Patricia J. Yu joined the faculty of Kenyon College in 2021. She teaches courses on the arts of Asia, China and Japan. Her research studies the multiple ways in which the fragments of the Yuanming Yuan (Garden of Perfect Brightness) have been reconstituted through acts of reconstruction and reproduction. Her research and teaching interests also address art in cross-cultural translation, ruin and fragmentation, looting and repatriation, cultural heritage politics, and themed landscapes. 

She was previously a graduate intern and predoctoral fellow with the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. She was also a curatorial fellow in the Asian export art department of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. 

Areas of Expertise

Arts of Asia, late imperial to contemporary China, cultural heritage


2021 — Doctor of Philosophy from Univ. of California Berkeley

2009 — Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College

Courses Recently Taught

This course introduces students to the visual, material and architectural heritage of Asia. It is not intended as a survey or comprehensive study of all the arts of Asia. As an introduction to the discipline of art history, this course aims to teach students how to analyze images, objects and the built environment through their formal and visual qualities, their material characteristics and how they structure — and are structured by — the space around them. We consider how objects and spaces functioned within their respective cultural, religious and political contexts. This counts toward the 100-level course requirement and Asia place requirements for the major. No prerequisite.

What does "made in China" mean to you? Come discover the broad range of the arts of China from the Paleolithic period (4000 B.C.E.) to the present moment. The class learns about the rich traditions of ceramics, jade, bronzes, lacquer, painting, calligraphy, sculpture, textiles and the built environment within their cultural context. We consider how the visual and material arts expressed ideas about politics, class, gender and religion across Chinese history, while also asking, "What makes an artwork 'Chinese?'" This counts toward the 200-level intermediate course requirements and the Asia place requirement for the major. Prerequisite: any 100-level ARHS course. Permission of instructor required.

This lecture and discussion course introduces students to the visual arts, material culture and built environment of Japan, from antiquity to the present day. While we certainly cover Hokusai’s "Great Wave," we also consider how this most recognizable representative of Japanese art might be less quintessentially Japanese than it initially seems. We consider how the arts of Japan are distinct from, yet also connected to, the larger Sinosphere; challenge the notion of an isolated, homogenous Japan; and, finally, consider the global transmission of Japanese art. This counts toward the 200-level intermediate requirement and the Asia place requirement for the major. Prerequisite: any 100-level ARHS class. Permission of instructor required.

This advanced seminar explores topics and issues relating to the study of art and architecture of Asia. Students are expected to lead class discussions, participate thoughtfully, write weekly responses and complete a final research paper with oral presentation. It may be repeated up to two times for credit, as long as different topics are covered. This counts toward the 300-level advanced course requirement and the Asia place requirement for the major. Prerequisite: any art history class focused on Asia (ARHS 114, 235, 236, 238, 239 or 240). Permission of instructor required.

This seminar probes specific problems in modern European and contemporary art. Focusing upon a theme, artist or movement, the course provides a forum for the in-depth study of the methods of art historical research. Discussion of weekly readings, classroom presentations and research papers is required. This counts toward the after 1800 time requirement for the major. This course can be repeated up to two times for credit, so long as each covers different topics. Prerequisite: ARHS 111.