The Trans-Asia Photography Review is pleased to publish summaries and reviews of symposia, conferences, panels and workshops on topics related to photography in Asia. In addition to the symposia summarized here, summaries of the symposia on 19th Century photography in India held at the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts can be found via their website at www.acparchives.com and abstracts from the Facing Asia conference (National Gallery of Australia, August 2010) can be downloaded at http://hrc.anu.edu.au/events/facing-asia. In addition, information about the Symposium "Imperial Exposure: Early Photography and Royal Portraits Across Asia" can be found at http://www.asia.si.edu/events/IESymposium/.

Please send information on other meetings that could be summarized to the Editor at asianphotography@hampshire.edu.

Transcultural Pictures: Photography in NE Asia

Panel organizer and Chair: Dr. Ayelet Zohar, University of Haifa

When photography was first introduced, in its early years, to Northeast Asia, it was a young medium with limited history and theoretical thought, still in search of the constituting discourses and fundamental techniques that would eventually shape it. The early contributions of Japanese, Chinese and Korean photographers, each working out of their respective cultural experiences and aesthetic traditions, became part of the accumulating body of photographic imagery, hence developing photography as a true transcultural medium.

Focusing on cultural and social issues and cross-cultural tensions in the post-colonial context of China, Japan and Korea, the papers presented in this panel bring forward fresh views of photographic practices in Asia today. Issues discussed included representation of the influence of traditional art and conceptual approaches to photography; funerary images and familial lineage; militarism, war memory, death and political tension over the past decades. Important insights arise from the discussion of these topics - of general interest to many artists around the world – from within the specific framework of Northeast Asia


Aileen June Wang, PhD Department of Art, Pennsylvania State University

Yang Fudong’s Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest

My paper examines the photographs associated with the film Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest by Chinese contemporary artist Yang Fudong. Yang started as a photographer, and eventually expanded into film. Executed between 2003 and 2007, Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest is a series of five episodes, with a total running time of approximately four hours. It has been screened only twice in its complete form, first at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and recently at the Asia Society in New York City in 2009. For this reason, the photographs associated with the film have undoubtedly reached a wider audience than the film itself. These photographs, which appear in such publications as catalogues and review articles, highlight in a manner more emphatic than what can be seen in the film itself, the links that the artist forges between classical Chinese and modern concepts. In an ironic twist, Yang uses a medium introduced by the West to advance the principles of Chinese shan shui (mountain and water) painting. What he has achieved contributes significantly to the transformation of photography into a medium that transcends cultural affiliations.

Current critical discussions about the film revolve mainly around the significance of the subject. The legend of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove is based on a historical group of Daoist intellectuals from third-century China, who turned their backs on civil service and retreated to a bamboo grove, in an act of protest against the corruption of the current government. Instead, they engaged in intellectual discourse and created art for their own consumption. Yang’s film reinterprets the story by setting it in contemporary Shanghai and featuring young urbanites in designer-label attires.

What has not been noted is how the photographs derived from the film and, used for public distribution, spotlight Yang’s re-visit of the classical painting tradition through a Western-originated medium. The photographs make apparent Yang’s compositional preferences, such as expansive landscapes dotted with miniscule human figures, or lone figures appearing lost in a landscape, and lost in thought. Such compositions were actually developed in ink paintings by scholar-artists of the Song Dynasty (972-1276), especially those who retreated to the south, after northern China was invaded by foreign tribes. For this reason, shan shui paintings came to represent, in Chinese tradition, the ideal of the independent-minded intellectual and his life of solitude and scholarship in nature.

While classical landscapes invariably feature natural settings of mountains and water, Yang’s landscapes are sometimes urban, with trees replaced by skyscrapers, mountain cliffs replaced by rooftops. The photographs offer a complementary discourse to that presented by the film, focusing on Yang’s absorption and renewal of classical shan shui compositions. They demonstrate the full circle that Yang has made in acknowledging his artistic legacy, while forging a new path.

Aileen Wang’s research interests are in Chinese contemporary art and art of the Chinese diaspora. She currently teaches at Pennsylvania State University, Erie, Pennsylvania (U.S.) She arrived at her specialty by an interesting route. After receiving her Ph.D. in 2005 from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, with a dissertation on Italian Renaissance art, she worked as an art advisor for Christie’s Fine Art Auction House in New York. Charged with developing business in the Chinese market, Aileen began studying Chinese contemporary art, an area of interest to many of her clients. Since then, she has published in Yishu: The Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, and contributed entries on Chinese-American artists related to her research to the recently published Grove Dictionary of American Art by Oxford University Press. She has also co-curated exhibitions, including “How Chinese: Expanding the Discourse on Chinese Contemporary Art” at the Chinese American Arts Council in New York City, in 2009. Aileen worked with Ayelet Zohar and the Jerusalem Cinematheque to realize the Israeli premiere of the film Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, the subject of her paper today. The screening will take place this Saturday and Sunday at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. 

Oshrat Dotan, PhD Student Tel Aviv University

Things Seen by the Camera Alone

In the 1970s artists such as Suga Kishio, Enokura Kōji and Takamatsu Jirō recorded simple daily actions with their camera – small gestures that intervene within everyday life and create fragile situations in a specific time and a specific space. For the viewer, these photographs were documents of an occurrence that is now gone: a triangle traced with a stick on the ground, a hand extended forward projecting its shadow on the floor, a man laying on his side wrapping the base of a column with his body, a photograph of a photograph left on a table, and more. These photographs do not attempt to spontaneously capture everyday life or to record a specific person or thing. They are, rather, fabricated situations of intentional interventions within everyday life, which seek to turn the viewer’s attention to an encounter between things, phenomena and action in time and space. In contrast to these artists’ sculptures and installations, which sought to awaken a fresh new perception through an awareness of things and matter, these photographs, which are by definition records of past occurrences, emphasize the intervening action of the artist. The photographs reveal interrelations between things, actions and natural phenomena, express tension between people and things, and create situations that undermine the mere function of the photograph as mediator of reality. This paper shall examine the ways in which these artists utilized the “documenting” and “mediating” functions of the photograph in order to capture reality as it is – beyond the recorded object and free from the mediation of names and images.

Oshrat Dotan is a PhD candidate at Tel Aviv University writing her dissertation on aspects of vision and perception in the postwar Japanese art trend Mono-ha. In 2009 she received a Japan Foundation fellowship and conducted research in Tokyo under the supervision of Prof. Sawaragi Noi of Tama Art University. Between 2004 and 2007 Dotan studied at the Graduate School of Cultural Science at Saitama University as a Monbukagakusho Scholarship student, completing her MA on the postwar art group Gutai in 2007.

Masako Toda, PhD Candidate, Tokyo University

Exhibiting Family, Displaying Death: Funerary Images in Contemporary Japanese Photography

My presentation focuses on the practice of funeral photo-portraiture (i-ei) in Japan, and its interpretation by contemporary photographers. Although it is a widespread custom to display i-ei—a portrait photograph of the deceased—its origins are a mystery. Until the end of the Meiji period, the contemporary style of displaying i-ei was to hang the black-framed photograph tied with a black ribbon on the top of a coffin.

Although no photograph is an i-ei per se—since every photographic portrait can become i-ei—some people prepare a portrait for use as an i-ei in advance. However, at the point of preparation, the photo is no more than a simple portrait. A photo becomes i-ei only at the time of one’s death. Photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, also known as “Genius Araki,” had himself photographed while dangling his wife’s i-ei at her funeral. He hand-picked his favorite photograph of his wife Yoko as a young woman for her i-ei from a stack of her portraits. This fact shows that every portrait photograph, even when taken at the most lively moment, is shadowed by a mood of death. A photograph is essentially a foreshadowing of death even if it was taken at the very moment of one’s birth.

Masahisa Fukase’s series of photographs of family members show this mixed state of death and life. The family members were assembled periodically in front of the camera for photos, each holding a different position in the family. Slight but clear change can be seen each year, as one by one members disappear and appear over the course of time. Eventually the viewer realizes that everyone has been replaced in the end. This theatrical gesture of exhibiting family is an homage to i-ei practices as a vernacular way of photographing.

Hironao Kuratani instructs his sitters to meditate with their eyes closed before taking their photo at his i-ei photo studio in Myokayama in Niigata Prefecture. The photographer must promptly click the shutter as soon as the sitter opens his or her eyes. The sitter plays a central role in theatrical practices at the photo studio, both as a customer and an owner of his or her portrait. KURATANI tries to put himself in the tradition of vernacular photo studio practices in Japan.

In this presentation I will look at photographs by contemporary Japanese photographers in a different light, through their vernacular photographic practices. In doing so, vernacular qualities of contemporary Japanese photographers can be compared and contrasted with similar practices, particularly in East Asia.

Masako Toda earned a B.A. in journalism at Sophia University in 1999, and a master’s degree in literature at Tokyo University in 2006. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Cultural Resource Studies at Tokyo University and lectures at Musashino Art University and Tokyo College of Photography. She specializes in the history of Japanese photography in the modern age. The title of her in-progress doctoral dissertation is “A Study of the Modern Photography Movement in Japan During the Asian-Pacific War.” She was co-author of “101 people of Japanese photographers” published in 2008.

Ayelet Zohar, PhD History of Art dept. University of Haifa/ Van Leer Institute

Re-Staging the War: Morimura Yasumasa and the icons of WWII

Morimura Yasumasa (b. 1951, Osaka) is well known for his staging of famous female figures and mise-én-scenes taken from Western Art History and Hollywood cinema. From the 1980s onwards, Morimura has gradually grown from the critique of the art world (‘Portrait of the artist as Art History’), to repetitions of Hollywood spectacles (‘Sickness Unto Beauty: Actress’), to his current project (‘Requiem of the 20th c.’), which concentrates on political images. This shift into the political arena is concentrated on two remarkable shifts in Morimura’s practice: the representation of male images (versus his past impersonations of womanly roles), and his move to restage memorable icons of photojournalism and war photography.

This paper will explore these shifts in Morimura’s work, arguing that the current shift marks a change from a sense of desire and fantasy to an imagined sense of ‘documentary’ practice, working against the notion of truth in the photographic image through the impossible practice of ‘staged snapshots’.

Dr. Ayelet Zohar is an artist, curator and visual culture researcher. She is a lecturer at the department of Art History, University of Haifa. Prior to coming to Haifa, Zohar completed her postdoctoral research in Japanese Studies at Stanford University (2009), and earned her PhD from the Slade School of Fine Art, University of London (2007). Zohar is the editor of PostGender: Gender, Sexuality and Performativity in Japanese Culture (Cambridge Scholars Publication, 2009), a title published after her (curated) exhibition of work by Morimura Yasumasa and younger contemporary Japanese photography and video artists who work on issues of gender and sexuality This exhibition was held at Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art in Haifa, 2005. Other publications include articles in peer-reviewed journals on Japanese photography.

Jung Joon Lee, Ph.D. Candidate, Art History, CUNY Graduate Center

Photographing the Cold War in the Twenty-First Century

While many anticipated that the post-1989 era would no longer be under the shadow of the Cold War, the story has unfolded quite differently in North East Asia. In August 2010, two months after the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, the largest annual joint United States /South Korean military drills took place for 11 days. This military exercise was immediately met with a threat from North Korea and a denouncement from China. The political tension in the region has been further complicated by the heightened territorial disputes between Japan and China, South Korea and Japan, and Russia and Japan.

In this paper, I discuss the photographs of selected Korean photographers, such as Kim Sangdon and Lee Young Hoon, who have been exploring the meaning and influence of the Cold War in South Korea. Implicating the continuing tension of the Cold War in the region, the artists question what it means to live in the era of the so-called “global society” under the 38th Parallel, the inter-Korean border, which remains heavily fortified today. The impact of militarism in urban environments on collective identity has been central to their projects. The artists employ various conventions of photographic ‘styles’, while experimenting with how these different styles can still leave documentary effects. This paper will also discuss works that explore the ramifications of American military bases in South Korean cities, which are often neglected economically.

Jung Joon Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in the Art History Program at the Graduate Center, the City University of New York, and an adjunct lecturer of Art History at SUNY Purchase College, where she teaches History of Photography. She is a recipient of the 2010 Alexander Award for Research in Photography, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She was a fellow at the Center for Place, Culture & Politics at the Graduate Center in 2009 and 2010. Lee’s reviews and articles on topics such as photography and cultural politics appeared in various journals including Photography & Culture and Afterimage. She is currently completing her dissertation titled “Framing the Nation: Photographing Nation-Building, Resistance, and Democratization in Korea, 1945-2010.”

Visualizing Asia in the Modern World: A Conference on Image-Driven Scholarship

Jointly sponsored by MIT Visualizing Cultures and Harvard University’s Asia Center, Fairbanks Center for Chinese Studies, Korea Institute, the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, and Lee and Juliet Folger Fund.

May 20-21, 2011

About the Conference:

The Visualizing Cultures project at M.I.T. and the following programs at Harvard: Asia Center, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Korea Institute, and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies are pleased to announce an academic conference focused on the relationship between visual imagery and social change in modern Asia entitled, “Visualizing Asia in the Modern World.” This will be the second in a series of academic conferences devoted to "image-driven scholarship" and teaching about Asia in the modern world.

Conference Program:

Friday, May 20, 2011

9:15-10:45Panel: Photographing Asia


Title: China exposed: Hedda Hammer Morrison at Harvard University


Dr. Claire Roberts is a historian of Chinese art and a curator. She is currently a Co-ordinate Research Scholar at the Harvard-Yenching Institute, Harvard University (working on the Hedda Hammer Morrison archive), and a Research Fellow at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific at The Australian National University. She was a Research Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University 2009-2010 and Senior Curator of Asian arts at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney 1988-2010. Claire studied at the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute 1978-79 and the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing 1979-81. She has a Master of Arts from the University of Melbourne. Her PhD, undertaken at ANU, focused on the work of modern Chinese brush-and-ink painter Huang Binhong (1865-1955). Claire has published widely on Asian art and curated numerous exhibitions. Her most recent publications are Friendship in Art: Fou Lei and Huang Binhong (2010), Other Histories: Guan Wei’s Fable for a Contemporary World (2008) and The Great Wall of China (2006). Her forthcoming book is titled Photography and China.

Title: Cameras on Camel: Owen Lattimore’s Photography and the Inner Asian Frontier


Sakura Christmas is a second-year doctoral student in the History Department at Harvard University. Her research interests lie in the peripheral and local histories of Manchuria and Mongolia from the late Qing empire to the Cold War. She is writing her dissertation on the changing conception of land through agriculture and scientific expeditions in Inner Mongolia during the Japanese occupation. Presently Sakura is organizing an exhibition for Harvard's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology on photographs of the “Fishskin Tartars” taken by Owen Lattimore in 1930s Manchuria.

Title: Discover Indochina with a civil servant: the photographs of Firmin-André Salles


Aurelie Champ completed a master degree in Art History at the Ecole du Louvre (Paris, France) and at Sorbonne University. In October 2009, she obtained a grant from the Bibliothèque nationale de France (French National Library), where she is currently doing research for a PhD dedicated to the collection of South-East Asian photography. She also gained a grant from the Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient for a research program in the National Archives of Viet-Nam in Hanoi. In 2010, she was selected to make a presentation by Concordia University in Montreal (Travelling Photographies conference) and by National University of Singapore (21st conference of the International Association of Historians of Asia).

Friday, May 20

11:15-12:45 Panel: Bodies/Oppression/Protest


Title: Sumo Bodies in the Modern World


R. Kenji Tierney is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Skidmore College. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from UC Berkeley. His research and teaching interests include historical anthropology, space and place, modernity, the global and the local, transnationalism, nationalism, ethnicity, identity, gift exchange, consumption, food, the body, sports, Japan and East Asia. His publications include Multiculturalism in the New Japan: Crossing the Boundaries Within, edited with Nelson Graburn and John Ertl.

Title: Mingfeng’s Tale: Slavery and Servitude in Revolutionary China


Kristin Stapleton is Director of Asian Studies and Associate Professor of History at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, and serves on the executive board of the New York Conference on Asian Studies. In spring 2010 she became the first director of the Confucius Institute at the University at Buffalo. She has degrees in Asian Studies and History from the University of Michigan and Harvard, and has studied in Taiwan and in Sichuan. She teaches Chinese history, Asian history, and world history, and is a frequent presenter at teacher workshops. Her research interests include urban politics and administration, the history of Chinese family life, humor in history, the place of non-U.S. history in American intellectual life. She is the author of Civilizing Chengdu: Chinese Urban Reform, 1895-1937 (Harvard Asia Center, 2000) and co-editor of The Human Tradition in Modern China (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007). Her presentation at this conference is part of her current major project, titled “Turbulent Stream: Family, City, and Revolution in Ba Jin’s Trilogy.”

Title: Visualizing Paradise and the Sea of Sorrow


Wendy Kozol is professor of Comparative American Studies at Oberlin College.  Her research and teaching interests are on American visual culture, U.S. militarism, human rights discourse, and transnational feminisms.  She is the author of Life’s America: Family and Nation in Postwar Photojournalism (1994) and has co-edited two anthologies (with Wendy Hesford): Haunting Violations: Feminist Criticism and the Crisis of the ‘Real’ (2001) and Just Advocacy: Women's Human Rights, Transnational Feminism and the Politics of Representation (2005).  

Ann Sherif teaches Japanese literature, film, and language at Oberlin College near Cleveland Ohio. Her recent publications include Japan's Cold War: Literature, Media and the Law in Postwar Japan (Columbia University Press, 2009). Her current research focuses on literary writers and publishers involved in social activism in Japan from 1917 through the 1980s.

Friday, May 20

2:30-4:00 Panel: Visualizing Seoul and Colonial Korea (Part I)


Title: Consuming Colonial Seoul: Department Stores and Competing Modernities


Jina E. Kim is Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies at Smith College. Her research focuses on the cultural history of early-20th-century East Asia with primary concentrations in Korean and global modernisms, urban history, culture and literature, comparative colonialism and post-colonialism, in particular between Korea and Taiwan and East Asia and Latin America. Her other research interests include material and popular culture from the late 19th century to the present, Korean diaspora, visual studies (especially early 20th century Korean film and photography), and gender and sexuality. She is currently completing a book manuscript tentatively titled "Urban Modernity in Colonial Korea and Taiwan".

Title: Honmachi and Choongno: Cosmopolitan Membrance, Colonial Space, and Linguistic Difference


Se-Mi Oh received her Ph.D. from Columbia University and was Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University before joining New York University as Assistant Professor Faculty Fellow.  She will start as Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in Fall 2011.  Her research interest is on Colonial Seoul, and she is currently working on her book manuscript entitled Seoul Streets: Surface Maters and Speech Matters.

Title: Moving Pictures-Postcards of Colonial Korea


Dr. Hyung-Gu Lynn is the AECL/KEPCO Chair in Korean Research at the Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia. He is also the editor of the journal Pacific Affairs. His research covers a range of issues related to visual culture, political economy, and migration in pre-1945 Korea and Japan, and contemporary South Korea, North Korea, and Japan. 

Friday, May 20

4:15-5:15Panel: Visualizing Seoul and Colonial Korea (Part II)


Title: Colonial Seoul: Space, Alterity and Empire from 1910-45


Ellie Choi is Assistant Professor of Modern Korean Literature and Intellectual History at Cornell University. Her book manuscript, Space and National Identity: Yi Kwangsu's Vision of Korea during the Japanese Empire, explores the relationships among space, cultural nationalism and historical identity. Professor Choi's current research interests include the Seoul city, the Diamond Mountains, visual culture, colonial tourism, and collaboration. She is a founding member of the Seoul Studies Colloquium.

Title: The Changes of Urban Structure and Architecture of Seoul Since 1876


Baek Yung Kim (kimby@kw.ac.kr) is an assistant professor at Kwangwoon University in Seoul, where he teaches modern Korean history and sociology. His research interests include issues of urbanism, colonialism and cultural politics in modern East Asian history. His current research project focuses on the railway imperialism and colonial tourism in Japanese empire.

Saturday, May 21

9:00-11:00Panel: Visualizing Japan’s Empire


Title: Pu Yi and State Shinto in Manchukuo


Helen Hardacre came to Harvard in 1992 as Reischauer Institute Professor of Japanese Religions and Society. Her publications include The Religion of Japan's Korean Minority (1984), Lay Buddhism in Contemporary Japan: Reiyukai Kyodan (1984), Kurozumikyo and the New Religions of Japan (1986), Shinto and the State, 1868-1988 (1989), Marketing the Menacing Fetus in Japan (1997), which won the Arisawa Hiromichi Prize, and Religion and Society in Nineteenth-Century Japan: A Study of the Southern Kanto Region, Using Late Edo and Early Meiji Gazetteers (2002). Her current research centers on a history of Shinto.

Title: Phantasmagoric Manchukuo: Documentaries Produced by the South Manchurian Railway Company, 1932-1942


Jie Li teaches East Asian Cinema as a College Fellow at Harvard University.  Her research interests focus on cultural memories of the Maoist Era, Manchurian cinema under Japanese colonization, and contemporary East Asian documentaries.  Her article on documentaries made by the South Manchurian Railway Company is forthcoming in *positions: east asia cultures critique*.  Her articles on Chinese cinema and culture have appeared in journals such as *Public Culture*, *Modern Chinese Literature and Culture*, *China Perspectives*, and *Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media*.  She has also made documentary films in China and Cameroon.

Title: The Empires of Japan: Colonial Postcards as Sources of History


Paul Barclay teaches East Asian and World history at Lafayette College.  His book-length study of Taiwan Indigenous People-Japanese relations in colonial Taiwan is in the revision stages.  Sections of this project have appeared as articles in the Journal of Asian Studies, Japanese Studies, and Social Science Japan Journal.  Barclay is currently researching visual propaganda and picture postcards in the Japanese empire.  He is the general editor of the digital archive "East Asia Image Collection," hosted at Skillman Library, Lafayette College.

Title: Embedded Massages: Wartime Images in Colonial Taiwan


Chinghsin Wu is currently a curatorial research associate in Japanese art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She received her Ph.D. in Japanese Art History from UCLA in December, 2010, and also has an MA in Taiwanese and Chinese Art from National Taiwan University. Her dissertation used the artworks of a Japanese avant-garde painter, Koga Harue, as a lens to examine the reception of Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism in 1920s and 1930s Japan. Chinghsin's research focuses on modern art in Japan and East Asia, and her current research interests include the localization of avant-garde art movements, images of the machine, interactions between Buddhist art and modernity, images of empire and colonies, and the practice of art during wartime.

Saturday, May 21

11:30-12:30Panel: Visualizing and Marketing China


Title: Visual Images, Imperial Subjectivity, and Intercultural Politics in the Nineteenth Century


Li Chen received his Ph.D. in Chinese history from Columbia University and is a Assistant Professor of History at the University of Toronto. His research interests include late imperial and modern Chinese history, Chinese law and society, and cultural history of empire and Sino-Western encounter. He has published various articles on those topics and is finishing up a book tentatively entitled "Law and Sensibility of Empire in the Making of Sino-Western Relations, 1730-1850."

Title: Advertisement as Transcultural Negotiation: China in the 19th Century American Trade Card


Lenore Metrick-Chen is Associate Professor of Art History at Drake University. Her work explores visual art as a language of cultural communication, seen in her articles and book chapters such as “Andy Goldsworthy’s Art as a Visual Measure” in (Im)permanence: Cultures in/out of Time (2008), and in exhibitions such as “Cultural Intersections in the Colonial Period: Africa, China, France, Japan and the United States” (2010). Much of her research concentrates on transnational political and cultural relationships between the United States and China, most recently in Collecting Objects/Excluding People: Chinese Subjects and the American Visual Culture 1870-1900, upcoming from SUNY Press. The 19th century relationships between China and the United States provide the foundation for Metrick-Chen’s investigation of contemporary Chinese and American art and cultural exchange.

Saturday, May 21

2:00-3:00 Panel: Japanese Visions of Self and Other (Part I)


Title: Kiyochika: Master of the Night


James Ulak, Ph.D., is Senior Curator of Japanese Art for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. A specialist in the history of Japanese narrative painting, he is currently engaged in research on  Japanese 18th century individualist painters  as well as exploring  topics related to Japan’s artistic encounters with modernity in the late 19th and early 20th century.  He has contributed to the production of numerous fine arts exhibitions.


François Lachaud (b.1967) is professor of Japanese Studies at the École française d’Extrême-Orient (French School of East Asian Studies/EFEO) and at the Department of Religious Studies (Section des sciences religieuses) of the École pratique des hautes études in Paris. He studies religious and artistic history in early modern and modern Japan. His research deals with Buddhism and the shaping of Japanese aesthetics, and with Edo art history, notably ukiyo-e, literati painting, Zen painting, and tea ceremonies. He has also published on the uses and functions of Sino-Japanese in Japanese society and on intercultural exchanges between Japan, China and the West.

Recent publications: Le Vieil Homme qui vendait du thé: excentricité et retrait du monde dans le Japon du xviiie siècle (The Old Man Who Sold Tea. Eccentricity and Seclusion in Eighteenth Century Japan), Paris: Cerf, 2010. Empires éloignés: L’Europe et le Japon xvie-xixe siècle. Distant Empires. Europe and Japan (16th-19th Centuries), Paris: EFEO, 2010.


Xiaojin Wu is an assistant curator of Asian art at the Princeton University Art Museum, where she has organized several installations and exhibitions, including Nature Unbound: Flora and Fauna in Chinese, Japanese and Korean Art. Prior to that, she was a Getty Fellow at the Asia Society Museum, and a Smithsonian Fellow at the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art. She recently completed her dissertation titled “Metamorphosis of Form and Meaning: Ink Bird-and-flower Screens in Muromachi Japan.” Her upcoming exhibition in October 2011—Multiple Hands: Collective Creativity in Eighteenth-Century Japanese Painting—examines the art-making process of collective creativity, shedding light upon the workshop and collaborative painting practices in eighteenth-century Japan. She was a contributing author for the catalogue of the exhibition, Awakenings: Medieval Zen Figural Painting from Japan, held at the Japan Society in the spring of 2007.


Lee Glazer is associate curator of American Art at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, where her recent exhibitions include The Peacock Room Comes to America; Chinamania: Whistler and the Victorian Craze for Blue-and-White; Surface Beauty: American Art and Freer’s Aesthetic Vision; Seascapes: Tryon & Sugimoto; Winslow Homer: Four Views of Nature; and The Texture of Night: James McNeill Whistler. She holds a Ph.D. in the history of art from the University of Pennsylvania and is a specialist in turn-of-the-century American painting, with a particular interest in cross-cultural interchange and cosmopolitanism. Glazer has lectured and published on a wide range of art historical topics, including 19th-century popular illustration and song, Romare Bearden, and Whistler and American aestheticism. Recently, she was the lead editor for the multi-author volume James McNeill Whistler in Context (2008) and served as an advisor to the Third Mind exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. She is currently collaborating with Wayne State University on The Story of the Beautiful, an interactive web resource on Freer, Whistler, and their cross-cultural points of contact.

Saturday, May 21

3:15-4:15 Panel: Japanese Visions of Self and Other (Part II)


Title: Infanticide Images and the New Boundaries of Humanity in Nineteenth-Century Japan


"Fabian Drixler received his PhD at Harvard in 2008 and teaches Japanese history at Yale. His first book manuscript reconstructs Eastern Japan's culture of widespread infanticide and its gradual eradication over three three centuries. In his second project, he investigates Japan's escape from famine between the late Tokugawa and the late Meiji period."

Title: Imagining China for the Popular Reader in Early Nineteenth-Century Japan: the Case of Morokoshi Meishō Zue


Robert Goree specializes in early modern Japanese culture and literature.  His research is primarily concerned with the relationship between cultural geography and commercial publishing.  Dr. Goree's current book project, Placing the Past, explores the social significance, economic circumstances, and historiographical dimensions of illustrated gazetteers produced during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  His research and teaching interests range from Japanese advertising and photography to Kabuki and the world history of haiku.  Dr. Goree completed his graduate work in Yale University's Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, where he earned a Ph.D. in the spring of 2010.  He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University's Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, and next year will begin teaching in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University as an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow.