Christina M. Spiker is an Assistant Professor of Art and Art History and 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 investigating Asian art and material culture (Arts of China, Arts of Japan, and more recently, Arts of Korea). She also helps students understand the global histories of architecture and photography and the evolving discipline of Asian American Studies. Recently, she has been working with Asian Conversations and First-year Writing and Rhetoric to help students develop their composition skills.

Christina specializes in modern Japanese art and visual culture. Much of her work over the last twelve 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. 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 examines contemporary Ainu visual representation in the 1990s arcade fighting game Samurai Shodown (Journal of Anime and Manga Studies, 2020) and in the anime Golden Kamuy (Verge: Studies in Global Asias, 2023). She advocates broadening our understanding of art and art-making to be more inclusive of other visual media.

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. At St. Olaf College, she curated Altered Skyline: Brenda Berkman’s Thirty-Six Views of One World Trade Center, which opened at our own Flaten Art Museum on September 10, 2021. 

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, two salamanders, and a gecko). She also gets absorbed in graphic/web design: