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Christopher Reed

Christopher Reed

Distinguished Professor of English, Visual Culture, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

114 Burrowes Building

Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 865-4242

Office Hours:

  • SPRING 2018: Tuesdays 4:00 - 5:00 PM and by appointment

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. Ph.D. 1991, M.A., 1985, Department of History of Art, Yale University.
  2. B.A. summa cum laude, 1984, Amherst College.
  3. Junior year at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York City, 1982-83.

Professional Bio

Christopher Reed holds a PhD in the History of Art. In the English Department, his courses focus on the relationship between literature and visual culture. Specific courses deal with the Bloomsbury group, with Japanist aesthetics, and with the emerging interdisciplinary field of Visual Studies. He also teaches courses for the Minor in Sexuality and Gender Studies.

Reed's interdisciplinary scholarship explores a wide range of topics in visual culture. He has published on topics as diverse as mass-produced paintings for interior decoration, street furniture designed to mark a gay neighborhood in Chicago, the relationship of BritishVogue to emerging forms of queer culture in the 1920s, the television show Will & Grace, and the idea of lesbian humor.

Reed’s primary scholarly focus has been on the Bloomsbury group. He has published on Roger Fry’s aesthetic theories of formalism, on their relationship to Viriginia Woolf’s textual experimentation, on Bloomsbury’s relationship to its Victorian forebears, and, most extensively, in his book Bloomsbury Rooms (Yale, 2004), on how the domestic spaces created by the Bloomsbury artists relate to the lives and work they contained.

With Nancy Green, Reed organized the exhibition A Room of Their Own: The Bloomsbury Artists in American Collections, which is accompanied by a catalog he co-edited (Cornell 2008). Reed’s other edited volumes include A Roger Fry Reader (Chicago, 1996) and Not at Home: The Suppression of Domesticity in Modern Art and Architecture (Thames and Hudson, 1996).

Reed is also the author of Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas (Oxford 2011), a wide-ranging history of the relationship between ideas about sexual identity and the identity of the artist. He is also co-author, with Christopher Castiglia, of If Memory Serves: Gay Men, AIDS, and the Promise of the Queer Past (Minnesota 2012) and several other essays on aspects of queer culture. Their chapter “Not at Home Movies,” about Cyrus Pinkham’s home movies of the 1930s, appears in the anthology Amateur Movie Making, (Indiana 2017), which won the Best Edited Collection award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Reed's anthology Queer Difficulty in Art and Poetry: Rethinking the Sexed Body in Verse and Visual Culture , co-edited with Jongwoo Jeremy Kim, was published by Routledge in 2017 (that's where the piece on lesbian humor is -- it's funny, not campy).

Reed's publications on Japanism include a translation of a novella by the illustrator Félix Régamey as The Chrysanthème Papers: The Pink Notebook of Madame Chrysanthème and other Documents of French Japonisme (Hawai’i 2010). He also co-curated, with Jonathan Abel, the 2014 exhibition Forging Alliances, which used Penn State's collections of Japanese prints and ceramics to explore the art's role in diplomacy between Japan and the United States after World War II. He also co-edited, with Nancy Green, the 2017 catalog for the exhibition JapanAmerica: Points of Contact, 1876-1970, which focused on Japan's presence at international exhibitions in the Americas. Reed's book Bachelor Japanists: Japanese Aesthetics and Western Masculinities was published in 2016 in the Modernist Latitudes Series of Columbia University Press.

In Fall 2017, Reed offered a keynote address for the conference Alma-Tadema: Antiquity at Home and Screen, sponsored by the Paul Mellon Centre and Leighton House in London; address the Reischauer Institute's Japan Forum at Harvard; and deliver the Berton Memorial Lecture on Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Although basically a cheerful person, the current academic climate prompts Reed to offer a stern notice to prospective students in his classes on sexuality and queer theory that they must be willing to engage a diversity of approaches to these topics, including discursive theories of gender/sexuality, and therefore allow for a reasoned variety of protocols of pronoun address and citation. Reed asserts his right to engage this variety as a fundamental matter of academic freedom.


Areas of Specialization

Modernist Studies
Contemporary Literature
Visual Culture

Art in modern literature and poetry, communities of artists and authors, modernist art and design, modern periodicals, the aesthetics of Japanism, queer aesthetics