Stephen Whiteman - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Stephen Whiteman

Search for:

Dr Stephen Whiteman

Head, Research Degrees Programme; Senior Lecturer, Art and Architecture of China

Stephen Whiteman’s research and teaching focuses on the visual and spatial cultures of early modern China in their global contexts. His current work looks at connected histories of landscape and space in the Qing Dynasty as expressed through gardens, visual culture, and cultural memory. In Where Dragon Veins Meet: The Kangxi Emperor and His Estate at Rehe (Washington UP, 2020), he explores the construction and deployment of landscape as a medium for imperial ideology in the cosmopolitan early Qing court. His first book, Thirty-Six Views: The Kangxi Emperor’s Mountain Estate in Poetry and Prints (Dumbarton Oaks/Harvard UP, 2016), with Richard E. Strassberg, delves deeply into a transcultural garden album published by the Qing court in the 1710s. It received the John Brinkerhoff Jackson Book Prize from the Foundation for Landscape Studies in 2017.

Other major areas of current research include histories of mapping and maritime cultures in China, site-based research in Southeast Asia, and digital methods in art and architectural history. His new book project, Under Heaven and Within the Seas: Mapping China Since 1000 (Reaktion, under advanced contract) draws on art history and cultural geography to explore the changing political and cultural stakes of landscape and territory in China from the perspective of a transcultural history of cartography. He is the Project Director and co-Chief Investigator for Site and Space in Southeast Asia, a collaborative research project exploring spatial histories of art and architecture in Penang, Malaysia, Yangon, Myanmar, and Huê, Vietnam funded by the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories initiative. His first CAH project, Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art, also organised with colleagues at the University of Sydney, appeared as a co-edited volume published by Power Publications and National Gallery Singapore in 2018.

On the digital front, he is working on several projects concerned with mapping, spatial construction, and the perception of space and environment in early modern architecture and art. With partners at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, he is developing Visualizing the Mountain Estate, a project in 3-D cartographic and experiential modelling of an eighteenth century imperial landscape in China that has received support through the Getty Foundation and Wired! Labs’s Visualizing Venice initiative. Other research explores modelling of alternative perspectival systems in Qing visual culture.

Stephen studied History of Art, History, and East Asian Studies at Brown University, and earned an MA in East Asian Studies and his PhD in Art History from Stanford University. His research has been supported by fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art and Dumbarton Oaks Library and Research Collection, as well as grants from the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Chiang-Ching Kuo Foundation, CAA, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Mellon Foundation, and the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, among others. Prior to joining the Courtauld, Stephen was Senior Lecturer of Asian Art, Deputy Director of the Power Institute for Art and Visual Culture, and Associate Curator of Asian Art at the University of Sydney.

Teaching 2020–2021

  • BA2 Constellation: Landscape and Environment in Early Modern China
  • MA Special Option, Beijing and Beyond: Art and Empire in Early Modern China
  • MA Shared Interest Seminars, “What Makes the Early Modern?”
  • MA Methodologies: “Digital Art Histories”
  • PhD Skills and Methods Seminar

PhD Supervision


  • Ricarda Brosch, “The Intervening Years: Court Painting between Fluorescence, Death and Revolution (1790s-1840s).” The Courtauld Institute of Art (CHASE DTP Scholarship).
  • Steven Dodds, Asian Studies, University of Sydney (associate supervisor, with Adrian Vickers). Contemporary Thai visual culture.
  • He Junyao, “Imperial Performance: The Pictorial Fiction and Conceptual Reality of Emperor Qianlong’s Costume Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century China.” The Courtauld Institute of Art (Courtauld Scholarship).
  • Pu Lan, “Connections in the Making and Meaning of the Art of Bhutan and Tibet in the 17th and 18th Centuries: A Study of the Wall Paintings at Tango Monastery.” The Courtauld Institute of Art (co-supervisor, with Christian Luczantis [SOAS]; Ho Foundation Doctoral Fellowship in Buddhist Art and Conservation).
  • Lydia Ohl, The Courtauld Institute of Art (advisor, with Wenny Teo). Contemporary Chinese art.
  • Yasmin Siabi, “‘The City of Learning’: the Madrasa of Madar-i Shah and Rededicating Isfahan to Shi’ism (ca. 1694-1722).” The Courtauld Institute of Art (advisor, with Sussan Babaie).
  • Margaret Squires, “The Safavid Carpet in the Seventeenth Century: From Design to Display.” The Courtauld Institute of Art (advisor, with Sussan Babaie).
  • Su Wenjie, “Machines of Time, Towers of Knowledge: Miniature Architectural Spaces and the Design of Timepieces in Sino-European Encounters, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.” Art and Archaeology, Princeton University (Kress Predoctoral Fellowship advisor, 2020–2022; supervisor: Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann [Princeton]).
  • Wei Bingqing, “Mirrored Agents.” Art History, University of Sydney (co-supervisor, with Mary Roberts [Sydney]).

Recently Completed

  • Chen Shuxia, “The Grey Zone: The Emergence of Self-Organised Photography Groups in Post-Mao Beijing, 1977–1988.” Australian Centre on China in the World, Australian National University, 2019 (co-supervisor, with Claire Roberts).
  • Minerva Inwald, ‘“Drawing on Each Other’s Strengths to Overcome Each Other’s Weaknesses”: Professional Artists, the Masses, and the Artistic Culture of the People’s Republic, 1962–1974.’ University of Sydney, 2019 (associate supervisor, with Andres Rodriguez).
  • Simon S. Y. Soon, “What is Left of Art?” University of Sydney, 2015 (associate supervisor, with Adrian Vickers).

Professional Activities

  • Publications Committee, CAA (2020–)
  • Advisory Consultant, Sandcastle: A Malleable 3-D Mapping System for Pre-Modern Maps and Views, Duke University, (2020–)
  • Consulting Researcher, Building for Tomorrow Project, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, (2019–2021)
  • Hulsewé-Wazniewski Visiting Professor, University of Leiden (2019)
  • Advisory Board, Landscape History Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians (2021–2024; President, 2019–2021; Secretary, 2015–2019)
  • Minister’s Advisory Committee, Chinese Garden of Friendship, Sydney (2017–2018)
  • Editorial Committee, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art (2017–2018)
  • Field Editor, Asian Art History, (2013–2014)

Recent/Major Grants

  • 2017–2021   Site and Space in Southeast Asia. Connecting Art Histories Initiative, The Getty Foundation. With Mark Ledbury and Adrian Vickers.
  • 2018   Art History Publishing Initiative Grant, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • 2017–2018   Sydney Digital Humanities Research Group. FASS Collaborative Research Scheme, The University of Sydney. With Francesco Borghesi, et al.
  • 2017   “Objects and Problems: Transforming Learning in Art History.” Educational Innovation Grant, The University of Sydney. With Mark Ledbury, et al.
  • 2014–2016   Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Modern Southeast Asian Art. Connecting Art Histories Initiative, The Getty Foundation. With Mark Ledbury and Adrian Vickers.
  • 2012–2014   A. W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art.

Research Interests

  • Connected histories of art and architecture in early modern China
  • Visual culture in China, especially painting and print
  • Garden and landscape studies in Asia
  • Court arts in late imperial China (Song­–Qing)
  • Technologies of art and visuality in early modern China
  • Transmediality in early modern art
  • Mobility and artistic transmission in the Indo-Pacific world
  • Decentred histories of art and architecture
  • Digital and computational methods in art and architectural history.



  • Under Heaven and Within the Seas: Mapping China Since 1000. London: Reaktion, under contract.
  • Longmai: Kangxi di he Bishu shanzhuang 龙脉:康熙帝和避暑山庄. Beijing: Zhongxin chuban jituan, 2021. (Chinese translation of Where Dragon Veins Meet: The Kangxi Emperor and His Estate at Rehe)

Special Issues

  • Asian Art Research in Australia and New Zealand: Past, Present, Future. Special issue, Australia and New Zealand Journal of Art 16.2 (Dec., 2016). Co-edited with Olivier Krischer.

Essays and articles

  • “Beyond the Perspectival Paradigm: Early Modern Pictorial Space and Digital Challenges to the Field.” Art Bulletin 103.2 (June, 2021): 8–23.
  • “Zhongfan Chengde: Fu Lei de Tujie Chengde ji Qingshi yanjiu de kuozhan” 重返承德:傅雷的《图解承德》及清史研究的扩展 [“Returning to Chengde: Philippe Forêt’s Mapping Chengde and the Expanded Field of Qing Studies”]. In Feilipu Forui 菲利普·弗瑞 [Philippe Forêt],  Tujie Chengde: Qingdai shanshui daye 《图解承德:清代山水大业》 [Mapping Chengde: The Qing Landscape Enterprise]. Shanghai: Fudan University Press, in press.
  • “Aligning New Histories of Southeast Asian Art.” In Stephen H. Whiteman, et al., eds., Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art. Singapore and Sydney: National Gallery Singapore and Power Publications, 2018, pp. 1-12. Co-authored with Phoebe Scott, Sarena Abudullah, and Yvonne Low.
  • “Mimi Gates and Josh Yiu, eds., Chinese Painting & Calligraphy.” Art Bulletin 99.2 (June 2017): 368-373.
  • “Mimi Gates and Josh Yiu, eds., Chinese Painting & Calligraphy” (enhanced digital version). Co-produced with Nancy Um and Lauren Cesiro.
  • “Late Imperial Landscapes in the Early Modern World.” Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 37.2 (Apr., 2017): 99-101.
  • “The State of Play in Asian Art Research in Australia and New Zealand.” Australia and New Zealand Journal of Art 16.2 (Dec., 2016): 123-133. Co-authored with Olivier Krischer.
  • “Curating Contemporary Asian Art in the Australian Context: Beatrice Gralton, Suhanya Raffel, and Aaron Seeto in Conversation with Stephen Whiteman.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art 16.2 (Dec., 2016): 248-264.
  • “Floating Time and Shifting Contexts: Printmaking in Twentieth Century China.” In Stephen H. Whiteman, ed., Floating Time: Floating Time: Chinese Prints, 1954-2002. Sydney: Power Publications, 2016, pp. 5-24.
  • “Digital Mapping and Art History.” Ars Orientalis 44 (2015), Article 15.
  • A Research-Based Model for Digital Mapping and Art History: Notes from the Field.” Artl@s Bulletin 4.1 (2015), Article 5. Co-authored with Paul B. Jaskot, Anne Kelly Knowles, Andrew Wasserman, and Benjamin Zweig.
  • “From Upper Camp to Mountain Estate: Recovering Historical Narratives in Qing Imperial Landscapes.” Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes 33.4 (2013): 249-279. (Society of Architectural Historians (US) Landscape History Essay Prize, 2015)
  • “Kangxi’s Auspicious Empire: Rhetorics of Geographic Integration in the Early Qing.” In Jeffrey Kyong-McClain and Du Yongtao, eds., Chinese History in Geographical Perspective. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2013, pp. 33-54.


  • Zhang Yushu, “Record of Touring the Rehe Rear Garden at Imperial Invitation,” 1708. In Alison Hardie and Duncan Campbell, eds., The Dumbarton Oaks Anthology of Chinese Garden Literature. Ex Horto: Dumbarton Oaks Texts in Garden and Landscape History 6. Washington, D.C. and Cambridge, MA: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection and Harvard University Press, 2020, 612–17.

Share This

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Close