Christina M. Spiker is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Art History who also teaches in Asian Studies. She received her B.A. in East Asian Studies from Ursinus College and her M.A./Ph.D. in Visual Studies from the University of California, Irvine. At St. Olaf College, she teaches a broad range of courses that investigate Asian art and material culture (ART 259: Arts of China, ART 260: Arts of Japan, and more recently ASIAN 200: Arts of Korea). She also helps students understand the global histories of architecture and photography (ART 161 and ART 256) and the evolving discipline of Asian American Studies (ASIAN 123).
Christina specializes in modern Japanese art and visual culture. Much of her work over the last ten years has been dedicated to debunking the myth of a homogenous Japan. Her doctoral dissertation explored turn-of-the-twentieth-century visual representations of the indigenous Ainu in Japan and her research continues to investigate how their specific histories intersect with theories of globalization, modernity, and travel. She published “‘Civilized’ Men and ‘Superstitious’ Women: Visualizing the Hokkaido Ainu in Isabella Bird’s Unbeaten Tracks, 1880” in Gender, Continuity, and the Shaping of Modernity in the Arts of East Asia, 16th-20th Centuries (Brill, 2017) and is the creator of the on-going online project Mapping Isabella Bird: Geolocation and Unbeaten Tracks in Japan (1880). Her latest research includes examining contemporary Ainu visual representation in the 1990s arcade fighting game Samurai Shodown (Forthcoming, Journal of Anime and Manga Studies). She advocates for broadening our understanding of art and art-making to be more inclusive.
Christina finds great joy when collaborating with students in the research process. She has advised several independent research projects in her time as a professor. She is also proud of her collaboration on two exhibitions of Meiji-era Japanese woodblock prints--Nostalgic Femininity and From Flowers to Warriors-- at The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery and the St. Catherine University Library with two undergraduate students (2019). This work lives on in a virtual exhibition.
When she isn’t teaching, researching, or writing, Christina enjoys the finer things in life: a good cup of coffee, exploring her adopted state of Minnesota, playing video games, and spending time with her menagerie of pets (a dog, a cat, and two salamanders). She also gets totally absorbed in graphic/web design: http://www.cmspiker.com.