History of Art and Architecture

Carolyn Wargula



Carolyn Wargula is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in pre-modern Japanese Buddhist art. Her dissertation considers the materiality, patronage, and ritual function of embroidered Buddhist images. In particular, she examines textual and visual evidence to show how women used embroidered images to literally and figuratively merge themselves with the divine, form a bond with the Buddha, and establish female presence within an otherwise male-dominated space. She has presented her research on Buddhist embroideries commissioned for Heian-period royal mothers at the Association for Asian Studies conference and her research has been supported by the Provost’s Humanities Predoctoral Fellowship (2013-2014), the Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Fellowship (2018-2019), and the Mitsubishi Graduate Fellowship (2019-2020).

Education Details

PhD (in progress), University of Pittsburgh
Dissertation Title: “Embodying the Buddha: The Presence of Women in Japanese Buddhist Embroideries”

MA, University of Pittsburgh, 2015
MA Thesis: “Legitimizing Miidera Temple: The Animated Fudō Icon and the Reemergence of the Fudō riyaku engi emaki handscroll”

BA, St. John’s University, 2013

Selected Publications

“Review of Fowler, Sherry D., Accounts and Images of Six Kannon in Japan.” H-Japan, H-Net Reviews. July 2019.

“Nihon bijutsu shiryō no gurōbaru na kyakutaika he mukete” (日本美術資料のグローバルな客体化へ向けて) (“Towards a Global Realization of Japanese Art Data”) with Cordula Treimer and Junglee Moon, in JAL Project 2015, 103-111.

“Takashi Nagai: Hope for a Defeated Nation.” Diakonos: A Journal of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies 3 (2010): 67-71.

Selected Awards

Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Doctoral Fellowship, 2018-2019

Henry Luce Foundation Grant, 2016

Graduate Paper Prize, Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies (MARAAS), 2015

Taiwan-United States Sister Relations Alliance (TUSA) Fellowship, 2014

Provost’s Humanities Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, 2013-2014

Selected Talks & Conferences

“The Power of Women in Embroidered Buddhist Images,” Kobe University, Kobe, Japan May 2019

“From Recipient to Patron: Strands of Women’s Devotion in Embroidered Buddhist Images,” Association for Asian Studies Conference, Toronto, Canada, March 2017

“Towards a Global Realization of Japanese Art Data,” JAL (Japanese Art-Librarians Project), The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan November 2015