Department of Art and Art History News

Julia Guernsey named grand prize winner of 2013 Hamilton Book Awards

Mon. October 21, 2013

Julia Guernsey receiving 2013 Hamilton Book Award

The Department of Art and Art History congratulates Professor and Associate Chair Julia E. Guernsey on being named the grand prize winner of the 2013 University Co-Op Robert W. Hamilton Book Awards for her work “Sculpture and Social Dynamics in Preclassic Mesoamerica.”

The Hamilton Awards are among the highest honors of literary achievement given to published authors at The University of Texas at Austin. This year’s winners were announced Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Four Seasons Hotel.

In “Sculpture and Social Dynamics in Preclassic Mesoamerica,” Guernsey focuses on the significance of an enigmatic but abundant type of Preclassic monumental stone sculpture known as the “potbelly,” and she links its development to the social and political transformations that accompanied the formation of the first state-level societies in Mesoamerica. This book is a unique study that bridges the domains of art history, archaeology and anthropology in an exploration of the social role of sculpture during the Preclassic period in ancient Mesoamerica.

"I am thrilled by this honor, and delighted to share this research recognition with two other colleagues from the College of Fine Arts," Guersey said. "It was a great year for COFA, and a wonderful testament to the quality and diversity of research that takes place within our college."

Julia Guernsey received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1997, and has taught ancient Mesoamerican art and culture history in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin since 2001. Her research and publications continue to focus on the Middle and Late Preclassic periods in ancient Mesoamerica, in particular on sculptural expressions of rulership during this time. She also continues to participate on the La Blanca Archaeological Project, which is exploring this large site that dominated the Pacific coastal and piedmont region of Guatemala during the Middle Preclassic period.