Allison Caplan

Austen-Stokes Ancient Americas Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD, Tulane University

Gilman 163
410-516-8857
acapla10@jhu.edu

Allison Caplan is the 2019–2020 Austen-Stokes Ancient Americas Endowed postdoctoral fellow. She is also Assistant Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of California, Santa Barbara (currently on leave). Her research focuses on the art of the Aztec Empire and colonial New Spain, examining indigenous Nahua art theory and aesthetics, issues of materiality and value, Nahuatl language and linguistics, and the relationship between visual and verbal expression in Mesoamerica.

Caplan is currently working on her first book, Our Flickering Creations: Art Theory under the Aztec Empire, which reconstructs the key concepts of color, light, surface, and assemblage in Nahua art theory for works in valued media, including precious stones, feathers, and metals.

Caplan received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Art History and Latin American Studies from Tulane University and her B.A. in Comparative Literature and Society from Columbia University. She has held fellowships and grants from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and the Getty Research Institute.

Art and Language in the Indigenous Americas, Graduate Seminar

Jade, Turquoise, Feathers, and Gold: Valued Materials in Aztec Art, Undergraduate Seminar (cross-listed with Archaeology)

“The Living Feather: Tonalli in Nahua Feather Production.” In “Knowledge of Birds and Feathers in the Ancient and Colonial Mesoamerican World,” edited by Allison Caplan and Lisa Sousa, special issue, Ethnohistory. (In press)

“Bridging Biology and Ethnohistory: A Case for Collaboration.” By Allison Caplan, James Maley, and John McCormack. In “Knowledge of Birds and Feathers in the Ancient and Colonial Mesoamerican World,” edited by Allison Caplan and Lisa Sousa, special issue, Ethnohistory. (In press)

“Introduction.” By Lisa Sousa and Allison Caplan. In “Knowledge of Birds and Feathers in the Ancient and Colonial Mesoamerican World,” edited by Allison Caplan and Lisa Sousa, special issue, Ethnohistory. (In press)

“Locking Eyes with the Sun: Perception, Landscape, and the Value of Greenstone in Sixteenth-Century Nahuatl Discourse.” In “Landscapes of Exchange,” edited by Dana Leibsohn, special issue, Material and Visual Cultures of Religion. (In press)

“The Aztec Templo Mayor” (sidebar essay), 12 catalogue entries, and two co-authored entries. In Golden Kingdoms: Luxury Arts in the Ancient Americas, edited by Joanne Pillsbury, Timothy Potts, and Kim N. Richter. Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2017. Exhibition catalogue.