William Barnes portrait

William Barnes

Associate Professor
B.A. Arizona State University
M.A. Tulane University
Ph.D. Tulane University
44 N. Cleveland Ave.
(651) 962-5645
Toll Free
(800) 328-6819, Ext. 2-5645

Dr. Barnes will be on sabbatical during the Spring 2016 semester. 

Specialization: Pre-Columbian Art

William Barnes's primary area of research is the art of ancient Mexico, with a focus on Central Mexican sculpture and Mesoamerican manuscript painting. His current research focuses on discursive strategies used in Aztec (Tenochca Mexica) imperial art and the extent to which the Mesoamerican calendar was used in royal monuments. Barnes's other areas of interest include early colonial Latin American and Pre-Columbian Andean art and architecture.


"Secularizing for Survival: Changing Depictions of Aztec Rulers in Early Colonial Texts" inPainted Books and Indigenous Knowledge in Mesoamerica: Manuscript Studies in Honor of Betsy Smith, MARI Publication 69, edited by Elizabeth H. Boone, pp. 319-340. New Orleans: Middle American Research Institute. 2005

"Partitioning the Parturient: An Exploration of the Aztec Fetishized Female Body." Anthanor XV: 15-27 (1997). 

Recent Research Presentations 

"Aztec Royal Bloodletting and the Postbellum Reinvention of a Sculptural Genre." College Art Association annual conference, delivered in the Association for Latin American Art (ALAA) sponsored session "Drawing Blood: Images of Sacrifice and Identity in the American, Pre-Hispanic to Contemporary." New York, February 2007.

"But the Greatest of These is Marriage: War, Sacrifice, Marriage, and the Legitimization of Mixtec Conqueror Lord 8 Deer'Jaguar Claw." College Art Association annual conference, delivered in the session "Marriage in Mesoamerica," Atlanta, February, 2005.

"Aztec (Re)Presentations of Authority: The Reactionary Hypothesis." Delivered before the Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C., April, 2003.

"Icons of Empire: Recent Research and Preliminary Conclusions." Delivered at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., January, 2003.

"Mutable Authority: Images of Aztec Tlatoqueth in the Early Postconquest Period." American Society for Ethnohistory annual meeting, Tuscon, October, 2001.

"Aztec Zapotec-izing: The Imperial Significance of Mexican Acculturation." College Art Association annual conference, Los Angeles, February 1999.

"The Flayer-god and Divine Right: A Contextual Alternative to the Mesoamerican 'Pantheon.' "South East College Arts Conference (SECAC) annual meeting, Charleston, South Carolina, October, 1996.

"Visual Evidence and Mythological Context of the Aztec Fetishized Female Body." Delivered at 13th International Symposium of the Latin American Indian Literature Association (LAILA), Hamden, Connecticut, June 1996. 

Grants and Fellowships

2008   Saginaw Valley State University Faculty Research Grant Award (for travel to Mexico). Project title: Propotypical Simulacrum: A New View of the Great Tizoc Stone.

2002-2003   Trustees of Harvard University appointment, Junior Fellow in Pre-Columbian Studies, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.

2001   Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc., grant no. 00027. Project title: Icons of Empire: Royal Presentation and the Conception of Rule in Aztec, Mexico. Research report can be viewed at http://www.famsi.org/reports/00027/

Professional Affiliations

College Art Association
Association for Latin American Art
Midwest Art History Society
American Society for Ethnohistory

Spring 2016 Courses

Spring 2016 Courses
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Summer 2016 Courses

Summer 2016 Courses
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Fall 2016 Courses

Fall 2016 Courses
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