Hello! I’m Christina M. Spiker, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Art History at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. I enjoy helping people connect with East Asian art and visual culture, whether that is through curation, teaching, or public speaking. I specialize in modern Japan with a deep interest in race and identity. 

Nothing brings me more joy than helping people to learn more about cultures other than their own. From art to architecture to popular media, I see visual culture as a key that helps us to unlock stories about the world beyond us. Learning these stories does more than teach us history; it prepares us to engage others in new and innovative ways using the power of close observation.

I believe in an art history that is accessible and engaging. With this in mind, I pursue projects that push the boundaries of what our discipline can do. 


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.


I teach a wide range of courses from surveys in Global and Asian Art to specialized topics such as Japanese Woodblock Prints, The History of Photography, and Global Japan: Art, Anime, & Visual Culture.



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.


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

2019 - Present
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Art History / Asian Studies

St. Olaf College

Courses: Arts of Japan, Arts of China, Arts of Korea, History of World Architecture, History of Photography, Japanese Woodblock Prints, Asian Conversations. 

2016 - 2019
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Art History

St. Catherine University

Courses: Art History: Ancient through Medieval, Art History: Renaissance through Modern, Ways of Seeing, Buddhist Art & Architecture, Global Japan: Art, Anime, & Visual Culture. 

2015 - 2016
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Art History / Asian Studies

St. Olaf College

Courses: History of Photography, History of World Architecture, Arts of Japan, Modern Japanese Visual Culture, and Japanese Civilization.

Ph.D. Visual Studies

University of California, Irvine

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

M.A. Visual Studies

University of California, Irvine

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

B.A. East Asian Studies, minor in Japanese

Ursinus College

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

Awards, Fellowships, Honors

I feel fortunate that my work has been recognized by several entities. The fellowships and grants listed below have facilitated years of research, curricular development, and travel to libraries and institutions in the United States and Japan.

2020 Cassling Family Fund Faculty Innovation Award, St. Olaf College

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

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

2020 Professional Development Grant w/ Rika Ito, Faculty Life Committee, St. Olaf College [Returned due to COVID-19]

2019 Arts & Humanities Creative Project Grant, Academic Professional Development Committee, St. Catherine University

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


  • English
  • Japanese
  • German
  • Korean