Miriam Wattles, Associate Professor

Curriculum Vitae

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


Arts 2312

Office hours: Winter 2016
Tuesday, 2:30 - 4:00; and by appointment

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

Miriam Wattles is engaged with grasping cultural transmission. She has worked on the making of an artist’s legend through various media during the Edo period (The Life and Afterlives of Hanabusa Itchô, Artist-Rebel of Edo, 2013) and, recently, on the internet-to-street movement of today’s memes (“Mocking Memes, Protest Memes, Mourning Memes: The Violence of Us & Them”).Her approach is inspired by theories of cultural memory, materiality, media, genre, and parody. Recently, she has been exploring shunga in relation to gender theory. Her next book traces the production and migration of individual copies of six books on manga, Toba-e, and giga originally published from 1720 to 1928, and complicates the present understanding of the history of Japanese comic forms; a related exhibition is planned for 2018. Her early research focused on Yokoyama Taikan and the rise of a Pan-Asian aesthetic that arose within nihonga in the late Meiji: "The 1909 Ryûtô and the Aesthetics of Affectivity," (Fall 1996). Before doing her graduate study at the Institute of Fine Arts (NYU), she lived for ten years in Japan immersed in the practice of calligraphy. In 2008, she founded Japanese Arts & Globalizations (JAG), an inter-campus research group in California.

undergraduate courses

Arts of Japan and Korea
Figuring Celebrity: Actors, Courtesans and Ordinary Types
Ukiyo-e: Pictures of the Floating World
Understanding Manga
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