Jointly organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the University of Maryland, the Association of Historians of American Art Biennial Symposium will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of AHAA (2019) and the fiftieth anniversary of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s preeminent fellowship program (2020). 

UCP has a strong program in American Art and several of our authors are participating in AHAA sessions. Hear from our authors, check-out the latest titles from our art list, and connect with our Art Editor, Archna Patel.

Sessions Featuring our Authors

Caitlin Beach, author of the forthcoming book, Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery

Thursday, October 14, 11:30am EST: “Edmonia Lewis and the Poetics of Plaster.”

Caitlin Meehye Beach is an assistant professor of art history at Fordham University, where her teaching and research focus on transatlantic histories of art of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Her first book, Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery, is in contract with the University of California Press and will be published in 2022 as a recipient of the University of Maryland-Philips Collection Book Prize. Research for this project has been supported by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Paul Mellon Centre, the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Royal Academy of Arts. Her writing has appeared in British Art StudiesNka: Journal of Contemporary African ArtNineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, and in the volume Republics and Empires: Italian and American Art in Transnational Perspective, 1840-1970 (Manchester Univ. Press, 2021). She holds an A.B. from Bowdoin College and a PhD from Columbia University.

Nika Elder, author of the forthcoming book, William Harnett’s Curious Objects: Still-Life Painting after the American Civil War

Thursday, October 14, 1:15pm EST: Session III – New Perspectives on Portraiture and Still Life (moderator)

Nika Elder is an assistant professor of American art at American University in Washington, D.C. Her research and teaching focus on the mutually constitutive relationship between art and race from the colonial period to the present. She is the author of William Harnett’s Curious Objects: Still-Life Painting after the American Civil War and has published essays on nineteenth-century and twentieth-century American art in the Archives of American Art JournalArt Journal, and the Routledge Companion to African American Art. Her second book focuses on Anglo-American painter John Singleton Copley and locates his work and career in the context of the transatlantic slave trade. Related articles appear or are forthcoming in Winterthur Portfolio and Art History.

J.M. Mancini, author of Art and War in the Pacific World: Making, Breaking, and Taking from Anson’s Voyage to the Philippine-American War

Friday, October 15, 10:45 – 11:45am EST: Session VII – Iconoclasm in North America

J. M. Mancini is a cultural historian. She is the author of the prize-winning monographs Art and War in the Pacific World: Making, Breaking and Taking from Anson’s Voyage to the Philippine-American War, and Pre-Modernism: Art-World Change and American Culture from the Civil War to the Armory Show ; and, with Keith Bresnahan, is the co-editor of Architecture and Armed Conflict: The Politics of Destruction).

John Ott, co-author of Muybridge and Mobility

Friday, October 15, 10:45 – 11:45am EST: Session VII – Iconoclasm in North America

As the Ray and Margaret Horowitz Visiting Professor in American Art for 2021–22 at Boston University, John Ott has also been known to assume the identity of professor of art history at James Madison University and author of Manufacturing the Modern Patron in Victorian California: Cultural Philanthropy, Industrial Capital, and Social Authority and with Tim Cresswell, Muybridge and Mobility; Ott’s half of the volume examines the representation and social mobility of Black athletes in the Gilded Age. His current book project, “Mixed Media: The Visual Cultures of Racial Integration, 1931–1954,” has received support from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Maggie Cao, author of The End of Landscape in Nineteenth-Century America

Friday, October 15, 1:00pm EST: “Oceanography and Imperialism in Homer’s Gulf Stream.

Maggie Cao is the David G. Frey Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a historian of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American art in a global context. Her research focuses on the history of globalization with particular interest in intersections of art with histories of technology, natural science, and economics. She is the author of The End of Landscape in Nineteenth-Century America. She has also published on media theory, material culture, and ecocriticism. She is currently writing a book on American painting and overseas empire building in the nineteenth century.

Jordana Saggese, author of The Jean-Michel Basquiat Reader: Writings, Interviews, and Critical Responses

Friday, October 15, 3:30pm EST: Keynote -“Speech and Silence” (moderator)

Jordana Moore Saggese is an associate professor of American art and outgoing Editor-in-Chief of Art Journal. As an internationally recognized expert on the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, she has published two books on his life and work – Reading Basquiat: Exploring Ambivalence in American Art and The Basquiat Reader: Writings, Interviews and Critical Responses. Her current book, Game On: Sports, Race, and Masculinity, maps the visual terrain of racial ideology in the United States, paying particular attention to the intersecting discourses of blackness, masculinity, and sport in the late nineteenth century. 

Interested in publishing your book with UC Press? Learn what our Art Editor Archna Patel is looking for and how to connect.