Dr. Lori Boornazian Diel, an associate professor of art history at Texas Christian University, will give a lecture, “Domestic Conflict: Marriage and Politics in Aztec Mexico,” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium at the University of St. Thomas.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Dr. Lori Boornazian Diel

Dr. Lori Boornazian Diel

Diel, who has Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Latin American Studies from Tulane University, is author of The Tira de Tepechpan: Negotiating Place Under Aztec and Spanish Rule (University of Texas Press, 2008) and numerous scholarly articles about what is revealed in the pictorial histories of Aztec, pre-colonial and colonial Mexico. At Texas Christian she teaches courses on the art of Mexico, Mesoamerican art, and the art and architecture of the Aztecs, the Maya and the Olmec. She also is a member of the College Art Association, the Association for Latin American Art, the American Society for Ethnohistory and the Early Modern Image and Text Society.

A marriage scene from the Codex Xolotl, one of the pictorial books written by the early Aztecs.

A marriage scene from the Codex Xolotl, one of the pictorial books written by the early Aztecs.

“Though infrequent, the inclusion of marriage statements in Aztec histories reveal the political nature of matrimony for elite rulers,” Diel wrote. “These royal marriages were used as a system of alliance and as a marked sign of loyalties and rank. Indeed, the rules governing elite marriages were so standardized that unconventional marriages … stand out as strong political declarations.”

Diel’s lecture will focus on some of these “unconventional” marriages and illuminate the political tensions of the Aztec empire. It also will reveal the role of noblewomen in Aztec politics. “Though much has been made of the fierce war machine of the Aztec empire,” Diel wrote, “political maneuvering could also take place on the domestic front, through marriage rather than war and with wives rather than soldiers.”

For further information, call the UST College of Arts and Sciences’ Art History Department, (651) 962-5560.