Dr Alice Tseng wearing a dark suit and white shirt. She is standing outside, in the foreground of of an autumnal, tree-lined, wide sidewalk.

CAS Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Humanities, Professor; Japanese Art & Architecture


Email Office Hours
aytseng@bu.edu Thursday 1:00-2:00pm (in person)

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Alice Y. Tseng is Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Humanities and Professor of Japanese Art and Architecture in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Boston University. From 2016 to 2021, Tseng chaired the department. An active contributor to the fields of architectural history, art history, and Japan studies, she has been a member of the editorial boards of Japan Architectural Review, Journal of Japanese Studies, and ArchitectureBoston; she was also elected to the Northeast Asia Council (NEAC) of the Association for Asian Studies. Tseng is currently the editor in chief of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (JSAH).

Tseng specializes in the art and architecture of Japan, with particular focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. Specific topics of research interest are the history of institutional buildings, collections, and exhibitions; transnational and transcultural connections between Japan and Euro-America; the role of the visual arts in cultural transformation, invention, and revival; historic cities and urban identities; and the visual and spatial representations of Japan’s modern monarchy.

Tseng has received fellowships from numerous institutions and foundations, including the Fulbright Foundation, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (National Gallery of Art), J. Paul Getty Foundation, Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, American Council of Learned Societies, and Boston University Center for the Humanities. She is the author of The Imperial Museums of Meiji Japan: Architecture and the Art of the Nation (2008), Kyoto Visual Culture in the Early Edo and Meiji Periods: The Arts of Reinvention (co-edited with M. Pitelka, 2016), and Modern Kyoto: Building for Ceremony and Commemoration, 1868-1940 (2018). Her research has appeared in major disciplinary journals, including the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, the Art Bulletin, the Review of Japanese Culture and Society, and the Journal of Japanese Studies. For her publications, Tseng has received the Society of Architectural Historians Founder’s Award (2006) and the inaugural Kenneth B. Pyle Prize for the Best Article in the Journal of Japanese Studies (2021).

She is a co-curator of the online exhibition Asia at the World’s Fairs. A current book project, tentatively titled “Japan in St. Louis: Transnational Exhibition and Architecture at the 1904 World’s Fair,” investigates the building of Japanese-American cultural relations at the turn of the new century, focusing on the political, artistic, and racial frictions driving the representations of Japan at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. Another ongoing project explores the twinned concepts of emperor and empire and their manifestations in built environments.

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Publications

“Imperial Portraiture and Popular Print Media in Early Twentieth-Century Japan.”
Journal of Japanese Studies (summer 2020): 305-344.

Imperial Museums of Meiji Japan: Architecture and the Art of the Nation.
University of Washington Press, 2008.

The Kyoto Visual Culture in the Early Edo and Meiji Periods: The Arts of Reinvention.
co-edited with M. Pitelka. Routledge, 2016
Modern Kyoto: Building for Ceremony and Commemoration, 1868-1940.
University of Hawaii Press, 2018.