Gennifer Weisenfeld

Gennifer Weisenfeld

Professor in the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies


  • Ph.D., Princeton University 1997

  • M.A., Princeton University 1992

  • B.A., Wesleyan University 1987


Gennifer Weisenfeld received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in Japanese Art History. Her field of research is modern and contemporary Japanese art history, design, and visual culture. Her work explores the impact of Japan's modern sociopolitical transformations on artistic production and practice; the cultural formations of nation and empire building; Japanese modernism; the politics of the avant-garde; the visual culture of disaster; commercial design; and the relationship between high art and popular culture.


Japanese art, art history, visual studies/visual culture, modern art, history of photography, design history, visual culture of disaster


The Fine Art of Persuasion: Corporate Advertising Design, Nation, and Empire in Modern Japan (in progress)
Modern Japanese graphic design has consistently been heralded at home and abroad as one of the country’s most creative areas of artistic production in the twentieth century.... read more »
Imaging Disaster: Tokyo and the Visual Culture of Japan's Great Earthquake of 1923
Focusing on one landmark catastrophic event in the history of an emerging modern nation—the Great Kanto Earthquake that devastated Tokyo and surrounding areas in 1923—this... read more »
Mavo: Japanese Artists and the Avant-Garde, 1905-1931
The radical Japanese art group Mavo roared into new arenas and new art forms during the 1920s, with work ranging from performance art to painting, book illustration, and... read more »
An army of schoolgirls marching through Tokyo, their faces an anonymous sea of gas masks.
An army of schoolgirls marching through Tokyo, their faces an anonymous sea of gas masks. Photographer Horino Masao’s Gas Mask Parade, Tokyo (1936), perhaps one of the most... read more »
Crossing the Sea: Essays on East Asian Art in Honor of Professor Yoshiaki Shimizu
Yoshiaki Shimizu, one of the foremost scholars of Japanese art history, taught at Princeton University for more than twenty-five years, during which time he trained many... read more »
positions— Visual Cultures of Japanese Imperialism
Under pressure of cultural colonization from the West and as an expanding imperialist force and cultural colonizer within Asia, Japan occupied a unique space on the... read more »

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Industrial Poisoning Minamata, 1972.” Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of the News, edited by J. Hill and V. R. Schwartz, Bloomsbury Academic, 2015, pp. 94–96.

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Laughing in the Face of Calamity: Visual Satire after the Great Kantô Earthquake.” Disaster as Image: Iconographies and Media Strategies across Europe and Asia, Schnell und Steiner, 2014, pp. 125–34.

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Die Verbildlichung der Katastrophe in Japan.” Von Atlantis Bis Heute: Mensch, Natur, Katastrophe, Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, 2014, pp. 155–61.

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Western-Style Painting in Japan: Mimesis, Individualism, and Japanese Nationhood.” Modern Art in Africa, Asia, and Latin America: An Introduction to Global Modernisms, edited by E. O. Brien et al., Wiley-Blackwell, 2013, pp. 165–80.

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Shiseido Chic: The Cosmopolitan Aesthetics of Japanese Cosmetics.” Crossing the Sea: Essays on East Asian Art in Honor of Professor Yoshiaki Shimizu, edited by G. Levine et al., Princeton, P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University in association with Princeton University Press, 2012, pp. 159–79.

Weisenfeld, G. S. “The Expanding Arts of the Interwar Period.” Since Meiji: Perspectives on the Japanese Visual Arts, 1868-2000, edited by J. T. Rimer, University of Hawaii Press, 2011, pp. 66–98.

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Japanese Typographic Design and the Art of Letterforms.” Bridges to Heaven: Essays on East Asian Art in Honor of Professor Wen C. Fong, edited by G. S. Silbergeld, Jerome et al., Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University in association with Princeton University Press, 2011, pp. 827–48. Open Access Copy

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Publicité et Propagande Dans le Japon des Années 1930: Le Modernisme Comme Méthode.” La Société Japonaise Devant La Montée Du Militarisme: Culture Populaire et Contrôle Social Dans Les Années 1930, edited by J. -. J. Tschudin and C. Hamon, Editions Philippe Picquier, 2007, pp. 47–70.

Yasunori, Tano, editor. “Saigai to Shikaku: Kantō Daishinsai no Shikaku Hyōshō o Megutte” (Disaster and Vision: On the Visual Representations of the Great Kantō Earthquake).” Kioku to Rekishi: Nihon Ni Okeru Kako No Shikakuka o Megutte (Memory and History: Visualising the Past in Japan), Waseda Daigaku Aizu Yaiichi Kinen Hakubutsukan, 2007, pp. 42–53.

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Reinscribing Tradition in a Transnational Art World.” Asian Art History in the Twenty-First Century, edited by V. N. Desai, Yale University Press, 2007, pp. 181–98. Open Access Copy


Weisenfeld, G. S. Hokusai’s Great Wave: Biography of a Global Icon., 7 Jan. 2017.

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Maximum Embodiment: Yōga, The Western Painting of Japan, 1912-1955 by Bert Winther-Tamaki.” Journal of Japanese Studies, vol. 40, no. 1, 2014, pp. 187–90.

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Nihonga, Transcending the Past: Japanese-Style Painting 1868-1968 by By Ellen Conant, Steven Owyoung, and J. Thomas Rimer.” Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 56, no. 4, Nov. 1998, pp. 1094–96.

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Gas Mask Parade: Japan’s Anxious Modernism.” Modernism/Modernity, vol. 21, no. 1, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014, pp. 179–99. Open Access Copy

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Publicity and Propaganda in 1930s Japan: Modernism as Method.” Design Issues, vol. 25, no. 4, MIT Press, Oct. 2009, pp. 13–28. Open Access Copy

Weisenfeld, G. S. “‘From Baby’s First Bath’: Kao Soap and Modern Japanese Commercial Design.” The Art Bulletin, vol. LXXXVI, no. 3, Sept. 2004, pp. 573–98. Open Access Copy

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Nihon ni okeru Shōgyō Dezainshi to Sono Kenkyū (Art History and the Study of Japanese Commercial Design).” Bijutsu Forum, vol. 21, Nov. 2001, pp. 123–30.

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Touring Japan-as-Museum: NIPPON and Other Japanese Imperialist Travelogues.” Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, vol. 8, no. 3, Duke University Press, Dec. 2000, pp. 747–93. Open Access Copy

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Guest Editor's Introduction: Visual Cultures of Japanese Imperialism.” Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, vol. 8, no. 3, Duke University Press, 2000, pp. 591–603.

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Designing After Disaster: Barrack Decoration and the Great Kanto Earthquake.” Japanese Studies, vol. 18, no. 3, 1998, pp. 229–46. Open Access Copy

Weisenfeld, G. S. “Mavo’s ‘Conscious Constructivism’: Art, Individualism, and Daily Life in Interwar Japan.” Art Journal, vol. 55, no. 3, Oct. 1996, pp. 64–73. Open Access Copy

Fellowships, Supported Research, & Other Grants

Collaborative Scholarly Projects Grant awarded by Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University (2016 to 2017)

Advanced Research Grant awarded by The Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies (2016)

Short Travel Grant awarded by Northeast Asia Council (2012 to 2013)

Publication Grant awarded by Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (2012)

Residential Research Fellowship awarded by National Humanities Center (2009 to 2010)

Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellowship awarded by Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, SOAS University of London (2005 to 2006)

Seminar Fellow awarded by John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University (2004 to 2005)

Research Fellowship awarded by Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation (2004 to 2005)

Publication Grant awarded by College Art Association, Millard Meiss Publication Fund (2002)

Fellowship for university teachers awarded by National Endowment for the Humanities (2001 to 2002)

Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship awarded by Fulbright-Hays (2001 to 2002)

Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by J. Paul Getty Research Institute (2001 to 2002)

Faculty Research Fellowship awarded by Japan Foundation (2001 to 2002)

Grants for advanced research on Japan awarded by Social Science Research Council (2000 to 2001)

Short Travel Grant awarded by Northeast Asia Council, Association for Asian Studies (1999 to 2000)

Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University (1997 to 1998)

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship awarded by Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art (1995 to 1997)

Dissertation write-up fellowship awarded by Social Science Research Council (1995)

Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by Fullbright-IIE (1993 to 1995)

Graduate Fellowship awarded by Blakemore Foundation (1992)

Graduate Fellowship awarded by Princeton University, Council for Regional Studies (1991)

Graduate fellowship for doctoral program awarded by Princeton University (1989 to 1994)

Fellowship awarded by Stanford University (1988 to 1989)

Spring 2016

Imaging a Nation (VMS 523S.01)
Smith Wrhs A285, W 10:05 AM-12:35 PM

Fall 2015

Japanese Architecture (ARTHIST 234.01)
East Duke 108, MW 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Pleasure Quarters to Tokyo Pop (ARTHIST 432S.01)
Smith Wrhs A290, M 01:40 PM-04:10 PM
Japanese Architecture (VMS 250.01)
East Duke 108, MW 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Pleasure Quarters to Tokyo Pop (VMS 432S.01)
Smith Wrhs A290, M 01:40 PM-04:10 PM

Fall 2014

Japanese Art, 1600-Present (ARTHIST 232.01)
East Duke 108, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Camera Asia (VMS 535S.01)
East Duke 204A, Tu 03:05 PM-05:35 PM