Associate Professor of Art History

Fine Arts Commons 206

Kari Shepherdson-Scott specializes in Japanese visual culture from the nineteenth and twentieth-century, focusing on the visual expression of national identity, empire, war, and memory. Her work on Japanese images of occupied Manchuria during the 1930s and early 1940s has been recognized by the Fulbright Japan-United States Educational Commission, the Social Science Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. These projects include research on the art photographer Fuchikami Hakuyō and his colleagues of the Manchuria Photographic Artists Association (Manshū shashin sakka kyōkai), examining their relationship to soft power diplomacy in America in 1933, abstracted narratives of war in the late 1930s, and the role they played in aesthetic nostalgia in postwar Japan.  She also has explored how the traumatic memory of the Great Kantō Earthquake informed war media designed to ready Japanese civilians and spaces for incendiary bombing in the late 1930s. Building on an interest in war, media, and mobilization, she is currently researching battle panoramas constructed during the first years of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).

While her research focuses on modern practices in Japan, she teaches more broadly in visual culture and all periods of Japanese and Chinese art. Course offerings include:

Introduction to Visual Culture

Art of the East I: China

Art of the East II: Japan

Making Sacred: Religious Images and Spaces in Asia

Japan and the (Inter)National Modern

Embodiment and Subjectivity in Later Chinese Art


“Race behind the Walls: Contact and Containment in Japanese Images of Urban Manchuria.” Christopher Hanscom and Dennis Washburn, eds. The Affect of Difference: Representations of Race in East Asian Empires. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2016: 180-206.

“Toward an ‘Unburnable City’: Reimagining the Urban Landscape in 1930s Japanese Media,” Journal of Urban History Vol. 42, no.3 (Theme issue: Japanese Cities in Global Context) (May 2016): 582-603.

“Conflicting Politics and Contesting Borders: Exhibiting (Japanese) Manchuria at the Chicago World Fair, 1933-34.”Journal of Asian Studies 74, No. 03 (August 2015): 539-564.

“A Legacy of Persuasion: Japanese Photography and the Artful Politics of Remembering Manchuria,” Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Issue 27 (Theme issue: Souvenirs and Objects of Remembrance) (2015): 124-147.

“Fuchikami Hakuyō’s Evening Sun: Manchuria, Memory, and the Aesthetic Abstraction of War.” Ming Tiampo, Louisa McDonald, Asato Ikeda, eds. Art and War in Japan and Its Empire, 1931-1960. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2013: 275-291.


“Art Photography, Industry, and Empire: Japanese Soft Power in America, 1933-34,”Art History

“Entertaining War: Spectacle and the ‘Capture of Wuhan’ Battle Panorama of 1939,” The Art Bulletin