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Professor of History and Asian Studies; Chair of the Department of Asian Studies (Joint appointment with Asian Studies)
New West 121
(919) 843-5561
Department of Asian Studies Profile
mpitelka@unc.edu
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Research Interests

I am a specialist in the history of late medieval and early modern Japan, with a focus on the samurai, tea culture, ceramics, cities, and material culture.

Some Notable Publications

  • Reading Medieval Ruins: Urban Life and Destruction in Sixteenth-Century Japan. Cambridge University Press, 2021.
  • Letters from Japan’s Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: The Correspondence of Warlords, Tea, Masters, Zen Priests, and Aristocrats, with Reiko Tanimura and Masuda Takashi. University of California, Berkeley, IEAS Publications, 2021.
  • Spectacular Accumulation: Material Culture, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Samurai Sociability. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press, 2016. Winner, 2016 Book Prize, Southeastern Conference of the Association of Asian Studies.
  • Kyoto Visual Culture in the Early Edo and Meiji Periods: The Arts of Reinvention. Co-edited with Alice Tseng. New York: Routledge, 2016.
  • What’s the Use of Art? Asian Visual and Material Culture in Context. Co-edited with Jan Mrazek. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press, 2007.
  • Handmade Culture: Raku Potters, Patrons, and Tea Practitioners in Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005.
  • Japanese Tea Culture: Art, History, and Practice. Editor. London and New York: Routledge, 2003; paperback edition, 2007.

Graduate Students

  • Megan McClory
  • Morgan Wilson (Co-Advised with Susan Dabney Pennybacker)
  • Courses Taught (as schedule allows)

    For current information about course offerings, click here.

    • ASIA 63: First-Year Seminar: Japanese Tea Culture
    • JAPN 231: Ancient and Medieval Japanese History and Culture
    • JAPN 246: Early Modern Japanese History and Culture
    • JAPN 363: Samurai, Monks, and Pirates: History and Historiography of Japan’s Long Sixteenth Century
    • JAPN 451: Swords, Tea Bowls, and Woodblock Prints: Exploring Japanese Material Culture
    • HIST 890: Material Culture and Material histories