Incoming Graduate Students

This article first appeared in ISAW Newsletter 19, Fall 2017.

Kexin Dai
I received a B.A. in Art History from UCLA in 2016 and an M.A. in Art History from Courtauld Institute of Art (London) in 2017. During my time at UCLA, I worked as a research assistant and 3D molder in “Paris Past and Present,” a digital humanities project to reconstruct lost monuments from medieval Paris, during which I developed an interest in the use of digital tools in opening up new research opportunities in art historical/archeological studies. I am particularly interested in religious art and architecture, as well as the movement and metamorphosis, appropriation and re-appropriation of a single visual motif throughout cultural and architectural spaces in Asian art. Having studied Victorian art and society at Courtauld Institute of Art, I am also interested in 19th-century antiquarianism in visual arts. At ISAW, I plan to continue acquiring relevant knowledge and digital skills to explore the rich religious arts in the Dunhuang Caves and along the Silk Road, which testify to the cross-regional transmission of visual motifs and knowledge.

Amber Jacob
I received my B.A. in Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies at the University of British Columbia in 2013 and my M.A. at the University of Copenhagen in 2016. My undergraduate studies focused largely on Greek philosophical and scientific (especially alchemical) literature and the contact and transmission of Greek and Egyptian knowledge. During my M.A., I pursued Egyptian philology, literature, and papyrology, specializing in late Egyptian language (particularly Demotic) and critical analysis of textual traditions. I also studied papyrus conservation in the Papyrus Carlsberg Collection and worked in the archives of the Collection. In my senior year, I returned my attention to the subject of early scientific thought through a study of Egyptian medicine, wherein I completed a text edition of an unpublished Demotic medical treatise from the ancient city of Tebtunis housed in the Papyrus Carlsberg Collection for my M.A. thesis. Through my doctoral work at ISAW, I intend to pursue my interest in ancient science by opening up new avenues of research in ancient medicine through a comparative study of ancient Greek and Egyptian medical practice in Graeco-Roman Egypt.

Katherine Thomson
I hold a B.A. with Honors in Ancient History from the Australian National University and an M.Phil. in Economic and Social History from the University of Oxford. My interests center on the development of fiscal and monetary institutions in the ancient world and include premodern economic history and currency debasement. My goal at ISAW is to better understand the drivers of state currency manipulation in premodern economies.

Zhonglin Zhang
I received my M.A. in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture at the Bard Graduate Center and hold a B.A. in Art History with a minor in Italian at Mount Holyoke College. I wrote my M.A. thesis on a group of four Western Han gilt-bronze horse frontlets with distinctive designs of hybrid animal with contorted body, aiming to reexamine the visual representation and transmission routes of these objects and to understand their significance in Western Han funerary context. During my time at the BGC and after graduation, I worked as a curatorial intern and later as a research associate in the Asian Art Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the exhibition Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 B.C.-A.D. 220). At ISAW, I intend to further investigate the transmission and transformation of knowledge and material in China, with particular attention to encounters and interactions along the Chinese frontiers and how they facilitate the exchange and change of both trends in metaphysical thinking and tastes in visual and material culture.

Four women stand and pose for a photograph in a wood-paneled room with bookshelves. Incoming ISAW Graduate Students. (L to R): Katherine Thomson, Amber Jacob, Zhonglin Zhang, Kexin Dai