Dr Stephen Whiteman

Reader in the Art and Architecture of China

Stephen Whiteman’s research and teaching focuses on the visual and spatial cultures of early modern China in their global contexts. He is author and editor of five books on art, architecture and landscape in early modern and modern China and Southeast Asia, including the award-winning, Where Dragon Veins Meet: The Kangxi Emperor and His Estate at Rehe (Washington UP, 2020). His most recent book, Landscape and Authority in the Early Modern World (Penn UP, 2023), a collection of ten essays forthcoming from Penn Studies in Landscape Architecture, argues the potential of connective histories of landscape for expanding our understanding of early modern space beyond nationally or culturally constrained discourses.

His new book project, Under Heaven and Within the Seas: Mapping China Since 1000 (Reaktion, forthcoming) draws on art history and cultural geography to explore the changing political and cultural stakes of landscape and territory in China from the perspective of a transcultural history of cartography. With Hedren Sum, he is developing X-Sheds: An Interactive Art History of Experience, a Digital Humanities project exploring the potential for deep modelling of multi-sensory environments as means for critically reconstructing spatial and sensorial experience in the past. He is also the Project Director and co-Chief Investigator for Site and Space in Southeast Asia, a collaborative research project exploring spatial histories of art and architecture in Penang, Malaysia, Yangon, Myanmar, and Huê, Vietnam funded by the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories initiative.

Research Interests

  • Connected histories of art and architecture in early modern China
  • Garden and landscape studies in Asia
  • Technologies of art and visuality in early modern China
  • Mobility and artistic transmission in the Indo-Pacific world
  • Digital and computational methods in art and architectural history.

Teaching 2022-2023

On research leave 2022–23.

PhD Supervision

Current

  • Ricarda Brosch, “The Intervening Years: Court Painting between Fluorescence, Death and Revolution (1790s-1840s).” The Courtauld Institute of Art (CHASE DTP Scholarship).
  • Corrina Ellis, “An Edo-period provincial garden in pictures, poetry and prose: the case of Shukkei-en, Hiroshima.” The Courtauld Institute of Art (CHASE DTP Scholarship/Sasakawa Foundation Scholarship).
  • He Junyao, “Imperial Performance: The Pictorial Fiction and Conceptual Reality of Emperor Qianlong’s Costume Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century China.” The Courtauld Institute of Art (Smithsonian Fellowship/Courtauld Scholarship).
  • Pu Lan, “Connections in the Making and Meaning of the Art of Bhutan and Tibet in the 17th and 18th Centuries: A Study of the Wall Paintings at Tango Monastery.” The Courtauld Institute of Art (co-supervisor, with Christian Luczantis [SOAS]; Ho Foundation Doctoral Fellowship in Buddhist Art and Conservation).
  • Su Wenjie, “Machines of Time, Towers of Knowledge: Miniature Architectural Spaces and the Design of Timepieces in Sino-European Encounters, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.” Art and Archaeology, Princeton University (Kress Predoctoral Fellowship advisor, 2020–2022; supervisor: Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann [Princeton]).

Recently Completed

  • Chen Shuxia, “The Grey Zone: The Emergence of Self-Organised Photography Groups in Post-Mao Beijing, 1977–1988.” Australian Centre on China in the World, Australian National University, 2019 (co-supervisor, with Claire Roberts).
  • Minerva Inwald, ‘“Drawing on Each Other’s Strengths to Overcome Each Other’s Weaknesses”: Professional Artists, the Masses, and the Artistic Culture of the People’s Republic, 1962–1974.’ University of Sydney, 2019 (associate supervisor, with Andres Rodriguez).
  • Simon S. Y. Soon, “What is Left of Art?” University of Sydney, 2015 (associate supervisor, with Adrian Vickers).

Selected Research

Books

Edited Volumes

Research collaboratives

Digital anthologies

  • Sussan Babaie, Fresco Sam-Sin, and Stephen Whiteman, eds., Trans-Asias: Early Modern Stories from The Courtauld. An on-going collaborative student research project published via Things That Talk. http://thingsthattalk.net/zone/courtauld-trans-asias (2020–)

Essays and articles

Citations