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Christine I. Ho

Associate Professor | East Asian Art

Christine I. Ho

(413) 545-8712

South College W309

Christine I. Ho, associate professor of East Asian Art, received her BA from Wellesley College and PhD in art history from Stanford University.  She specializes in late imperial, modern, and contemporary Chinese art.  Her research focuses on ink painting, aesthetics and politics, global socialist visual culture, and the postsocialist legacy.  Additional teaching and research interests include histories of landscape and environment, transnational art movements, public art, and design studies and craft history.  Her book, Drawing From Life: Sketching and Socialist Painting in the People's Republic of China (University of California Press, 2020), examines the process of creating a national, and Chinese, form of socialist realism through previously unpublished artists’ sketchbooks and seminal paintings, and demonstrates the importance of artistic practice to understanding socialist art and its struggle to define the representational politics of a new postrevolutionary state.

Continuing her work on aesthetics and politics within global contexts, Ho is currently working on two monographs, and developing new projects on twentieth-century design and craft history. The Mural in Modern China excavates murals from treaty-port Shanghai to the 1980s “mural fever” movement of Reform-era China, illuminating their importance as critical experimental points in methods of public address, while also exploring the historiography of the mural as it became recognized and researched as artistic medium in the twentieth century.  Another monograph, titled Collective Brushwork, traces the history, theory, and practice of collective art production in twentieth-century China within both the fine and mass arts.  An article related to this research was awarded the 2017 Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize by the College Art Association. Her research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, Henry Luce Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, and National Endowment for the Humanities, among other institutions.  

In her teaching, Ho covers a broad range of topics and time periods across East Asia. She regularly offers a general education introductory survey on visual culture in China, Korea, and Japan and advises graduate students in both premodern and modern subjects.  Her undergraduate courses and graduate seminars take advantage of the area’s resources, including close study of objects in the collections of the Five Colleges museums, Historic Deerfield, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Peabody Essex Museum, while offering opportunities for hands-on experiences in ink painting, calligraphy, woodcuts, and more.

Research Areas

  • Chinese art and visual culture
  • Modern Asian art
  • Modern and contemporary Chinese art


Drawing from Life: Sketching and Socialist Realism in the People’s Republic of China.  Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2020.

“Murals,” in The Mao Era in Objects. King’s College Digital Lab, 2020. 

In Search of National Decoration: Archaeology and Ethnography in Wartime Chinese Design” Archives of Asian Art 69, no. 2 (2019): 121–54.

"The People Eat For Free and the Art of Collective Production in Maoist China,” The Art Bulletin 98, no. 3 (2016): 343-372. 

Awarded the College Art Association's Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize, 2017 

"Writing national art history under the aegis of socialist internationalism: Hu Man and his History of Chinese Art," in Crossing Continents, ed. Geraldine Johnson. (forthcoming)

Courses Recently Taught

  • ART-HIST 190B Art and Visual Culture of East Asia
  • ART-HIST 354/654 Art of Buddhism
  • ART-HIST 355/655 Chinese Painting
  • ART-HIST 370 Junior Year Writing
  • ART-HIST 388/688 Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art
  • ART-HIST 388/688 Tokyo-Shanghai
  • ART-HIST 791G Graduate Seminar: Aesthetic Revolutions in Modern Chinese Art
  • ART-HIST 791G Graduate Seminar: Import/Export Material Culture in Early Modern East Asia