Department of Art History and the College
Claudia Brittenham’s research focuses on the art of ancient Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, engaging issues of art and identity, intercultural interaction, the materiality of art, and the politics of style. She has recently completed a book examining the eighth-century murals of Cacaxtla, Tlaxcala, Mexico, exploring how the paintings deploy a deep and sophisticated knowledge of the art of Maya city-states over 700 kilometers to the south in service of local political concerns. She is the co-author with Mary Miller of The Spectacle of the Late Maya Court: Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak, a forthcoming book that has been awarded a Millard Meiss Publication Fund grant from the College Art Association. She is also co-author of Veiled Brightness: A History of Ancient Maya Color, which examines the language, technology, and artistic uses of color in the ancient Maya world. Her current project examines problems of visibility and the status of images in Mesoamerica.
She received her PhD from Yale University in 2008 and has just completed four years of postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan with the support of the Michigan Society of Fellows and the American Council of Learned Societies. Her dissertation was awarded the Theron Rockwell Field Prize and the Frances Blanshard Prize at Yale University, and she was also the recipient of a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship and a Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities. She has served as assistant curator for Eastern Hemisphere collections at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC.
Brittenham joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2012.