Steffani Bennett, Ph.D. 2020
Steffani Bennett graduated with honors from the University of Washington with a major in art history and a minor in Japanese language. She entered the Ph.D. program at Harvard in 2012 in the field of Japanese art history. Steffani specializes in pre-modern Japanese painting, focusing on the history and development of ink painting and Chinese-style painting of the Muromachi period (1334-1573). Within this realm, Steffani is especially interested in East Asian cross-cultural exchange, particularly the reception, adaption, and transformation of Chinese artistic practices and material cultural in medieval Japan. Steffani is currently writing a dissertation on the fifteenth-century monk painter Sesshū Tōyō (1420-1506) and his journey to Ming China between 1467 and 1469. Her research explores the historical circumstances and context of Sesshū’s sojourn and the myriad means by which Sesshū’s encounter with Ming dynasty (1368-1644) art, society, and culture shaped his painting and painterly identity in unforeseen and profound ways. Steffani’s research in Japan has been generously supported by a Fulbright IIE doctoral research grant (2015-2016) and a Japan Foundation fellowship (2016-2017). Her current research in China is aided by a grant from the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies (2017-2018).