Michelle McCoy is writing a book on the visual and material cultures of astrology, astronomy, and divination in China and Inner Asia, ca. 900 to 1300 CE. It examines the constitutive role of the heavens and the cosmos in visuality as such, which offers new possibilities for understanding the circulation of knowledge throughout premodern Eurasia and among disparate social contexts. At the MPIWG in summer 2019, she is contributeingto the Visualization and Material Cultures of the Heavens database and has organized a monthlong workshop on the astral culture of the Tanguts, whose Xixia state (1038–1227) controlled a major silk road conduit in the two centuries leading up to the Mongol empire.
McCoy is Assistant Professor of Chinese art in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. She authored the complete catalogue section for Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road (Getty, 2016), winner of the 2017 PROSE Award in art exhibitions from the Association of American Publishers, and has held fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Fulbright Program; and the Social Science Research Council. In 2019-2020, she will join the Mellon Sawyer Seminar “Information Ecosystems: Creating Data (and Absence) From the Quantitative to the Digital Age” at Pitt.