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Dr. Sean H. McPherson

headshot photo of Dr. Sean H. McPherson
Associate Professor of Art History; Coordinator, Asian Studies Program
Tillinghast Hall, Room 200
BA, Williams College
M.Arch, PhD, University of California at Berkeley

Sean H. McPherson joined the Department of Art & Art History in 2013. A former carpenter and professional architect who began his design training at the Nagoya Institute of Technology in Nagoya, Japan, McPherson completed his undergraduate BA in Political Science at Williams College, before earning his M.Arch in architectural design and structural engineering, as well as a PhD in architectural history and Japanese art history at UC Berkeley. He teaches introductory courses in the art and architecture of Asia, Buddhist material and visual culture, and the global history of architecture, as well as directed studies on diverse topics.  

As Coordinator of BSU’s Asian Studies Program, McPherson focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration with BSU faculty, staff and students to foster interest in the histories, material and visual cultures and societies of Asia, including attention to regional and global patterns of cultural, economic, political and religious exchange.

McPherson continues to serve as founding Faculty Advisor to the Gen.One student group, and founding member of the faculty-student-staff group Class Beyond the Classroom (CBtC), groups in which he collaborates to advocate at BSU for increased higher education access and success for students from first-generation and working-class backgrounds. Beyond BSU, McPherson is the founder of the Asian American & Diasporic Architectural History Affiliate Group of the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), where he has also served as an SAH Board Member, and as a founding member of the SAH IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accountability and Sustainability) Committee. He is the co-PI of a collaborative grant initiative with the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum that produced the study “In Search of Asian American/Pacific Islander Architects and Designers" that aims to increase the collecting, study and exhibition of Asian American designers and architects. 

Area of Expertise

Art & Architectural History of East Asia (Japan, Korea, China); Asian material and visual culture; issues of gender, social status and class in East Asian art history; history and theory of historic preservation in the US; Japanese American cultural landscapes; Japanese cultural history; global architectural history; structural engineering and architectural design; Asian American visual and material culture.