Christina M. Spiker

Christina M. Spiker

Art Historian | Professor | Digital Humanist

Course // Asia in America (St. Olaf College)


Asia in America
ASIAN STUDIES 123 | St. Olaf COllege


This interdisciplinary course introduces the field of Asian American Studies. We will engage with multiple cultural and historical productions of Asia and America, with a specific focus on popular visual culture, art, literature, and film. Critical analysis of topics such as ethnic/cultural identities, citizenship(s), media/pop-cultures, body images, sexuality, and adoption will be explored through the practices of different Asian communities in the United States. Students can expect to encounter interactive in-class activities, films, presentations, and field trips. Also counts toward Chinese, Japanese, and Race and Ethnic Studies majors and the Race and Ethnic Studies and International Relations concentrations.

Photo: Noguchi Museum. They explain, “Sculptor Isamu Noguchi tried many times to build a playground in New York City, but one never came to fruition. One of his ideas, called Contoured Playground, is shown here as a plaster model.”


Digital // Traveling Hokkaido (ArcGIS)


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.