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Faculty & Staff

Cortney Chaffin

Art History​

NFAC 192



  • B.A. Degree: University of Michigan-Dearborn
  • M.A. Degree: University of Pennsylvania
  • Ph.D. Degree: University of Pennsylvania


Dr. Cortney E. Chaffin is a specialist in early Chinese art and archaeology with an emphasis on wooden funerary sculpture from the southern region of Chu. Her current research examines the significance of regional variations of a grotesque antlered creature carved out of wood and painted with lacquer found in Chu burials from the sixth through the third centuries BCE. Beyond wooden funerary sculpture, Dr. Chaffin also has research interests in topics ranging from animal imagery in early Chinese art, Eastern Zhou bronze vessels, and the artistic connections between Bronze Age cultures in China and Inner Asia. She has presented her research at the annual College Art Association conference, at national institutions and museums, and at international venues. 

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 advises the Art History student organization, international students and fosters international and interdisciplinary events. In 2017, she directed and coordinated 'Intermediary: Video Art from China', an exhibition, artist talk and screening curated by alumna, Ellen Larsen. 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'. 

Works in Progress

Strange Creatures of Chu: Funerary Sculpture in Early China (book manuscript in preparation)
 Recent Presentations
“Defining Jiangling Style Zhenmushou,” Wuhan University, September 30, 2013.
“Strange Beasts from the Aristocratic Tombs of Chu,” Masterworks of Ancient Chinese Art, Conference at the Portland Art Museum, September 22, 2012.
“Deconstructing the Iconographical Origins of the Jiangling Style Antlered Tomb Beast,” Wuhan University, June 2010.
“A Regional Study of Antlered Monster, Bird, and Recumbent Deer Imagery in Spring and Autumn and Warring States Period Chu,” Wuhan University, May 2008.
 Exhibitions and Symposia

Intermediary: Video Art from China, curated by Ellen Larson, 2017
Xu Bing and the Art of Rewriting China, co-curator with Ellen Larson, 2012
Japan-The Floating World, co-curator with Valerie Barske, 2009

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Leadership Mentor Award, 2019
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Teaching Excellence Award, 2012
 Professional Affiliations
Association for Asian Studies
College Art Association
Louis J. Kolb Society
Society for the Study of Early China
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