Dr. Amara Solari

Amara Solari

Assistant Professor of Art History and Anthropology


201 Borland Building

University Park, PA 16802

(814) 865-4883





Ph.D. and M.A. in history of art and architecture (University of California, Santa Barbara)

B.A. in anthropology and art history (University of California, Berkeley)


Dr. Solari teaches courses in Latin American art from the pre-Columbian through the colonial periods. Her research focuses on processes of cultural, visual, and theological interchange between indigenous groups and Spanish settlers of New Spain. Dr. Solari has written articles on colonial Maya mapping systems that have appeared in The Art Bulletin and Terrae Incognitae and her book reviews have appeared in Ethnohistory and American Anthropologist. In 2011, Dr. Solari published 2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse with another Penn State professor, Dr. Matthew Restall.  In this book the authors debunk the myths surrounding the 2012 phenomena, arguing that their roots can be directly traced back to medieval Europe’s fascination with the Apocalypse. Due out in 2013 is Dr. Solari’s first monograph, titled The Transfiguration of Space: Maya ideologies of the sacred in colonial Yucatan (University of Texas Press). Central to this project is the translation and linguistic analysis of Maya textual sources such as “The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel,” a manuscript that records colonial period transcriptions of pre-contact hieroglyphic texts. She illustrates her theoretical inquiries by utilizing the Maya/Franciscan colonial city of Itzmal as a case study due to its remarkable cultural hybridity, fortuitously preserved in the city’s extant visual culture. Currently, Dr. Solari is working on a number of book-length projects including an edited volume on Yucatec colonial art and another monograph that examines the shifting role of visual culture in New Spain during the mass epidemics of the early colonial period.