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David Odo is the Bradley Assistant Curator of Academic Affairs at the Yale University Art Gallery.
My doctoral training was in social and cultural anthropology at the University of Oxford, where I focused on the study of early photographs, especially images made in Japan. I continue to pursue research on early Japanese photography, and currently have two publications in press related to this interest.
I work in one of the world’s great university art museums, where I collaborate with Yale faculty from across the disciplines and my curatorial colleagues throughout the Gallery’s 10 different collecting departments to bring students into the museum to study our collections.
Prior to coming to the Gallery, I was Lecturer on Anthropology at Harvard University, where I mainly taught courses relating to visual and material culture, often using the collections of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. At Harvard, I was also a Visiting Curator at the Peabody Museum, where I curated an exhibition on the museum’s collection of early photographs of Japan, “A Good Type”: Tourism and Science in Early Japanese Photographs. I also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard’s Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies.
I have held research fellowships at the Freer Gallery of Art/Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Smithsonian Institution), the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, and the University of Tokyo, all relating to my longstanding interest in early photography of Japan, Japanese colonialism, museums, and archival collections.
I completed my undergraduate education with a specialization in East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University, and a master’s degree at the University of Oxford (St. Antony’s College) in Ethnology and Museum Ethnography.
My current projects include: a monograph about photography and the Japanese colonization of the Ogasawara Islands, which was originally settled by a cosmopolitan group of people who established a permanent whaling colony there in 1830; developing partnerships with colleagues in science disciplines to find meaningful ways to connect science students with the Gallery’s art collections; and working with colleagues at the museum to host a major conference on academic museums to be held at Yale in 2014.