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How do depictions of violence in early-20th-century Chinese art relate to public perceptions of democracy – a century ago and in China today?

These are the kinds of questions posed by Professor Yi Gu (pictured at right), the newest member of UTSC’s Visual and Performing Arts faculty, in her research. An expert on modern Asian art and visual culture, Gu augmented university studies in her native China with a PhD from Brown, where she specialized in the history of perception, cultural translation and art replication technologies. Her latest project – “AssassiNation: Photography, Political Violence and the 1911 Revolution” – examines how new technologies mediated public opinion on violence and justice during China’s transition from an imperial dynasty to a republic.

“China is no longer a remote presence,” says Gu, who blends original research with her classroom teaching in Art History as well as in the Humanities department’s new Global Asia Studies program. “Many students have a strong interest in Asian art and visual culture even before they enroll in my classes. My job is to nurture that curiosity and help them understand that the analytical skills they learn are also applicable to their immediate surroundings. The study of Chinese art encourages students to analyze all art objects and their context from a cross-cultural perspective.”




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