Carmenita Higginbotham’s research examines early 20th century American art with an emphasis on how notions of "the city" have had an impact on representation. Her book, The Urban Scene: Race, Reginald March and American Art (Penn State University Press, forthcoming February 2015), considers how Reginald Marsh as an American Scene artist represents African Americans during the 1930s. The project situates the language of racial representation within urban contexts invested in the legibility of New York’s landscape and responding to a growing interracialism in popular public spaces.
Higginbotham joined the faculty in 2005. Her undergraduate teaching includes lecture courses on the history of American Art and African American art, and art film. Her graduate seminars have included 1930s: Poverty, Politics and American Art, and Problems in American Art: The City.
Her teaching in the Art History Department is complimented by her courses in UVa’s Program in American Studies. As joint faculty in this undergraduate major, she offers cinema studies courses on topics such as American film noir, Hollywood in the 1930s, and 20th century stardom. She also teaches on the cultural and visual impact of Disney in American popular culture.