Kristopher Kersey


Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
Phone 310-206-6905
Office Dodd 247C


Kristopher Kersey’s research explores the intersecting histories of Japanese art, material culture, and design. Much his work concerns Japan’s seminal Heian period (794–1192 CE), including its many afterlives and modern appropriations. His current book project, The Image of Japan, explores the understanding of vision as manifest in the pictorial manuscripts of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries. His second book project moves beyond the medieval to trace the globalization and appropriation of the Japanese folding fan from early modernity to the present. Topics of particular interest include pictorial handscrolls (emaki), Buddhist painting and sculpture, photography, gender performativity, and narrative theory. Issues of historiography and aesthetics also feature prominently in his research.


At present (2018-2023), he is a collaborator with Global Horizons in Pre-Modern Art, an international research initiative funded by a European Research Council Consolidator Grant through the University of Bern. Past fellowships include the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship (predoctoral) at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) as well as the Anne van Biema Fellowship (postdoctoral) at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Smithsonian Institution).



  • “In Defiance of Collage: Assembling Modernity ca. 1112 CE.” Archives of Asian Art 68 no. 1 (April 2018): 1–32.

  • “Dynamism, Liquidity, and Crystallization in the Discourse of Japanese Art History.” In Einfluss, Strömung, Quelle: Aquatische Metaphern der Kunstgeschichte, edited by Ulrich Pfisterer and Christine Tauber, 287–310. Image 138. Munich and Bielefeld: Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte and Transcript Verlag, 2018.

  • “The Mediation of Death and the Temporality of the Scroll (Japan, c.1200 CE)” in The Continuous Page: Scrolls and Scrolling from Papyrus to Hypertext. Courtauld Books Online. Forthcoming.