Philip Charrier

Department Head; Associate Professor
Ph.D (Cambridge University); MA (University of Toronto); BA Honours (Carleton University)

Office: AH 410.1
Phone: 306-585-4215

Research interests

  • Contemporary Japanese History
  • Visual Culture
  • Processes of Modernization and Development in Asia.

Short Bio

Dr. Charrier specializes in processes of modernization and development in Asia, with particular focus upon visual culture in twentieth century Japan. His research addresses the tensions between artistic and documentary modes of photographic and cinematic expression, individual creativity and the broader influence of socio-cultural context, intention and reception, subjectivism and anti-subjectivism, and ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ cultural historical constructs (especially with reference to cultural borrowing).


Dr Charrier has published widely in the areas of photography studies and visual culture. His current research explores contested notions of documentary ‘truth’ in relation to Peter Beard’s foundational work of environmental photography The End of the Game: The Last Word from Paradise. A second project examines George Bataille’s thought on Lascaux as an epistemically transformative experience that photographs can commemorate but not replicate.

Courses Taught

HIST 250:  Modern Dragons: Revolutionary China and Japan
HIST 255:  Japan of the Samurai
HIST 256:  Modern Japan
HIST 352:  Shanghai and Tokyo
HIST 356:  The Japanese Empire in China, Korea and Taiwan: 1895-1945
HIST 390 AQ: Memory and Place in Asia: Sites of Commemoration, Spirituality and Meaning
HIST 450:  Modernity in Asia
ASIA 396:  Hands on China (Study Abroad Course)
IS 300 AD:  Changing China: Modernity & Ethnicity in Metropolis and Hinterland (Study Abroad Course)

Recent Publications

2022. The Trans Body in Christer Strömholm’s Vännerna Från Place Blanche (1981), Photographies 15(1), co-   authored with Shantel LaBar, forthcoming.

2021. The Photographic Gaze Meets the Medical Gaze: Two Cross-Dressing Men in Christer Strömholm’s Place Blanche, Photography and Culture 14(1): 51-70.

2020. Nakahira Takuma’s ‘Why an Illustrated Botanical Dictionary?’ (1973) and the Quest for ‘True’ Photographic Realism in Post-War Japan, Japan Forum, 32(1): 56-82.

2017. Taki Kōji, Provoke, and the Structuralist Turn in Japanese Image Theory, 1967-70, History of Photography 41(1): 25-43.

2014. Fuchikami Hakuyō and the ‘Manchukuo Pastoral’ in Japanese Art Photography, Japanese Studies 34(2): 169-92.

Awards and Distinctions

Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching (2010)