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​​​​​​​​​​​

 

 

Vimalin Rujivacharakul

Associate Professor and Director of the CTPhD Program
Architectural History & Historiography, East Asian Art
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
University of Delaware
321 Old College
Newark, DE 19716
 

Biography

Professor Vimalin Rujivacharakul teaches History of Art and Architecture at the University of Delaware in the United States. She also concurrently holds the 2021-2024 Visiting Professor at the School of Architecture, Tsinghua University in China, and is a lifetime fellow of Clare Hall, University Cambridge. She researches and publishes on architectural history and historiography, material culture and object studies, history of cartography, and history of global collecting. Among her publications are Architecturalized Asia (CHOICE Outstanding Book); Liang Sicheng and the Temple of Buddha's Light (China Classic series, the Ministry of Education, China), and Collecting China: The World, China, and A Short History of Collecting which became the ground for the 2017 workshop that she co-directed at Winterthur Museum for the National Museum of Asian Art's Chinese Object Stu​dy. (Listen to the workshop podcasts). In 2022, she completed a three-year collaboration in which she researched and taught seminars on art and early modern cartography (16th-18th century); the project produced research videos by students, a digital exhibition Multiple Middles by UD curatorial graduate students and an exhibition launched in February 2022 by UD's Special Collections.

Professor Rujivacharakul received her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley where she was trained in architectural history, intellectual history and cultural anthropology. Her scholarship has been supported by awards and fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, USA), the Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles, USA), the Social Science Research Council (SSRC, USA), Japan Foundation for the Promotion of Sciences (JSPS) (Tokyo, Japan), the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (Chicago, USA); the Chang Ching-kuo Foundation (USA & Taiwan), the Needham Research Institute (Cambridge, UK), Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (USA), Paul Mellon Centre (London, UK) and the Terra Foundation for American Art (Chicago, USA). 

Professor Rujivacharakul is completing publications on a global architectural history between the two world wars and on the connections between artifacts and architectural history. With colleagues in China and the United States, she is also completing an anthology on vernacular architecture and Orientalism.

​At the University of Delaware, she supervises doctoral students in both departments of art history and art conservation working on the connection of material culture, materiality and material sciences. Her doctoral advisees also work on East Asian material culture, export objects and trade history, as well as the disconnect between vernacular architecture and the UNESCO sites in China. At Tsinghua University, she works with colleagues in the history of architecture with emphases on preservations of village architecture and vernacular architecture in China. 

Institutional Collaborative Projects

  • ​Between Monumental and Vernacular Architecture: Co-directing with Dr. Luo Deyin, an international collab​orative project on architecture and preservation in China, 2015 to present. Funded in part by Ministry of Education, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, and Tsinghua University, China.

  • The Global Impact of Asian Aesthetics on American Art and Material Culture. Co-directing with Professor J. Ritchie Garrison, an inter-institutional collaborative project on aesthetics and art. Funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art.​


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Liang Sicheng and the Temple of Buddha's Lighthttps://www.arthistory.udel.edu/Arth Bookshelf/rujivacharakul-liang-sicheng.jpgLiang Sicheng and the Temple of Buddha's LightRujivacharakul, Vimalinand Luo Deyin, eds. and trans.Gale AsiaAndover2015https://www.amazon.com/Liang-Sicheng-Temple-Buddhas-Light/dp/9814441031<p>In July 1937, Liang Sicheng (1901-1972) led a small team of architectural historians to Mount Wutai in Shanxi. There, in the land known as the dwelling of Mañjusri, they encountered the ninth-century Buddha hall dating from the Tang period. In Chinese architectural history, this finding was a watershed moment. At the time of its discovery, this extant architecture was the sole Tang timber structure ever found on the mainland.<br></p><p>This book presents the history and historiography of the discovery of the Temple of Buddha's Light. It also delivers, for the first time, both Liang's complete account of the trip translated into English and his detailed analyses of the temple's architecture and decorative art. Also included are Liang's original photographs and drawings of the temple complex.<br></p>
Architecturalized Asia: Mapping a Continent through Historyhttps://www.arthistory.udel.edu/Arth Bookshelf/rujivacharakul-architecturalized-asia.jpgArchitecturalized Asia: Mapping a Continent through HistoryRujivacharakul, VimalinH. Hazel Hahn, Ken Tadashi Oshima, and Peter Christensen, eds.University of Hawai'i PressHonolulu2013https://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu/title/architecturalized-asia-mapping-a-continent-through-history/<p>This collection explores built environments and visual narratives in Asia via cartography, icons and symbols in different historical settings. It grows out of a three-year project focusing on cultural exchange in the making of Asia's boundaries as well as its architectural styles and achievements. The editors -- architectural scholars at University of Delaware, Seattle University, University of Washington and Harvard University, respectively -- attracted contributions from Asia, Europe, and North America. </p><p>The manuscript consists of three sections -- in Mapping Asia: Architectural Symbols from Medieval to Early Modern Periods, authors examine icons and symbols in maps and textual descriptions and other early evidence about Asian architecture. Incorporating archival materials from Asia and Europe, the essays present views of Asian architecture seen from those who lived on the continent, those who saw themselves residing along the margins, and those who identified themselves as outsiders. The second section, Conjugating Asia: The Long-Nineteenth Century and its Impetus, explores the construction of the field of Asian architecture and the political imagination of Asian built environments in the nineteenth century. It discusses the parallel narratives of colonialism and Orientalism in the construction of Asia and its architectural environment, mapping how empire-expanding influences from Europe and North America have defined "Asia" and its regions through new vocabularies and concepts, which include, among others, "Eurasia," "Jap-Alaska," "Asie coloniale," "the Orient," and "Further India." The third section, Manifesting Asia: Building the Continent with Architecture, addresses the physical realization of "Asian" geographic ideas within a set of specific local and regional contexts in the twentieth century. It examines tangible constructions as legible documents of these notional constructions of Asia, and discusses their construction processes, materials and critical receptions as evidence of the physical's reciprocal relationship to the conceptual. Regions and conditions covered include French Indochina, Iran, post-Soviet Central Asia, Japanese landscape, and the construction of the Afro-Asian built environment.<br></p>
Collecting China: The World, China, and a History of Collectinghttps://www.arthistory.udel.edu/Arth Bookshelf/rujivacharakul-collecting-china.jpgCollecting China: The World, China, and a History of CollectingRujivacharakul, Vimalined.University of Delaware PressNewark2011https://www.amazon.com/Collecting-China-World-Short-History/dp/1611490065<p>This is a unique book that brings together theories of materiality and the history of collecting. It grew out of a simple question: how does a thing become Chinese? Fifteen essays explore the question from different angles, ranging from close examination of world-renowned private collections (the Rockefellers, the Goncourts, the Walters, the du Ponts, the Yeh family, and the Getty Research Institute, among others) to critical reinterpretation of historical writings that continue from records of Emperor Wu Di of the Han Dynasty to the story of Robinson Crusoe and the first international exhibition of Chinese art. With accounts that incorporate records normally unavailable to the public, the authors map the vast network of collection practices in different periods, and demonstrate the ways in which material things produced in China acquire new cultural identities through collecting practices.<br></p>

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