Amara Solari

Dr. Amara Solari
Dr. Amara Solari

Associate Professor of Art History and Anthropology

Contact: 

206 Borland Building | University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-4883
als66@psu.edu

Education: 

  • 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)

Specialty Area: 

Pre-Columbian and Colonial Latin American Art and Architecture

Bio: 

Dr. Solari teaches courses in Latin American art from the pre-Columbian through the colonial period. Her research focuses on processes of cultural, visual, and theological interchange between indigenous groups and Spanish settlers of New Spain. Dr. Solari has published articles on colonial Maya mapping systems in The Art Bulletin and Terrae Incognitae and her book reviews have appeared in Ethnohistory, American Anthropologist, Colonial Latin American Review, and The Art Bulletin. In 2011, Dr. Solari published 2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse (co-authored with Penn State history professor, Matthew Restall), which argued that the roots of the 2012 apocalyptic mania can be directly traced back to medieval Europe’s fascination with the End of Times. In 2013 Dr. Solari published her first monograph, Maya Ideologies of the Sacred: The Transfiguration of Space in Colonial Yucatan. Central to this project was the translation of Maya and Spanish textual sources, the analysis of which was used to investigate how Franciscan friars of the 16th century co-opted indigenous notions of sacred space to advance their efforts of Catholic conversion. In August 2016 her article, The “Contagious Stench” of Idolatry:
  The Rhetoric of Disease and Sacrilegious Acts in Colonial New Spain” appeared in Hispanic American Historical Review. Her most recent monograph, entitled Idolizing Mary: Maya-Catholic Icons in Yucatán, Mexico, 1550–1700, is currently under contract with Penn State Press. It investigates discourses surrounding early modern conceptions of contagious disease and indigenous Catholicism, using Maya-venerated cults of the Virgin Mary to understand the development of Yucatecan religiosity. Dr. Solari is working on a number of collaborative book-length projects, including a cohesive text on colonial period mural painting in Yucatan. She has two additional books under contract: the first, The Maya, co-authored Matthew Restall with Oxford University Press’s Very Short Introduction series and the second, The Friar and the Maya, the life and times of Bishop Diego de Landa, cowritten with Traci Ardren, John Chuchiak, and Matthew Restall and under contract with University Press of Colorado.  Dr. Solari has also just begun her third monograph, Seeing Malinche: Visuality and the Production of Mexican Historical Memory, 1519­–2019, which analyzes the intersection of colonial visual imagination and its influence on both academic historical discourse and the gendering of Mexican nationalism.