Meghen Jones

Assistant Professor
Art History
School of Art & Design
Harder Hall, Room 285
Tue: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Mon - Fri: By Appointment
Meghen Jones


Meghen Jones's research focuses on the history of ceramics, modern art, and craft theory in Japan and in international perspective. Her current projects include co-editing the book Ceramics and Modernity in Japan; a book manuscript on the ceramics of Tomimoto Kenkichi; and curating an exhibition and catalog on tea bowls as global icons.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Material Culture
  • Buddhist Arts of Asia
  • History of Modern Design
  • Arts of Japan
  • East Asian Material Culture
  • Ceramics in Japan and Beyond
  • Cer. Art/Craft/Design: Global Flows
  • Modern Ceramics
  • B.S. Thesis Art History/Theory

Research, Publications, & Presentations


  • “Tea Bowls as National Treasures and Cultural Icons in 1950s Japan,” The Icon as Cultural Model: Past, Present and Future conference, Open University, University of Amsterdam, Jan. 25, 2018
  • "Reflections on the Current Status of Japanese Art History Studies in American Higher Education," International Conference on Japanese Cultural Studies Outside of Japan– its Current Status and Future Perspectives, University of East Anglia and the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, Norwich UK, July 12, 2017
  • "Encountering Tea Bowls in Kyoto," Japan Foundation, Kyoto, June 20, 2017
  • "The Ontology and Icon Formation of the Tea Bowl," Nichibunken Evening Seminar, International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, June 8, 2017
  • "The Politics of Japanese Ceramics in Cold War America: Displaying and Performing Pre-Modern Culture,” From “Soft” to “Hard” Power? Changing Visions of Diplomacy by Design, 1945 Onwards Symposium, University of Brighton, Nov. 27, 2015
  • "Creating a Potter's Paradise: Ceramics and Cultural Production in Modern Japan," Depauw University, Nov. 1, 2015
  • "Truth and Splendour: The Modern Porcelain of Tomimoto Kenkichi," Third Thursday Lecture, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, May 15, 2014
  • “Ushering in a ‘Fresh Spirit’ to the Kokuten and Teiten: Tomimoto Kenkichi’s Ceramics and the Discourse of Bijutsu Tōki,” The Appreciation, Theory, and Practice of Art Ceramics in Modern Japan, Association for Asian Studies Conference, Chicago, March 28
  • "Ceramics and Cultural Production in 1950s Japan," World Art Research Seminar, University of East Anglia, March 26, 2014
  • Organizer, “Ceramics, Art and Cultural Production in Modern Japan” workshop and presenter, “The Nude, the Vessel, and the Empire,” Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, May 23, 2014
  • "The 'Total Work of Craft' in 1910s Japan," The Gesamtkunstwerk: A Concept for All Times and Places, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon, March 13, 2014
  • "When Craft Became Art: Tomimoto Kenkichi and the Discourse of the Self in Early Twentieth Century Japan," Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge, Feb. 3, 2014
  • "Tomimoto Kenkichi’s Porcelain and the Body Politic in Japan, 1920s-1950s," Japan Research Seminar Lecture, SOAS, University of London, Oct. 30, 2013

Research & Publications

  • Without Making Patterns from Patterns: Tomimoto Kenkichi and the Art of Modern Japanese Ceramics (in progress)
  • Co-editor, with Louise Cort, Ceramics and Modernity in Japan, Routledge, expected publication 2019
  • “The Tea Bowl as National Treasure and Modern Icon” (book chapter in progress)
  • “Clothing the Modern Ceramic Body: Form, Surface, and the Echoes of Tomimoto Kenkichi,” catalog essay in progress
  • “American Potters’ Interventions with the Tea Bowl: Using Thing Theory to Problematize Cultural Appropriation,” in Conference Proceedings, Back to the Future. The Future in the Past, ICDHS 10th + 1, ed. Oriol Moret, Barcelona: University of Barcelona, 2018.
  • “Materiality and the Language of Contemporary Japanese Ceramic Expression,” in Jill Deupi, ed., Hands and Earth: Ceramics from the Horvitz Collection. University of Miami: Lowe Art Museum, 2018.
  • “Hamada Shōji, Kitaōji Rosanjin and the Reception of Japanese Pottery in the Early Cold War United States,” Design and Culture 9:2, July 2017
  • Review of Imitation and Creativity in Japanese Arts: From Kishida Ryūsei to Miyazaki Hayao, by Michael Lucken, in Journal of Japanese Studies 44:1, winter 2018
  • Translations of Kawai Kanjiro, “Work,” “Vigilance,” and selections from Windows of Life, in Kawai Kanjiro: kako ga saite iru ima, mirai no tsubomi de ippaina ima botsugo 50 nen, ed. Sagi Tamei. Mainichi Press, 2016.
  • Translation, Hattori Fumitaka, “Seto Ware,” Nakamura Taichi, “Kutani Ware,” Oguri Yasuhiro, “Tokoname Ware” and Yokobori Satoshi, “Mashiko Ware” articles for “Made in Japan” site, Google Cultural Institute, 2016
  • “An Orthodoxy of Praxis: Janet Leach and the Ethos of Tamba Ceramics,” in Ezra Shales, ed., O Pioneers! Women Ceramic Artists, 1925¬–1960, Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, 2015. Alfred Ceramic Art Museum In Ezra Shales, ed., O Pioneers! Women Ceramic Artists, 1925-1960 2015
  • "Tomimoto Kenkichi to futari no kenzan tono kakawari ni tsuite" [The Relationship between Tomimoto Kenkichi and the Two Kenzans]," in Toyo toji gakkai kaiho [Report of the Oriental Ceramics Society]. Feb. 2010
  • "Amerika ni okeru nihon kindai togei no gainen keisei - Hamada to Rosanjin no yuisei" [The Dominance of Hamada and Rosanjin in American Perceptions of Modern Japanese Ceramics]. In Gendai no me / Newsletter of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. April-Mary, 2009.
  • “Mit dem Auge des Ego den Tom im Visier: Japanische Keramik des 20.Jahrhunderts und das Individuum” [The Eye of the Ego Looks to Clay: Twentieth-century Japanese Ceramics and the Individual,] in Stephan von der Schulenburg, ed., Faszination Keramik: Moderne japanische Meisterwerke in Ton aus der Sammlung Gisela Freudenberg [The Fascination of Ceramics: Masterpieces of Modern Japanese Pottery from the Gisela Freudenberg Collection], Frankfurt: Museum für Angewandte Kunst, 2005 (German/English) Museum für Angewandte Kunst In Stephan von der Schulenburg, ed., Faszination Keramik: Moderne japanische Meisterwerke in Ton aus der Sammlung Gisela Freudenberg [The Fascination of Ceramics: Masterpieces of Modern Japanese Pottery from the Gisela Freudenberg Collection] 2005
  • “Byodoin,” “Japanese Decorative Arts,” “Korean Art,” and “Persian Miniatures,” in Ann Landi, ed., Schirmer Encyclopedia of Art, New York: Schirmer’s, 2001. Schirmer’s In in Ann Landi, ed., Schirmer Encyclopedia of Art 2001



Committee on Design, College Art Association, 2019–

Research group member, Letters between Bernard Leach and Tomimoto Kenkichi in the Kyoto City University of Arts Collection Project, 2015–

Treasurer, Japan Art History Forum, 2015–2018

Manuscript reviewer: Routledge, 2017; Bloomsbury, 2016

Article reviewer: Japan Review, 2017; ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 2017; Bulletin of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 2013

Board of Directors, Studio Potter journal, 2002–2008



Director of Global Studies, 2018–

Graduate Advisory Council, 2017–18

Portfolio Committee, 2016–

Faculty Advisor, Art History Club, 2015­–

Marlin Miller Outstanding Senior Awards Committee, 2015–17

Visiting Artists and Scholars Committee, 2015–2016

Senior thesis adviser: 2015, 2019

Juror, Variance: Survey of Graduate Student Work, Alfred Ceramics exhibition, The Wurks, Providence, RI, March 25–28, 2015

Representative at National Portfolio Days: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Alfred Research Grants for Undergraduate Studies Committee, 2014–17