Q+A with Meghan Rubenstein (Ph.D in Art History, expected December 2015)
Thu. October 29, 2015
Meghan Rubenstein is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History, expected graduation in December 2015. She answered questions over email.
Posts you wrote while doing research in Mexico are being published on a new website organized by the Program for the Art of the Ancient Americas at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). How did you get involved in this initiative?
Meghan Rubenstein: Last year a curator at LACMA contacted Julia Guernsey, my dissertation co-advisor, looking for individuals willing to share their research in Latin America with a broader audience. The concept behind the new Ancient Americas blog was to expose readers to the research process rather than just the results. Since I had recently returned from a year of fieldwork in Mexico, Julia suggested I contribute to this project. I contacted LACMA with a summary of my research and potential blog topics, and when the website launched earlier this year I was invited to write a series of posts on my work.
These particular posts document your initial fieldwork in 2012. How did your research evolve to your final thesis topic?
MR: Living in Mexico gave me access to an entirely different set of resources than I had in Texas. Not only was I able to meet with and work alongside a number of scholars in my field, I read archaeological reports and theses housed within the local archives and libraries. The combination of conversations and exposure to new data ultimately helped refine my project and more fully engage with the material. I originally intended to produce in-depth studies on several buildings at Kabah. Yet when I realized how much data was being unearthed at the Codz Pop, I made this structure my primary case study. While focusing on a single building seems narrow, it allowed me to explore the structure and its socio-political function in greater depth. Considering how it related to other examples nearby and afar also forced me to think more broadly about the cultural meaning of architecture throughout the world.
What attracted you to your current position at Colorado College? What does your average workday look like?
MR: When I started looking for jobs, I didn’t have an ideal position in mind. I was hoping to land in a place that would allow me to be creative, productive and continue my own research. When I saw the job description for the position at Colorado College, I felt like it was written for me. Colorado College is a small school with a combined Studio and Art History program, and they were looking for someone who could work closely with students and faculty to support their research and teaching needs. In addition to my background in art history, I have a love for technology, an undergraduate degree in studio art, and several years experience working in the field of Visual Resources. It was a good fit. Also, Colorado is beautiful.
There is no average work day for me. That is one of the reasons I was attracted to this position. Colorado College is on the block plan, so students take—and instructors teach—one class at a time. What that means for me is that every four weeks is like the start of a new semester. In addition to maintaining and growing the department’s image collection, I brainstorm ways students and faculty can effectively incorporate visual resources into their classrooms and scholarship, which involves researching new instructional technologies and providing training to our department.
Do you have upcoming projects or research travel you're particularly excited about?
MR: Like most research projects, I started with a single idea and ended up with a hundred new ones that will keep me busy for a while. I have plans to return to Yucatán next summer to continue my research in the Puuc region, as well as potentially join another project that is in the works. I haven’t been back to Mexico in almost two years—and I can’t wait!
Joan Holladay lectures at Texas Tech University
Tue. October 20, 2015
Dr. Joan Holladay will present a lecture at Texas Tech University on Wednesday, October 28, entitled “Gothic Sculpture in Contexts New and Old: The Allentown Saint Sebastian and Art in Late Medieval Augsburg.”
Eddie Chambers presents "British Artists of the African Diaspora"
Mon. October 5, 2015
Penelope Davies presents paper at international conference
Mon. October 5, 2015
Penelope Davies presented her paper “The Politics of Place: Competing for Presence on the Ancient Via Appia” at the September 2015 The Social Context of Death, Dying and Disposal, Twelfth International Conference in Alba Iulia, Romania.