About

My name is Gu Jiangtao. I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester. My doctoral thesis “China in Prospects: Photographs of Empire to Nation State, 1856-1913” examines the introduction of photography to China from Britain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. I am particularly interested in how ideas of the sovereign Chinese nation-state evolved out of these transcultural encounters. In answering this question, I find that the genre of photographs known as landscape “prospects” is key in this process. My dissertation thus investigates how both British and Chinese photographs practiced the genre for purposes of imperial war, geographic explorations, social reforms, and revolutions. My research has received support from the Social Science Research Council and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. I also teach, present, and publish frequently as a queer activist, art critic, and Digital Humanist.