Christina M. Spiker

Christina M. Spiker

Art Historian | Professor | Digital Humanist

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

COURSE INFORMATION

Arts of Japan
ART/ASIAN STUDIES 260 | St. Olaf College

DESCRIPTION

Survey the arts of the Japanese archipelago from the Neolithic period to the present day. This course investigates diverse works such as funerary remains, Shintō architecture, Buddhist sculpture, castle architecture, woodblock prints, hanging and hand scrolls, gardens, tea ceremony, oil and ink painting, performance, photography, and fashion design. We will use visual analysis to discuss themes such as patronage, religious expression, social organization, traditional technologies, indigenous and imported techniques, urban design, and the political functions of art. This course will emphasize various connections between Japan and other cultures through the 21st century that have helped shape Japan’s dynamic aesthetic traditions.

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Public Lecture // Nostalgia as Remedy: Modernity and Sentimentality in Japanese Woodblock Prints of the Meiji Era (The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery)



CITATION

Spiker, Christina M. “Nostalgia as Remedy: Modernity and Sentimentality in Japanese Woodblock Prints of the Meiji Era,” public lecture delivered at the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery in conjunction with the exhibition Nostalgic Femininity: Japanese Woodblock Prints from The St. Catherine University Archives & Special Collections (May 13, 2019).

ABSTRACT

Christina M. Spiker, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History and curator of the current exhibition, Nostalgic Femininity, will discuss the broader historical and social contexts that inform the relationship between nostalgia and feminine imagery in the work of Japanese printmaker Yōshū Chikanobu and his peers. Learn about print styles from late nineteenth-century Japan using examples from St. Catherine University’s Archives & Special Collections.

VIDEO

A video of the lecture can be watched on The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery website.

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Website // Japanese Woodblock Prints @ St. Kate’s w/ MaryJane Eischen (Scalar 2)

CITATION

Eischen, MaryJane, Christina M. Spiker, and Nicole Wallin. Japanese Woodblock Prints @ St. Kate’s. Scalar 2. 2019.

DESCRIPTION

Through the Assistant Mentorship Program at St. Catherine University, MaryJane Eischen ‘20 worked with curator Christina M. Spiker to create Japanese Prints @ St. Kate’s, a website to supplement both the gallery and library exhibitions. This digital component was built using Scalar 2, a technological publishing platform developed by the University of Southern California. The website catalogs the entirety of the Japanese woodblock print collection in the St. Catherine University Archives & Special Collections and provides additional information about all prints and artists on display in each show. MaryJane also utilized a program called Timeline JS, which was developed by Northwestern University Knight Lab. This software was used to create two JavaScript timelines documenting both the artists in the collection and the ways these prints intersect with the history of Meiji Japan. The website also includes exhibition essays by Christina M. Spiker and Nicole Wallin ‘19.

Exhibition Catalog // Nostalgic Femininity & From Flowers to Warriors: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Archives & Special Collections (The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery)



CITATION

Spiker, Christina M. “Nostalgia as Remedy: Contextualizing the Japanese Woodblock Prints in the St. Catherine University Archives and Special Collections.” In Nostalgic Femininity / From Flowers to Warriors: Japanese Woodblock Prints from The St. Catherine University Archives & Special Collections. Exhibition catalog. (The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, 2019).

VIDEO

You can read my essay digitally or download the entire exhibition catalog through our digital exhibition.

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Presentation // Western Women and the Poetry of Crepe-paper Books (Kanagawa University, Yokohama)

CITATION

Spiker, Christina M. “Western Women and the Poetry of Japanese Crepe-Paper Books” (西洋女性とちりめん本の詩について), invited paper delivered at the Japanese Crepe Paper Books and Girl’s Culture Exhibition and Symposium (「ちりめん本と女性の文化」展覧会・シンポジウム), Kanagawa University, Yokohama, Japan (November 24, 2018).

ABSTRACT

Coming Soon

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Website // Mapping Isabella Bird (Scalar 2)

CITATION

Spiker, Christina M. Mapping Isabella Bird: Geolocation & Unbeaten Tracks in Japan (1880). http://mapping.cmspiker.com/japan/.

DESCRIPTION

This website is an open-source hub for students, educators, and researchers interested in the history of explorer Isabella Lucy Bird (1831-1904). It uses her example to explore the relationship between maps, explorers, visual culture, and tourism in Japan in the late nineteenth century. I first became interested in Isabella Bird while completing my doctoral dissertation on indigenous Ainu representation and the exploration of Hokkaido, and the digital project began in earnest in 2017.

The website is built using Scalar 2, a free, open source publishing platform developed by the University of Southern California and now a project of the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture (ANVC) that is designed for long-form, born-digital scholarship online. I wanted to work with Scalar specifically for the ability to assemble a rich media archive and annotate these images in conjunction with my writing. I also enjoy the ability to link media to writing to tags in a way that doesn’t privilege any one form of content over another. These connections can then be visualized in several ways as the project grows.

Many of the interactive maps found on this site are powered by tabular data (spreadsheets) culled from historical texts freely available on Archive.org and HathiTrust Digital Library. These sources are in the public domain. This information is visualized through various geospatial mapping applications, such as CARTO, ArcGIS, and Google Maps. These maps are then placed into context alongside examples of relevant visual culture. Some of the maps integrated were initially created for other projects, such as Traveling Hokkaido.

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

COURSE INFORMATION

Global Japan: Art, Anime, & Visual Culture
ARTH 2994 | St. Catherine University

DESCRIPTION

This course considers the global trajectory of Japanese art and visual culture from 1945 to 2016. From sushi to karaoke to martial arts, Japanese goods have permeated US markets. This class seeks to understand this phenomenon in the realm of art and visual culture through the analysis of diverse material including advertising, animation, comics, film, graphic design, installation, mascot culture, painting, photography, popular music, and street fashion. Grounded in art historical and visual studies methods, with supplementary readings from anthropology and media studies, this class will investigate issues such as the overlap between comics and contemporary art; Japanese and American approaches to animation; and the influence of Japanese graphic design on product packaging. The course will proceed thematically to address issues of nationalism, race, gender, domesticity, consumer culture, subculture, environment, minority representation, and the post-human through lecture and discussion, individual and group work, and film and video screenings. Our goal will be to critically interpret the role of Japanese art and visual culture in an increasingly interconnected world.

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

COURSE INFORMATION

Visual Culture in Modern Japan
ART 276 | St. Olaf College

DESCRIPTION

Explore Japan through the mass production, distribution, and consumption of Japanese visual and popular culture. Students will learn how to analyze a diverse array of visual material—architecture, advertising, animation (anime), art, comics (manga), digital idols, film, graphic design, mascot culture, music, and video games. In discovering the popular construction of “Japaneseness,” the course will proceed thematically to address issues of nationalism, race, gender, domesticity, consumer culture, subculture, environment, and Japan’s relationship with its minorities from 1950 to 2015. Using methodologies from visual studies, media studies, art history, film studies, and anthropology, the goal of this course will be to rethink Japan as a site of local and global pop culture flows.

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Digital // Traveling Hokkaido (ArcGIS)

DESCRIPTION

Traveling Hokkaido is an attempt to visualize the travel routes of several popular explorers, artists, and anthropologists who ventured to the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido (or “Yezo”) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The maps were created using a free account of ArcGIS. This endeavor currently focuses on three popular texts–rather than purely scientific accounts–including Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks in Japan (1880), A. Henry Savage Landor’s Alone with the Hairy Ainu (1894), and Frederick Starr’s The Ainu at the St. Louis Exposition (1904). By studying the actual routes traversed both physically and imaginatively in these works, we can better understand and study the persistence of literary and visual motifs of Japan’s northernmost extents.

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