Maya Stiller

Assistant Professor, Korean Art and Visual Culture
Primary office:
231 Spencer Museum of Art

Maya Stiller specializes in traditional Korean Buddhist art and culture. Through a combination of methodological approaches from Art History, Sociology and Religious Studies, Maya explores visual interpretations of Buddhist faith and practice; tensions between Buddhist patronage and social identity in Chosŏn period Korea; and local interactions between Buddhist and Confucian cultures. Her research projects have received support from the Korea Foundation, the Academy of Korean Studies, Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation/ACLS Program in Buddhist Studies, the Korea Institute at Harvard University, and the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies at Seoul National University.


Ph.D., Asian Languages & Cultures (Korean Buddhism), University of California, Los Angeles, 2014
Ph.D. East Asian Art History (Korean Art History), Freie Universitaet Berlin, 2008

Current Research:

Presently, Maya Stiller is conducting two discrete research projects. The first project is a case study of a Korean mountain named Kŭmgangsan that developed from a Buddhist pilgrimage site to a symbol of Korean cultural identity. The second project focuses on the regional Buddhist cultures in southern Korea, examining the contexts, motivations and implications of patronage for local monastic communities. 

Teaching Interests:

Professor Stiller teaches courses in Korean art and culture spanning a wide range of topics including Buddhist painting, Korean ceramics as well as post-colonial discourses on Korean cultural heritage and urban planning. An associated faculty member in the Center for East Asian Studies, her courses also contribute to the programs in East Asian Languages and Cultures. Her classes are organized around specific problems and current research questions. Courses are designed to engage students with Korean artifacts such as those in the Spencer Museum’s collections, and to teach students how to critically assess primary and secondary sources.

Courses offered:

HA 269: “Art & Culture of Korea”
HA 363: "Modern Korean Art & Culture"
HA 591: “Buddhist Art of Korea”
HA 591: “Korean Ceramics in East Asia”
HA 706: “Ceramics of Korea”
HA 706/906: “Korea-Japan Artistic Interactions, 300 CE – present” (co-taught with Maki Kaneko)

Professional Experience:

2013 - Present - Assistant Professor, University of Kansas
2015 - 2016 - Soon Young Kim Postdoctoral Fellow in Korean Studies, Korea Institute, Harvard University.
2012 - Junior Research Fellow, Academy of Korean Studies, Sŏngnam.
2011 - 2012 - Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Art History Institute, Kyūshū University, Fukuoka.
2010 - 2011 - Contributor, "Discover Korea! Treasures from German Museums", Korean Art Traveling Exhibition, sponsored by the Korea Foundation.
2008 - Special Researcher, Kyujanggak Archives, Seoul National University, Seoul.
2004 - 2008 - Lecturer (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin), East Asian Art History, Freie Universität Berlin.
2002 - 2003 - Contributor, "Drums of Freedom: Modern Korean Woodcut Prints", Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne.


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