Interim Director

About Walter Davis

As Interim Director of the Prince Takamado Japan Centre for Teaching and Research, Dr. Walter Davis leads the Centre’s advancement of Japan studies and its support for research that understands Japan in global, transnational, and comparative contexts.

A graduate of the University of Kansas and the Ohio State University and a former Japan Foundation Doctoral Fellow at Sophia University, Dr. Davis joined the University of Alberta in 2007. He is appointed as Associate Professor of East Asian Art History in the Department of Art and Design and the Department of East Asian Studies, teaching courses on Japanese art and culture, Chinese painting, East Asian calligraphy, Buddhist art, and the art, design, and visual culture of modern Japan. He also supervises graduate research, and in 2023 he received the Faculty of Arts Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentorship.

Professor Davis’ research focuses on Chinese and Japanese painting and calligraphy, especially their traditional forms and transnational contexts in the modern era, but it also extends to historical cartography of East Asia and modern Japanese exhibitionary culture. His publications include All under Heaven: The Chinese World in Maps, Pictures, and Texts from the Collection of Floyd Sully, which won the American Library Association’s Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab American Book Prices Current Exhibition Catalogue Award (Category 1, Expensive) for 2014, and the forthcoming monograph Culture in Common: Wang Yiting’s Art of Exchange with Japan (Brill, 2023). Professor Davis is currently co-editing (with Dr. Anne Commons) a volume of research on the supernatural in Japanese literature and art, and he is studying how such local endeavours as Japan’s Calligraphy Performance Kōshien and the projects of Benesse Art Site Naoshima undertake cultural preservation, social renewal, economic development, and internationalization.

Having previously served as Acting Director of the PTJC, Interim Chair of the Department of East Asian Studies, and Associate Chair (Undergraduate Studies) for the Department of Art and Design, Professor Davis brings extensive administrative experience to the leadership of the Centre in 2023-2024 as it develops a new strategic plan and positions itself for expansion and elevation of its mission while continuing to deliver Japan-related learning opportunities and fostering research in Japan studies and related fields.