Paul Niell joins the department having received his Ph.D. in the Arts of the Americas program at the University of New Mexico in 2008. He specializes in Spanish Colonial arts and architecture, c. 1500-1840, with a secondary emphasis on the material culture of the African Diaspora. For the past several years, he has taught as Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of North Texas and has been revising two books manuscripts. The first, an edited anthology, examines the complexities of the neoclassical phenomenon in late colonial Latin America through a variety of case studies from the perspectives of history, art history, and classics. Simultaneously, he has continued to refine his single-authored monograph on narratives of town founding and the construction of cultural heritage on the Plaza de Armas of Havana, Cuba, 1754-1828. In research on the earlier colonial period, Professor Niell investigates urban design and architectural representation in the sixteenth-century city of Santo Domingo (now capital of the Dominican Republic). His work examines the multitude of architectural styles in the early city, particularly in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, 1514-41, and explores their civic, religious, and social significances. Based on this project, he is co-editing an anthology on Late Gothic and Neo-Gothic Architecture in Latin America with Richard A. Sundt of the University of Oregon, which will be published in 2015 as a special edition of the journal, post-medieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies.
Professor Niell has published in the journals, Hemisphere: Visual Cultures of the Americas, Cultural Landscapes: A Journal of Cultural Studies, the Bulletin of Latin American Research, The Latin Americanist, and has an article forthcoming (August 2012) in the Colonial Latin American Review. At his previous position at the University of North Texas, he taught graduate seminars on the city in the early modern Ibero-Americas, the visual culture of Santería (an Afro-Cuban religion), and the art of “enlightened” reform in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Latin America. At Florida State University, he is developing lecture courses in Spanish colonial art and architectural history, arts of the African Diaspora, and graduate seminars on early modern Ibero-American topics.