Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Doreen Müller

University Lecturer Japanese Art and Material Culture

Dr. D. Müller
+31 71 527 4954

I am an historian of the visual arts and material culture of Japan. My research addresses the interaction of images and text in the narrative scroll tradition and in printed media in early modern Japan. I investigate how traditional forms of representation were adapted to constructing new subjectivities in response to the experience of historical realities in nineteenth-century Japan. My thesis showed how pictorial narratives constructed the benevolent agency of townspeople by commemorating their charitable activities toward rural famine migrants and urban poor in 1830s-Kyoto.

More information about Doreen Müller

Current Research

My research highlights the relation between cultural practices of representation and the impending modernity in nineteenth-century Japan. External threats, domestic political and economic crises revealed a growing gap between established ideals and realities, leading to the perceived need for new epistemologies. This manifested itself in a renegotiation of existing traditions of representation and narration, growing eclecticism and opportunities for personal choices in representation and interpretation by artists and audiences. My recent research explores these issues with a focus on revival yamato-e painting and the Maruyama-Shijo tradition of painting in nineteenth-century Kyoto.
Another focus of my research is popular media, exploring how people made sense of increasingly diverse information, circulated through printed broadsheets, free pamphlets, printed books and manuscripts. I investigate narrative strategies such as editing and pasting as cultural practices that helped people use these media to construct subjective positions toward contemporary realities. My recent article for the SOAS Centenary Exhibition (2017) also explores the multisensorial nature of popular printed media by showing their link to sound and performance.

Workshop Organisation

I regularly organise paleographic workshops focusing on reading early modern manuscripts and prints. In 2015, I co-organised an international symposium on the agency of media in early modern Japan and approaches to interpreting these as primary sources for research in the social and human sciences.


Arts and Material Culture of Japan (BA Japan Studies)
Popular Art and Culture in Edo Japan (BA Japan Studies)
Methods Visual Analysis (MA Asian Studies)

Curriculum vitae


2016, PhD History of Art and Archaeology (SOAS, University of London)
2006, MA History of Art and Archaeology (SOAS, University of London)
2005, BA Japanese and History of Art and Archaeology (SOAS, University of London)


Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, SOAS, University of London (2012 – 2017)
Curatorial Assistant, SOAS Centenary Exhibition, curated by Anna Contadini, Celebrating Art and Music: The SOAS Collections (2016 – 2017)
Visiting Research Fellow, Kansai University Research Center for Naniwa-Osaka Cultural Heritage Studies (2009)

University Lecturer Japanese Art and Material Culture

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS Japan


  • No relevant ancillary activities
This website uses cookies.  More information.