Maya Stiller

Associate Professor, Korean Art and Visual Culture
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Primary office:
231 Spencer Museum of Art


Professor Maya Stiller was born and raised in Berlin, Germany, and has lived and worked in Europe, East Asia, and the East Coast, West Coast, and Midwestern United States. With a double major in Korean Studies and Art History, she spent several years living and studying in Korea and Japan, followed by a doctorate in East Asian Art history from Freie Universität Berlin. She came to the United States in 2008 to study Korean Buddhism and received a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies and Korean History from UCLA in 2014. Her most recent articles have been published in the Journal of Asian Studies, the Journal of Korean Religions, and Cahiers d'Extreme-Asie. Her research projects have received support from the ACLS/Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, the Korea Institute at Harvard University, the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies at Seoul National University, and the Academy of Korean Studies.

The courses offered by Professor Stiller cover a broad variety of subjects including Buddhist art, Korean ceramics as well as post-colonial discourses on Korean cultural heritage, pop culture and Digital Humanities. 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 structured around specific problems and current research questions. Courses are designed to engage students with Korean artifacts found in the collections of the Spencer Research Library and the Spencer Museum of Art, and to teach students how to critically examine primary and secondary sources.

Prospective Graduate Students: If interested in the program, please do not hesitate to email me directly. I am interested in advising students working in all periods of Korean art history, ancient to contemporary. A great academic community and departmental funding for doctoral research make KU an excellent choice for obtaining a graduate degree.


Ph.D., Asian Languages & Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles, 2014
Dr. phil., East Asian Art History, Freie Universität Berlin, 2008
Mag. (B.A.+M.A.), Korean Studies/Art History, Humboldt Universität Berlin, 2003

Academic Positions

2020 – Present: Associate Professor, University of Kansas
2013 – 2020: Assistant Professor, University of Kansas
2016 – 2018: ACLS/The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
2015 – 2016: Soon Young Kim Postdoctoral Fellow, Korea Institute, Harvard University
2012: Junior Research Fellow, Academy of Korean Studies
2011 – 2012: Research Fellow, Kyūshū University
2008: Special Researcher, Kyujanggak Archives, Seoul National University
2004 – 2008: Lecturer, East Asian Art History, Freie Universität Berlin

Selected Publications

Carvers of Memory: Pilgrimages to Kŭmgangsan in Late Chosŏn Korea. Seattle: University of Washington Press, forthcoming.

"Beyond Singular Traditions – 'Buddhist' Pilgrimage Sites in Late Chosŏn Korea." Journal of Korean Religions 11, no. 2 (2020): TBD.

"Buddhist Art and Architecture in Korea." In Oxford Bibliographies in Buddhism, edited by Richard Payne. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

"Slaves, Village Headmen, and Aristocrats: Patronage and Functions of Buddhist Sculpture Burials in Late Koryŏ and Early Chosŏn Korea." Cahiers d’Extreme-Asie (12/2019): 265-291.

“The Politics of Commemoration: Patronage of Monk-General Shrines in Late Chosŏn Korea.” The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 77, issue 1 (2018): 83-105.

“Han'guk kosŭng chin'yŏng ŭi t'ŭk'sŏng kwa kinŭng: Specific Aspects and Functions of Korean Monk Portraits." In: Maŭmi kot puch'ŏ, chŭksim sibul - Buddha in the Heart, ed. Kwangju National Museum, 236-245. Kwangju: Kwangju National Museum, 2017. In Korean. Available for download at

“Gim Hong-do’s Album of Geumgangsan and the Four Prefectures (Geumgang sagun cheop 金剛四郡帖, 1788): A Visual Record of Late Joseon Travel Culture.” In 60 Jahre – 60 Werke: Festschrift für Prof. Jeong-hee Lee-Kalisch, ed. A. Bergmann, S.-L. Hertel, J. Noth, A. Papist-Matsuo, W. Schrape, 152-157. Weimar: VDG, 2015.

Thirty-nine entries (Buddhist art-historical terminology, places, names). In Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, ed. R. Buswell & D. Lopez, eds. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Courses Taught

Graduate Seminars
The Economics of Buddhist Art in East Asia (co-taught with Amy McNair)
Sacred Sites in East Asia (co-taught with Amy McNair)
Buddhist Art of Korea: Faith, Power and Paradise
Korea-Japan Artistic Interactions, 300 CE – present (co-taught with Maki Kaneko)
Korean Ceramics in East Asia
Digital Humanities for (Art) Historians

Undergraduate Classes
Buddhist Art of Korea
Ceramics of East Asia
Ceramic Arts of Korea – Placenta Jars, Pottery Wars and Tea Culture
Modern Korean Art & Culture

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