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Xin Conan-Wu

Associate Professor of Art History

Office : Andrews Hall 209
Phone: (757) 221-2530
Email: : [[xwu]]
Areas of Specialization: East Asia art & exchanges, representations of nature, garden & landscape studies, environment & education, plant studies.
Personal Website: {{}}

Professor Conan-Wu’s teaching and research bridge art history and contemporary inquiries with a global perspective of East-West comparison. The main interest of her scholarship rests upon the representation of nature, in both its two-dimensional forms of paintings, prints, drawings and photographs, and its three-dimensional forms of sculpture, gardens, environmental art and designed landscapes. She holds advanced degrees from the UK, Canada and China, and publishes in both English and Chinese. Professor Conan-Wu’s newest book is Lure of the Supreme Joy: Pedagogy and Environment in the Neo-Confucian Academies of Zhu Xi (Brill, 2024). It addresses the role of the mountain landscape, gardens and architectural space in the academies of the founding Neo-Confucian philosopher Zhu Xi (1130-1200), and explores the reciprocity between environment and Confucian education in East Asian tradition from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries. She is the author of Patricia Johanson and the Re-Invention of Public Environmental Art, 1958–2010 (Routledge, 2013 & 2017) and Reconstruction of Modernity: the House & Garden Commission (2 vols. Harvard, 2007); a pair of monographs that studies intercultural and intermedia exchanges (of visual arts, garden design, Chinese natural philosophy and Native American attitudes) in the process of art creation that resulted in breakthroughs in post-WWII art. She purposefully connects historical studies with present-day environmental concerns in a pair of edited volumes: The Realm of Mountain-and-Water: Gardens and Landscapes in Chinese Culture (Sanlian, 2015) and The New Art of Landscape: Conversations between Xin Wu and Contemporary Designers (Jiangong, 2012). She has received research awards from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (National Gallery), John W. Kluge Center (Library of Congress) and Graham Foundation.

Courses Taught

Chinese Art & Archaeology; Japanese Art & Archaeology; Modern & Contemporary Chinese Art; Ink Painting; Monuments in Asia; Buddhist Art & Architecture; Nature & Its Representations; Encounters: East-West; Independent Study & Honors Thesis (on Asia, environment and landscape).