display; the history of books and print; and the history of travel.

She has received multiple prizes and fellowships for her scholarship, among them a Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2004–2006) a Getty Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2008–2009), and a Getty Research Institute fellowship (2013–2014). In 2007 she was honored by Smithsonian Magazine as one of “37 under 36. America’s Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences.” Her teaching and mentorship have been recognized with the USC College General Education Teaching Award (2008) and the Professor of Color Recognition Award from the USC Undergraduate Student Government (2015).

She is the author of Visible Empire. Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment  (University of Chicago Press, 2012; Spanish translation: El imperio visible: Expediciones botánicas y cultura visual en la Ilustración hispánica, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2016). The book is a study of five scientific expeditions funded by the Spanish crown to explore the natural history of the Spanish Americas and the Philippines between 1777 and 1808. These expeditions brought together naturalists and artists, who working collaboratively produced about twelve thousand illustrations of imperial nature. The book discusses the status and uses of images in eighteenth-century natural history; the importance of visual material in training the expert eyes and skilled hands of naturalists; the role of print culture in establishing a common vocabulary of scientific illustration; the interaction among visual evidence, textual evidence, and material evidence; and the ways in which colonial naturalists and artists appropriated and transformed European models, producing hybrid, local representations.

Visible Empire received six book prizes: the 2014 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize for the best book in European history from ancient times to 1815 (American Historical Association); the 2014 Levinson prize for the most outstanding book in the history of the life sciences and natural history (History of Science Society); the  2013 Leo Gershoy award for the most outstanding book in 17th- and 18th-century European history (American Historical Association); the 2013 Tufts book award (American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies); the 2013 Phi Kappa Phi award for the best book by a faculty member of the University of Southern California; and the 2012 PROSE award for the best book in the history of science, medicine, and technology (Association of American Publishers). It also received an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Arvey book award (Association for Latin American Art).

She has published widely on visual culture and natural history in the Hispanic world and early modern Europe, and co-edited three volumes: Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500–1800 , with Paula DeVos, Kristin Huffine, and Kevin Sheehan (Stanford University Press, 2008);  (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011); and Objects in Motion in the Early Modern World, with Meredith Martin (published in 2015 as Art History, vol. 38, no. 4 and in 2016 as a stand-alone book). A full list of publications appears on her CV.

She is currently researching and writing a book with the working title The Itinerant Lives of Painted Books: Mexican Codices and Transatlantic Knowledge in the Early Modern World. She is also working on a multi-year research project that will result in an exhibition at the Huntington Art Galleries in 2017, Latin American Nature from Columbus to Darwin, co-curated with Catherine Hess as part of the Getty Foundation’s major initiative PST2: L.A./L.A., as well as a single-authored book to accompany the exhibition (Yale University Press, 2017).


  • A.B. History of Science, Harvard University, 1996
  • Ph.D. History, Princeton University, 2005

  • Postdoctoral Training

    • Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow, USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute and USC Visual Studies, 2004-2006  

    Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

    • Associate Professor, University of Southern California, 2012-  
    • Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Initiatives in the Arts and Humanities, University of Southern California, 2015-  
    • Director, Visual Studies Graduate Certificate, University of Southern California, 2015-2016   
    • Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, 2006-2012  
    • Acting Director, USC-Getty Program in the History of Collecting and Display, USC, 2007-2008   
    • Visitor, History Department, Harvard University, 2008-2009   
    • Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship, University of Southern California, 2004-2006  

    Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    - The history of the Spanish Empire and early modern Europe, especially science, visual culture, and material culture

    - The history of natural history

    - The history of books, readers, print, and prints

    - The history of collecting and display

    - The history of cultural encounters, colonialism, and imperialism

    Research Specialties
    Early Modern Europe, especially visual and material culture, global exchanges, science, and print; Spanish Empire/Colonial Latin America; History of Collecting and Display

    Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

    • USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute, http://www.usc.edu/emsi
    • Visual Studies Graduate Certificate, http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/visualstudies/
    • USC-Getty Program in the History of Collecting and Display, http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/art_history/research_programs/collecting/index.html/
    • USC research cluster in Science, Technology, and Society, http://college.usc.edu/sts
    • Visual Studies Research Institute, http://dornsife.usc.edu/vsri


    • Bleichmar, Daniela and Meredith Martin (Ed.). (2016). Objects in Motion in the Early Modern World. Wiley.

      To read about this book, click here.

    • Bleichmar, D. (2016). El imperio visible. Expediciones botánicas y cultural visual en la ilustración hispánica. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica.

      To read the introduction to this book, click here.

    • Bleichmar, Daniela and Meredith Martin (Ed.). (2015). Objects in Motion in the Early Modern World (special issue). (Vol. 38, Art History.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2012). Visible Empire. Colonial Botany and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment. University of Chicago Press.

      To read about this book, click here.

    • Bleichmar, Daniela and Peter C. Mancall (Ed.). (2011). Collecting across Cultures: Material Exchanges in the Early Modern Atlantic World. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

      To read about this book, click here.

    • Bleichmar, Daniela; DeVos, Paula; Huffine, Kristin; and Sheehan, Kevin (Ed.). (2008). Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires (1500-1800). Stanford University Press.

      To read about this book, click here.

    Book Chapter
    • Bleichmar, D. (2013). "Visible Empire: Scientific Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment". pp. 529–54. Saul Dubow (ed.), The Rise and Fall of Modern Empires, Vol. II: Colonial Knowledges. Ashgate..
    • Bleichmar, D. (2013). "Imágenes viajeras: La cultura visual y la historia natural ilustrada". Fermín del Pino (ed.), Entre la ciencia y el arte, entre textos e imágenes. El "Quadro del Perú (1799)", una joya ilustrada del Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales. Madrid, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2013). "Science in the Spanish Americas". pp. 298–300. in Kenneth R. Mills and Evonne Levy (eds.), Lexikon of the Baroque (University of Texas Press).
    • Bleichmar, D. (2011). "Lo exótico en la colección de Lastanosa: el objeto, la mirada y la colección como espacio". Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa: arte y ciencia en el pp. 131–144. Instituto de Estudios Altoaragoneses.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2011). "Seeing the World in a Room: Looking at Exotica in Early Modern Collections". pp. 15-30. Collecting across Cultures: Material Exchanges in the Early Modern Atlantic.
    • Bleichmar, D., Mancall, P. C. (2011). Introduction. Collecting Across Cultures in the Early Modern Atl pp. 1-15. University of Pennsylvania Press.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2010). "The Geography of Observation: Distance and Visibility in Eighteenth-Century Botanical Travel". Histories of Scientific Observation pp. 373–395. University of Chicago Press: Histories of Scientific Observation.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2008). A Visible and Useful Empire: Visual Culture and Colonial Natural History in the Eighteenth-Century Spanish World. Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires (1500-1800)/Stanford University Press.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2008). "Looking at Exotica in Baroque Collections: The Object, the Viewer, and the Collection as a Space," in The Gentleman, the Virtuoso, the Inquirer: Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa and the Art of Collecting in Early Modern Spain. pp. 63-77. Middlesex: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2008). "Training the Naturalist’s Eye in the Eighteenth Century: Perfect Global Visions and Local Blind Spots," in Visualising the Unseen, Imagining the Unknown, Perfecting the Natural: Art and Science in the 18th and 19th Centuries. pp. 1-24. Middlesex: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2007). Atlantic Competitions: Botanical Trajectories in the Eighteenth-Century Spanish Empire. pp. 225-252. Science and Empire in the Atlantic World / Routledge.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2007). Training the Naturalist’s Eye in the Eighteenth Century: Perfect Global Visions and Local Blind Spots. pp. p. 166-190. Skilled Visions. Between Apprenticeship and Standards/Bergahn Books.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2007). "The Trajectories of Natural Knowledge in the Spanish Empire (ca. 1550–1650)". Beyond the Black Legend: Spain and the Scientific Revolution / / Mas alla de la Leyenda Negra: España y la Revolucion Cientifica/Soler.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2004). Books, Bodies, and Fields: Sixteenth-Century Transatlantic Encounters with New World Materia Medica. pp. p. 83-99. Colonial Botany: Science, Commerce, and Politics/Pennsylvania University Press.

    Encyclopedia Article
    • Bleichmar, D. (2011). "The Enlightenment and Its Visual Manifestations in Spanish America". Ben Vinson (ed.), Oxford Bibliographies Online: Latin American Studies (New York: Oxford University Press).

    • Bleichmar, D. (2012). "Latin America: Battleground of Art," review of "Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World," exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The New York Review of Books, 59:2 (February 9, 2012).

    Journal Article
    • Bleichmar, D. (2015). "The Imperial Visual Archive". Colonial Latin American Review. Vol. 24 (2), pp. 236–66.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2015). "History in Pictures: Translating the Codex Mendoza". Art History. Vol. 38.4 (Fall), pp. 682–701.
    • Bleichmar, D., Martin, M. (2015). "Introduction". Art History. Vol. 38.4 (Fall), pp. 604–19.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2012). "Learning to Look: Visual Expertise across Art and Science in Eighteenth-Century France". Eighteenth-Century Studies. Vol. 46 (1), pp. 85–111.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2011). "Seeing Peruvian Nature, Up Close and from Afar". Res. Vol. 59/60, pp. 82–95.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2009). "El imperio visible: la mirada experta y la imagen en las expediciones científicas de la ilustración". Cuadernos Dieciochistas. Vol. 9
    • Bleichmar, D. (2009). "Visible Empire: Scientific Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment". Postcolonial Studies. Vol. vol. 12, no. 9, pp. 441–466.
    • Bleichmar, D. (2007). Exploration in Print: Books and Botanical Travel from Spain to the Americas in the Late Eighteenth Century. Huntington Library Quarterly/Huntington Library. Vol. vol. 70 (no. 1 (March 2007): 129-151)
    • Bleichmar, D. (2006). Painting as Exploration: Visualizing Nature in Eighteenth-Century Colonial Science. Colonial Latin American Review/Taylor and Francis. Vol. vol. 15 (no. 1 (June 2006): 81-104)

    Honors and Awards

    • Professor of Color Recognition Award, USC Undergraduate Student Government, 2015  
    • Getty Research Institute, Scholar, 2013-2014   
    • USC Dornsife Distinguished Faculty Fellow, 2011-2013  
    • Faculty Fellowship, USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute, Fall 2011   
    • Getty Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 2008-2009   
    • USC or School/Dept Award for Teaching, General Education Teaching Award, 12/2008  
    • USC "Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences" Research Grant, 2007-2008  
    • 2007 Jerry Stannard Memorial Award for best article on early modern natural history or materia medica published by a young scholar, for "Books, Bodies, and Fields", 2007  
    • Franklin Pease Memorial Prize for best article published in the Colonial Latin American Review in 2005 and 2006, 2007  
    • Honored by Smithsonian magazine as one of "America’s Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences: 37 under 36." http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specialsections/innovators/bleichmar.html, 10/2007  
    • Short-Term Research Grant, International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World at Harvard University, 6/2007-7/2007  
    • USC-Del Amo Research Grant, 6/2007-7/2007  
    • Award for the best dissertation on Latin American visual culture 2004-2006, Association for Latin American Art, 1/2007  

    Service to the Profession

    Editorships and Editorial Boards
    • CSIC book series: Estudios sobre la ciencia, 2015-  
    • Journal18, 2015-  
    • Asclepio. Revista de la Historia de la Medicina y de la Ciencia, 2014-  
    • Brill book series: Cultural Dynamics of Science, 2014-  
    • Editorial Doce Calles book series: Pictura Mundi, 2014-  
    • Isis, 2014-2016  

    Professional Offices
    • Council Member, History of Science Society, 2012-2015  

    Professional Memberships
    • Renaissance Society of America, 2012-  
    • College Art Association, 2006-  
    • American Historical Association, 2004-  
    • History of Science Society, 1999-  

  • Department of History
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