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 scholarly field of Visual Culture. 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, and the television show Will & Grace.
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), wide-ranging history of the relationship between ideas about sexual identity and the identity of the artist. In 2012 he published another book on history and sexual identity, If Memory Serves: Gay Men, AIDS, and the Promise of the Queer Past (Minnesota 2012), co-authored with Christopher Castiglia.
Reed published 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), and co-curated 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. His book Bachelor Japanists: Japanese Aesthetics and Western Masculinities is forthcoming in the Modernist Latitudes Series of Columbia University Press.
- Not at Home: The Suppression of Domesticity in Modern Art and Architecture (1996)
- A Roger Fry Reader (1996)
- Bloomsbury Rooms (2004)
- A Room of Their Own: The Bloomsbury Artists in American Collections (2008)
- The Chrysanthème Papers: (2010)