Stephen Whiteman
  • Strand, Somerset House

    WC2R 0RN London

    United Kingdom

  • Source: Scopus
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Personal profile


Stephen Whiteman is a specialist in art and architecture of early modern China. His current research focuses on connected histories of landscape and space in the Qing Dynasty as expressed through gardens, visual culture, and cultural memory. His forthcoming book, Where Dragon Veins Meet: The Kangxi Emperor and His Estate at Rehe (Washington UP, 2019), 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, 2016), with Richard E. Strassberg, received the Foundation for Landscape Studies John Brinkerhoff Jackson Book Prize in 2017.

Stephen’s other major areas of current research are in Southeast Asia and in digital methods in art and architectural history. 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 collaborators Hedren Sum and Biju Dhanapalan of 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 Duke University and Wired! Labs’ 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 Chiang-Ching Kuo Foundation, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and the Mellon Foundation, 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.


  • BA1 Topic: Chinese Art through London Collections

Beginning in 2019–2020, Stephen will offer an MA Special Option, Imperial Circuits: Court Arts of China in Beijing and Beyond

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

PhD Students


  • Chen Shuxia, Australian Centre on China in the World, Australian National University.
  • Minerva Inwald, History, University of Sydney (associate supervisor).
  • Wei Bingqing, Art History, University of Sydney (with Mary Roberts).
  • Steven Dodds, Asian Studies, University of Sydney (associate supervisor).

Recently Completed

  • Simon S. Y. Soon, ‘What is Left of Art?’ University of Sydney, 2015 (associate supervisor).

Grants, Awards, Prizes

  • 2017–2020 Site and Space in Southeast Asia. Connecting Art Histories Initiative, The Getty Foundation. With Mark Ledbury and Adrian Vickers.
  • 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

Other Appointments

  • Secretary, Landscape History Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians (2015–present)
  • 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)


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