Cortney E. Chaffin is a specialist in early Chinese art and archaeology. Her research interests focus on the materiality and spatiality of death in ancient China and the rich array of fantastic hybrid animal and monster imagery in early Chinese funerary art. Her current research focuses on the use of wayfinding signs and symbols in Warring States period funerary art. She has presented her research at the annual College Art Association conference, at national institutions and museums, and at international venues, including Wuhan University in Hubei Province, China.
Dr. Chaffin is an advocate for public art history. She is Contributing Editor for the art of ancient China at Smarthistory, the Center for Public Art History, and is a co-host for the podcast Of the Earth, which explores the many connections, complexities, and contradictions in Chinese art and culture across time and space with Dr. Ellen Larson.
At UW-Stevens Point, Dr. Chaffin has created and taught numerous courses in Asian art history and culture and has spearheaded curriculum development for the Art History area. Her courses cover a broad range of topics to which she devotes equal enthusiasm. In addition, Dr. Chaffin co-advises the Art History student organization, the Association of Art Historians and Scholars (AAHS). In 2017, she directed and coordinated ‘Intermediary: Video Art from China’, an exhibition curated by Dr. Ellen Larson. Dr. Chaffin previously directed two wildly successful College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC Creates) interdisciplinary events series, ‘Japan: The Floating World’ and ‘Xu Bing: The Art of Rewriting China’.
- College Art Association
- Louis J. Kolb Society
- 2022 – “Strange Creatures of Chu: A Regional Approach to Antlered Tomb Sculptures,”
in Zoomorphic Arts of Ancient Central Eurasia, a special issue of Arts
- 2022 – “The Search for Immortality: The Tomb of Lady Dai,” in Smarthistory
- 2022 – “Buddhism in Chinese Art (2nd century through 907 C.E.),” in Reframing Art History, edited by Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank, Smarthistory
- 2021 – “From Zheng to Chu: Tracing the Stylistic Origins of Hanxi Style Antlered and Tongued Tomb Sculptures,” in Proceedings from the International Conference on Chu and the Early Development of the Middle Yangzi Region, Wuhan: Wuhan University Press.
- 2021 – “Death and material culture in early China,” in Reframing Art History, edited by Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank, Smarthistory
- 2021 – “Art under the Mongols,” in Reframing Art History, edited by Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank, Smarthistory
- 2021 – “War and Sacrifice: The Tomb of Fu Hao,” in Smarthistory
Honors and Awards
- 2018 University Leadership Mentor Award
- 2012 University Excellence in Teaching Award
“In an instant, mist and clouds can resurrect antiquity.” Shitao, 1702