Sooa McCormick, visiting assistant professor of art history, holds a B.A. from Deoksung Women’s University (Seoul), an M.A. from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.
Professor McCormick is a specialist in cross-cultural interactions between East Asian ruling houses, and between East Asia and Europe from 1600 to 1800. Her wider areas of expertise include diaspora visual culture in early modern East Asia, and the circulation of technologies and raw materials between different continents that informed the production of artifacts in medieval and early modern East Asia. She is particularly interested in artifacts that shaped, negotiated, and represented various modes of transculturation; the influence of power and hierarchy on the production of art in early modern East Asian societies; and the interplay between text and image in vernacular and religious Asian art. Her dissertation, “Comparative and Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Chinese and Korean Court Documentary Painting in the Eighteenth Century,” examines ideas and images in court documentary paintings in light of regional and international interactions.
McCormick's publications include “Documentary Paintings as Gifts/Souvenirs in Eighteenth-Century Chinese and Korean Courts,” Frontiers of History in China (Forthcoming, 2015) and “Ten Thousand Men’s Canopy: A Gift of Paradox during the Age of Peasant Rebellions,” The Register of the Spencer Museum of Art (Forthcoming, 2015).
This course will explore the history of East Asian religious visual and material culture from ancient times to the early twentieth century, with an emphasis on the human body, face and relics and their visual representations as major agents in liturgical settings. The class explores the following topics; Buddhist relics, holy objects, reliquaries, and self-immolation practice; Confucian burial practice, ancestral worshipping, ancestral portraits; Taoist body-and-spirit cultivation and the practice of alchemy; and the cult of Mao Zedong during the Mao era (1949-1976). Readings will be drawn from art history, religion, critical theory, feminist theory and psychoanalysis. Although this course focuses on East Asian religious and visual traditions, Christian cults, saints, relics and reliquaries will be examined in comparison.
This seminar will examine expressions of power in art and architecture across cultures in pre-modern East Asia, including the manipulation of images by ruling classes for purposes of propaganda and political legacy. We will examine how the ambition for political power impacted the development of certain artistic and architectural canons, what state-sponsored art can tell us about ruling regimes and power relations, how propaganda in art and architecture affected society and historical events and how our own preconceptions and modern concerns about propaganda, media, and political manipulation color our own approaches to ancient culture. Students will examine the following issues; the nature and meaning of propaganda; pictorial narrative and the fabrication of history; the role of art and architecture in fashioning rulers' public political images; art as a means of communicating rulers' ideologies; conceptions and representations of the enemy; and public spectacles and rituals as propaganda.
This course is a comparative inquiry into cultural exchanges between Europe, North America, and Asia from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. Examples of topics covered include the impact of Chinese art and architecture on the design of European gardens and interior spaces, the appropriation of Japanese woodblock prints by European and American artists, East Asian artists' interpretation of Western oil painting tradition, and the tension between tradition and modernization in East Asian art scene. Students will relate the creation of art works to specific historical, social and political contexts and cross-cultural contact and exchange; identify and analyze the imitation, appropriation, assimilation and transformation of art within these contexts; and evaluate the exchanges between Europe and Asia that transformed the production and consumption of art during the ancient to early modern periods.
This course explores the interplay between text and image in Asian art history from ancient to early modern periods, centering on the inherent relationship between text and image among art theories and practices in Asia, from North East Asia to the Middle East. Topics include the role of pictures in the origins of writing, the relationships between text and ornament, the origins and development of pictorial narrative, the interplay between text and image in transmitting knowledge and the roles of text and image in religious art. Students in this class will analyze the dynamic, multifaceted and organic relationships between words and images in Asian art and will also examine contemporary artists who have creatively interpreted the relationship between word and image.
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Amherst, MA 01002