miriam wattles, associate professor

curriculum vitae

Early Modern and Modern Japanese Visual Culture: illustrated books and print culture, ukiyo-e woodblock prints, painting, calligraphy


Arts 2312

office hours
none; from 2013-15 Professor Wattles is on leave from teaching at UCSB while serving as Tokyo Study Center Director for the UC Educational Abroad Program

B.A. Earlham College
Ph.D. Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Before her graduate study, Miriam Wattles lived for ten years in Japan immersed in the practice of calligraphy. With her interests extending from early modern to contemporary Japanese visual culture, she is inspired by theories of parody, cultural memory, and genre, and ever conscious of historiography. Her present research project traces the production and migration of individual copies of six books on manga, Toba-e, and giga originally published from 1720 to 1928, complicating the history of Japanese comic visuality. She was the recipient of a Fulbright-IIE, a Getty Postdoctoral Research Grant, and a Hellman Family Foundation Research Grant. In teaching she likes to foster creativity and experiential learning.

Wattles’s recent publications include her book, entitled "The Life and Afterlives of Hanabusa Itchô, Artist-Rebel of Edo," and her study of Santô Kyôden's Kimyô zui, "The Longevity of a Dirty Little Dictionary," Impressions 30 (2009). An earlier study of hers focuses on a Pan-Asian aesthetic that arose within nihonga (neo-traditional Japanese painting) as Japan arose as a nation: "The 1909 Ryûtô and the Aesthetics of Affectivity," Art Journal 55:3 (Fall 1996).

undergraduate courses

Arts of Japan and Korea
Figuring Celebrity: Actors, Courtesans and Ordinary Types
Ukiyo-e: Pictures of the Floating World
Japanese Painting: the Gitter Collection
Twentieth-century Japanese Visual Culture: High and Low
Representations of Geisha: East and West

undergraduate and graduate seminars

Professor Wattles gives seminars that combine research with practical "hands-on" museum experience. She and students regularly organize ukiyo-e exhibitions at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art:
2004   "Birds and Flowers: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Seymour and Shirley Lehrer Collection"
2005   "Edo: The City and its Diversions"
2006-07   "From Geisha to Ghosts: Leading Ladies of Japanese Woodblock Prints"

graduate seminar

2007   Art in Print: Read, Quoted and Transformed