Christina M. Spiker

Christina M. Spiker

Art Historian | Professor | Digital Humanist

A LITTLE ABOUT ME

Hello. I aman art historian.a professor.a digital humanist.a coffee aficionado.a critical thinker.a designer.

I live and work in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I research modern and contemporary
Japanese art and visual culture.

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AT A GLANCE

RESEARCH

I research modern Japanese art and visual culture. There are two main intellectual issues that I tackle in my work: (1) racial marginalization in and through visual culture and (2) the relationship between image and text.

TEACHING

I teach a wide range of courses from surveys in Western Art to specialized topics in Asian Art such as Buddhist Art & Architecture and Global Japan: Art, Anime, & Visual Culture.

DIGITAL

I further digital approaches and methods in both my teaching and scholarship. I have extensive training as a graphic designer and interest in using Global Information Systems (GIS) in Art History.

OUTREACH

Art history and visual culture are especially relevant in today’s world. I am invested in open-source practices and I write to reach out to audiences in and outside of academia.

FACTS & FIGURES

6 PUBLICATIONS

18 PRESENTATIONS

19 AWARDS, GRANTS, FELLOWSHIPS

554 STUDENTS TAUGHT

CURRENT & ONGOING PROJECTS

Illustration of an Ainu woman. Here she wears a a matanpushi (embroidered headband), ninkari (earrings), and a tamasay (necklace).

Representations of race are a key element that I explore in my research. In my doctoral dissertation, I investigate the visual encounters between the indigenous Ainu in northern Japan and Euro-American/Japanese tourists, artists, and anthropologists at the turn-of-the-twentieth century. My research pays close attention to the reproduction and circulation of visual culture in media such as postcards, illustrations, and newspapers in order to examine how diverse visual examples worked together to solidify an indigenous stereotype. I also explore how Ainu communities responded to these same images in their own illustration.

I am currently working on a book proposal that expands the audience and scope of my original dissertation by analyzing Ainu representation alongside similar visual practices with regards to groups like the Maori in New Zealand, the Inuit in North America, and Aborigines in Taiwan.

Isabella Bird not only visited Japan in 1878, but traveled the world. See the Mapping Isabella Bird project to view more about her journeys.

I am interested in the relationship between art and travel. British explorer and naturalist Isabella Lucy Bird (1831-1904) traveled to Japan in 1878. Her trip touches on several issues important to me: the exploration of Hokkaido, the representation of indigenous cultures, the reuse of Japanese photographs in the publishing industry, and the role of Western women in teaching Asian culture to people back home. I wrote about Bird in the first chapter of my dissertation, and this research forms the basis of my essay “Civilized’ Men and ‘Superstitious’ Women: Visualizing the Hokkaido Ainu in Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks, 1880” in Gender, Continuity, and the Shaping of Modernity in the Arts of East Asia, 16th–20th Centuries (Brill, 2017).

I am the creator and webmaster of the Mapping Isabella Bird project released in 2018, which is dedicated to the research of her travelogue Unbeaten Tracks in Japan (1880). This website is meant as an educator and student resource on Bird’s journey. It features biographical information, interactive maps, and annotated illustrations that reflect my own research into her source imagery. The website also explores the past and present representation of the Ainu in the Saru River valley. The next step in this project is the creation and solicitation of sample assignments for courses in history, Japanese studies, art history, and geography.

Illustration of The Smiling Book, 1896. Currently located in the Evelyn Goodrow Mitsch collection, Archives and Special Collections, St. Catherine University.

There is global value in local objects. Recently, I have been researching a small crepe-paper book (chirimen-bon) quaintly titled The Smiling Book (1897) found inside the St. Catherine University Special Collections. The book was made in in Meiji Japan by publisher Hasegawa Takejiro for a Western audience. It combines the fabric-like texture of crepe, Japanese woodblock prints, and fragments from poems in both Japanese and English into a rich interdisciplinary object. The work can be used to unlock the complicated role of women in the production, consumption, and collection of Meiji visual culture.

I presented my preliminary research at the Art Historians of the Twin Cities Symposium in 2017, and I am currently in the process of writing an article about The Smiling Book. I use this unique object as a key to unlock surprising global and local connections between Tokyo and a Minnesota artist by the name of Evelyn Goodrow Mitsch.

Illustration of an XBox controller, my console of choice.

Our study of “art history” need not stop at fine art. My interest in applying art historical methods to video games stems largely from the interests of my students at St. Catherine University, St. Olaf College, and UC Irvine. I believe the methodology of art history gives us the opportunity to ask new questions of contemporary objects in comparison to more historical counterparts. Students can recognize the unique qualities of video games while integrating them into a more complete understanding of visual culture. This research unites my teaching and my training by bridging art history, media studies, and visual studies.

I am broadly concerned with race and gender representation in games and how it connects to larger trends in visual culture. I have presented nationally at interdisciplinary conferences like the Popular Culture Association, Mechademia, and Console-ing Passions on gender in arcade fighting games. Thus far, I have focused on specific characters including the Ainu princess Nakoruru from Samurai Spirits (Samurai Shodown) and Chun-Li of Street Fighter II fame. More recently, I have begun investigating how the integration of historical Asian architecture in fantasy massively multiplayer online RPGs (MMORPGs) cultivates neo-Orientalist exoticism in contemporary virtual spaces.

MY WORKS

Essay // The Texture of Crepe: The Role of Women in the Creation and Consumption of Japanese Crepe-Paper Books (<em>chirimen-bon</em>) (In Preparation)

Essay // The Texture of Crepe: The Role of Women in the Creation and Consumption of Japanese Crepe-Paper Books (chirimen-bon) (In Preparation)

Website // Mapping Isabella Bird (Scalar 2)

Website // Mapping Isabella Bird (Scalar 2)

Course // All Art is Propaganda: Visual and Scientific Perspectives on Persuasion (St. Catherine University)

Course // All Art is Propaganda: Visual and Scientific Perspectives on Persuasion (St. Catherine University)

Course // The Reflective Woman (St. Catherine University)

Course // The Reflective Woman (St. Catherine University)

Presentation // Vaguely Oriental: Engineering Asian Architecture in Fantasy MMORPGs

Presentation // Vaguely Oriental: Engineering Asian Architecture in Fantasy MMORPGs

Course // Buddhist Art & Architecture (St. Catherine University)

Course // Buddhist Art & Architecture (St. Catherine University)

Course // Art History: Ancient through Medieval (St. Catherine University)

Course // Art History: Ancient through Medieval (St. Catherine University)

Website Redesign // Art History That (WordPress)

Website Redesign // Art History That (WordPress)

Presentation // Reproducing Alterity: Photography, Illustration, and the Maintenance of Ainu Stereotypes in Meiji and Taisho Japan

Presentation // Reproducing Alterity: Photography, Illustration, and the Maintenance of Ainu Stereotypes in Meiji and Taisho Japan

Book Chapter // “Civilized” Men and “Superstitious” Women: Visualizing the Hokkaido Ainu in Isabella Bird’s <em>Unbeaten Tracks</em>, 1880

Book Chapter // “Civilized” Men and “Superstitious” Women: Visualizing the Hokkaido Ainu in Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks, 1880

Guest Blog // What’s Your Sutori? Interactive Study Guides and Active Note-Taking

Guest Blog // What’s Your Sutori? Interactive Study Guides and Active Note-Taking

Website // Tracing Lines (WordPress)

Website // Tracing Lines (WordPress)

Essay // Should You Pull?: Gachapon, Risk, and Reward in Mobile Gaming

Essay // Should You Pull?: Gachapon, Risk, and Reward in Mobile Gaming

Course // Art History: Renaissance through Modern (St. Catherine University)

Course // Art History: Renaissance through Modern (St. Catherine University)

Course // Ways of Seeing (St. Catherine University)

Course // Ways of Seeing (St. Catherine University)

Presentation // Chun-Li’s Qipao: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Fashion in Capcom’s <em>Street Fighter II</em>

Presentation // Chun-Li’s Qipao: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Fashion in Capcom’s Street Fighter II

Presentation // The Texture of Crepe: Western Women and the Connoisseurship of Japanese Crepe Paper Books (<em>chirimen-bon</em>)

Presentation // The Texture of Crepe: Western Women and the Connoisseurship of Japanese Crepe Paper Books (chirimen-bon)

Guest Blog // Navigating Space and Place: Digital Cartography in the Classroom

Guest Blog // Navigating Space and Place: Digital Cartography in the Classroom

Presentation // Mapping the Northern Frontier: Geo-Spatial Visualization and the Exploration of Indigenous Culture in Japan

Presentation // Mapping the Northern Frontier: Geo-Spatial Visualization and the Exploration of Indigenous Culture in Japan

Course // Global Japan: Art, Anime, & Visual Culture (St. Catherine University)

Course // Global Japan: Art, Anime, & Visual Culture (St. Catherine University)

Presentation // Fighting Stereotypes: Reimagining Gender and Race in <em>Street Fighter II</em> (1991) and <em>Samurai Shodown </em>(1993)

Presentation // Fighting Stereotypes: Reimagining Gender and Race in Street Fighter II (1991) and Samurai Shodown (1993)

Presentation // Recasting the Indigenous: Virtual Ainu Ambassadors in Japan’s <em>Samurai Spirits</em>, 1993-2008

Presentation // Recasting the Indigenous: Virtual Ainu Ambassadors in Japan’s Samurai Spirits, 1993-2008

Digital // Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s <em>Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre</em> (StoryMapJS)

Digital // Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre (StoryMapJS)

Presentation // Touring the Indigenous Village: Kondō Kōichiro’s Ainu Illustrations, 1917

Presentation // Touring the Indigenous Village: Kondō Kōichiro’s Ainu Illustrations, 1917

Course // History of Photography (St. Olaf College)

Course // History of Photography (St. Olaf College)

Course // Arts of Japan (St. Olaf College)

Course // Arts of Japan (St. Olaf College)

Digital // Utagawa Hiroshige’s Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō (StoryMapJS)

Digital // Utagawa Hiroshige’s Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō (StoryMapJS)

Course // Visual Culture in Modern Japan (St. Olaf College)

Course // Visual Culture in Modern Japan (St. Olaf College)

Translation // Takashina Erika’s “Sea of Hybridization: In Dispute over Urashima” from <i>The Sea Beyond</i>“

Translation // Takashina Erika’s “Sea of Hybridization: In Dispute over Urashima” from The Sea Beyond

Course // Japanese Civilization (St. Olaf College)

Course // Japanese Civilization (St. Olaf College)

Dissertation // Ainu Fever: Indigenous Representation in a Transnational Visual Economy, 1868–1933

Dissertation // Ainu Fever: Indigenous Representation in a Transnational Visual Economy, 1868–1933

Course // History of World Architecture (St. Olaf College)

Course // History of World Architecture (St. Olaf College)

Digital // Traveling Hokkaido (ArcGIS)

Digital // Traveling Hokkaido (ArcGIS)

Presentation // Constructing the Indigenous: Nineteenth-Century Circulation and Transformation of the Ainu

Presentation // Constructing the Indigenous: Nineteenth-Century Circulation and Transformation of the Ainu

Presentation // An Itinerary of Hokkaido: Photo Postcards, Tourism, and Erasing the Indigenous Body

Presentation // An Itinerary of Hokkaido: Photo Postcards, Tourism, and Erasing the Indigenous Body

Website // Christina M. Spiker | Art Historian | Professor | Digital Humanist (WordPress)

Website // Christina M. Spiker | Art Historian | Professor | Digital Humanist (WordPress)

Presentation // Untangling a “Hairy” Encounter: Ainu Representation at the World’s Fair

Presentation // Untangling a “Hairy” Encounter: Ainu Representation at the World’s Fair

Presentation // Discovering Hokkaido: Postcards, Train Travel, and the Mapping of Tourist Space

Presentation // Discovering Hokkaido: Postcards, Train Travel, and the Mapping of Tourist Space

Course // Godzilla to Hello Kitty: Japanese Popular Culture (UC Irvine)

Course // Godzilla to Hello Kitty: Japanese Popular Culture (UC Irvine)

Presentation // Exploring the <em>Real</em> Hokkaido: A.H. Savage Landor’s Travel Illustrations, 1893

Presentation // Exploring the Real Hokkaido: A.H. Savage Landor’s Travel Illustrations, 1893

Pechakucha // “When My Clothes Came to an End I Did Without Them”: Going Native in Hokkaido, Japan

Pechakucha // “When My Clothes Came to an End I Did Without Them”: Going Native in Hokkaido, Japan

Presentation // The Ainu Moses: Arnold Genthe’s 1908 Ainu Photography

Presentation // The Ainu Moses: Arnold Genthe’s 1908 Ainu Photography

Presentation // Tamoto Kenzō’s Hokkaido: Power in Studio and Documentary Photography

Presentation // Tamoto Kenzō’s Hokkaido: Power in Studio and Documentary Photography

Course // Buddhist Art & Architecture (UC Irvine)

Course // Buddhist Art & Architecture (UC Irvine)

Essay // At the Limits of Visibility: Noritaka Minami’s <i>Past Won’t Pass (Catalog #52)</i>

Essay // At the Limits of Visibility: Noritaka Minami’s Past Won’t Pass (Catalog #52)

Teaching Assistant // Art History, Film & Media Studies, Asian American Studies (UC Irvine)

Teaching Assistant // Art History, Film & Media Studies, Asian American Studies (UC Irvine)

LET’S GET IN TOUCH

cmspiker@stkate.edu

1.651.690.6233 (office)

Visual Arts Building, F-20, St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave, St. Paul, MN 55105

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EDUCATION HISTORY

2015

Ph.D. Visual Studies

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE

Dissertation: Ainu Fever: Indigenous Representation in a Transnational Visual Economy, 1868-1933

2010

M.A. Visual Studies

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE

Qualifying Paper: Creating an Origin, Preserving a Past: Arnold Genthe’s 1908 Ainu Photography

2007

B.A. East Asian Studies w/ Honors, minor in Japanese

URSINUS COLLEGE

Honors Thesis: Carnivals of Abjection in Contemporary Japanese Art: Aida Makoto & Murakami Takashi

WORK HISTORY

2016

Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History

ST. CATHERINE UNIVERSITY

A three-year visiting position. I teach courses in Art History including Art History: Ancient through Medieval, Art History: Renaissance through Modern, and Ways of Seeing (Visual Culture). I also teach topics courses on Asian Art, such as Buddhist Art & Architecture and Global Japan: Art, Anime, & Visual Culture. Class sizes average 15-25.

2015

Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History

ST. OLAF COLLEGE

A one-year visiting position. I taught courses in Art History, Asian Studies, and History including History of Photography, History of World Architecture, Arts of Japan, Modern Japanese Visual Culture, and Japanese Civilization. Class sizes averaged 16-30.

2013

Teaching Assistant and Associate (Instructor of Record)

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE

Summer instructor and teaching assistant. Taught Buddhist Art & Architecture (25 students) and Godzilla to Hello Kitty: Japanese Popular Culture (60 students). As a TA, taught two discussion sections each each quarter across Art History, Film & Media Studies, and Asian American Studies.

LANGUAGES

Japanese

Spanish

German

DOWNLOAD MY CV

You can download my full CV in pdf format.

DOWNLOAD CV

PUBLICATIONS

“‘Civilized’ Men and ‘Superstitious’ Women: Visualizing the Hokkaido Ainu in Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks, 1880.” In Gender, Continuity, and the Shaping of Modernity in the Arts of East Asia, 16th–20th Centuries, edited by Lara Blanchard and Kristen Chiem, 287-315. Leiden: Brill, 2017.
Takashina, Erika. Sea of Hybridization: In Dispute over Urashima” from The Sea Beyond: Hōsui, Seiki, Tenshin, and the West. Translated by Christina M. Spiker. Review of Japanese Culture and Society 26:1 (2014), 80-103.

FELLOWSHIPS, AWARDS, GRANTS

2014-2015 Chancellor’s Club Fund for Excellence Fellowship, UC Irvine

2013-2014 Advanced Graduate Research Fellowship, Pacific Rim Research Program, University of California

2013 Spencer Baird Resident Scholar Program, Smithsonian Institution Libraries

2013 Summer Dissertation Fellowship, School of Humanities, UC Irvine

2010 Irvine Museum Summer Fellowship, UC Irvine

2008-2009 UC Regents Fellowship, UC Irvine

2017-2018 Annual Faculty Award for Research and Creative Work, Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women, St. Catherine University

2011-2012 Outstanding Essay in Visual Studies Award, UC Irvine

2011-2012 Robyn Shikiya Memorial Graduate Award, UC Irvine

2010-2011 Chino Kaori Memorial Essay Prize, Japan Art History Forum

2010-2011 Outstanding Teaching Assistant in Art History Award, UC Irvine

2009-2010 Robyn Shikiya Memorial Graduate Award, UC Irvine

2018-2019 Travel Award, Academic Professional Development Committee, St. Catherine University

2017 Curriculum Development Grant (w/ Gabrielle Filip-Crawford), Academic Professional Development Committee, St. Catherine University

2017 Peter Rollins Travel Grant, Popular Culture Association

2014 Graduate Student Research & Travel Grant, Graduate Division, UC Irvine

2012 Humanities Collective Research Grant, UC Irvine

2011 Center for Asian Studies Research Grant, UC Irvine

2011 International Center for Writing and Translation Travel Grant, UC Irvine

PRESENTATIONS

2019

The White Native Body in Asia: Woodcut Engraving and the Creation of Ainu Stereotypes,” paper to be delivered on the “Coloring Print: Reproducing Race Through Material, Process, and Language” panel at the annual College Art Association (CAA) Conference (February 13-16, 2019)

2018

The Shôjo and the Indigenous Body: Representations of Ainu Woman in Japan’s Samurai Spirits, 1993-2008,” paper to be delivered on the “The Shôjo Body as Indigenous, Ubiquitous, Balletic and Beautiful” panel at the 67th Annual Midwest Conference for Asian Affairs (MCAA), Metropolitan State University (October 19-20, 2018)

Vaguely Oriental: Engineering Asian Architecture in Fantasy MMORPGs,” paper delivered at the 48th Annual Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) Conference, Indianapolis (March 28-31, 2018)

Reproducing Alterity: Photography, Illustration, and the Maintenance of Ainu Stereotypes in Meiji and Taisho Japan,” paper delivered on the “Optics: Race, Religion, and Technology in East Asian Visual Culture, 1868-1949” panel at the American Historical Association (AHA) Conference, Washington D.C. (January 4-7, 2018)

2017

Chun-Li’s Qipao6: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Fashion in Capcom’s Street Fighter II,” paper delivered at the 47th Annual Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) Conference, San Diego (April 12-15, 2017)

The Texture of Crepe: Western Women and the Connoisseurship of Japanese Crepe Paper Books (chirimen-bon),” paper delivered at the second annual Art Historians of the Twin Cities Symposium, Minneapolis College of Art and Design (April 1, 2017)

Mapping the Northern Frontier: Geo-Spatial Visualization and the Exploration of Indigenous Culture in Japan,” lightning paper delivered at the Global Digital Humanities Symposium, Michigan State University (March 16-17, 2017)

2016

Fighting Stereotypes: Reimagining Gender and Race in Street Fighter II (1991) and Samurai Shodown (1993),” paper delivered at the SGMS/Mechademia Conference on Asian Popular Culture, Minneapolis College of Art and Design (September 23-25, 2016)

“Recasting the Indigenous: Virtual Ainu Ambassadors in Japan’s Samurai Spirits, 1993–2008,” paper delivered at the Console-ing Passions: International Conference on Television, Video, New Media, and Feminism, University of Notre Dame (June 16-18, 2016)

“Touring the Indigenous Village: Kondō Kōichiro’s Ainu Illustrations, 1917,” paper delivered at the first annual Art Historians of the Twin Cities Symposium, St. Catherine University (April 2, 2016)

2014

“Constructing the Indigenous: Nineteenth-Century Circulation and Transformation of the Ainu Image in British and American Print Culture,” paper delivered at the Nineteenth Century Workshop (Theme: Circulation), Rutgers University. (October 2, 2014)

An Itinerary of Hokkaido: Photo Postcards, Tourism, and Erasing the Indigenous Body,” paper delivered at the Eighteenth Asian Studies Conference Japan (ASCJ), Sophia University, Tokyo. (June 21, 2014)

2013

Untangling a ‘Hairy’ Encounter: Ainu Representation at the World’s Fair,” invited paper delivered at the Isamu Noguchi & Qi Baishi: And Other Inspiring Encounters In and Beyond Modern Asian Art Symposium, University of Michigan Museum of Art. (May 18, 2013)

Discovering Hokkaido: Postcards, Train Travel, and the Mapping of Tourist Space,” paper delivered at the Nature of Space, Visual Arts Graduate Student Conference, UC San Diego. (March 9, 2013)

2012

Exploring the Real Hokkaido: A.H. Savage Landor’s Travel Illustrations, 1893,” paper delivered at Rethinking the Space and Place of Japan: Japanese Art and Globalizations Conference, UCLA (April 7, 2012)

“’When My Clothes Came to an End I Did Without Them: Going Native in Hokkaido, Japan” Pechakucha paper delivered at the Constructing Worlds: Making and Breaking Order, Visual Studies Graduate Student Conference, UC Irvine (April 5, 2012)

The Ainu Moses: Arnold Genthe’s 1908 Ainu Photography,” paper delivered at the Japan Art History Forum graduate panel, College Arts Association, Los Angeles (February 24, 2012)

2011

Tamoto Kenzō’s Hokkaido: Power in Studio and Documentary Photography,” paper delivered at Center for Asian Studies Graduate Student Forum, UC Irvine (October 27, 2011)

TEACHING

Buddhist Art and Architecture, Art and Art History, St. Catherine University (Spring 2018)

Global Japan: Art, Anime and Visual Culture, Art and Art History, St. Catherine University (Spring 2017)

Arts of Japan, Art and Art History/Asian Studies, St. Olaf College (Spring 2016)

Visual Culture in Modern Japan, Art and Art History, St. Olaf College (Spring 2016)

Godzilla to Hello Kitty: Japanese Popular Culture, Art History/Film & Media Studies, UC Irvine (Summer 2013)

Buddhist Art and Architecture, Art History/Religious Studies, UC Irvine (Summer 2012)

Teaching Assistant, Art History, UC Irvine (2009-2014)

Ways of Seeing, Art and Art History, St. Catherine University (Spring 2019; Fall 2017; Fall 2016)

Introduction to Art History: Ancient to Medieval, Art and Art History, St. Catherine University (Spring 2019; Spring 2018; Spring 2017)

All Art is Propaganda: Visual and Scientific Perspectives on Persuasion (Honors Course) w/ Gabrielle Filip-Crawford, Art and Art History / Psychology, St. Catherine University (Fall 2018)

Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to Modern, Art and Art History, St. Catherine University (Fall 2018; Fall 2017; Fall 2016)

History of Photography, Art and Art History, St. Olaf College (Spring 2016)

World Architecture, Art and Art History, St. Olaf College (Fall 2015)

The Reflective Woman: Scholars, Artists, Thinkers and Writers w/ Cecilia Konchar Farr, Hella Cohen, & Monica Rudquist, CORE Curriculum, St. Catherine University (Fall 2018)

Japanese Civilization, History, St. Olaf College (Winter Interim 2016)

Teaching Assistant, Asian American Studies and Film & Media Studies, UC Irvine (2009-2014)

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