Dr. David Odo is the Director of Student Programs and Research Curator of University Collections Initiatives at the Harvard Art Museums. He is a visual and material anthropologist, with primary research and teaching interests in the anthropology of art, especially early Japanese photography.
Odo received his MPhil and DPhil in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oxford, and his AB from Columbia University in East Asian Studies, and has held numerous research fellowships, including at Harvard University, the Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian Institution, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, and the University of Tokyo. His primary research and teaching interests are in the anthropology of art, and include early photography (especially of Japan), critical museology, and objects of colonial encounter. He has lectured and published widely on early Japanese photography, and has recently published a book related to this interest. His current project is a monograph about photography and history in Japan’s Ogasawara Islands, which examines photographs and other visual images related to the Japanese colonization of the islands and their cosmopolitan population from the 1830s until the present day.
Odo teaches with the collections of the Harvard Art Museums, where he works closely with colleagues from all divisions of the museums and faculty from across the university to provide students with opportunities to explore the collections. He oversees the Graduate Student Teacher Internship program, which trains students from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to teach high school students from the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School with the museums' collections, and the undergraduate Student Guide program, which teaches Harvard College students to develop tours for museum visitors.
- The Journey of “A Good Type”: from artistry to ethnography in early Japanese photographs, Cambridge: Peabody Museum Press/Harvard University, 2015.
- Unknown Japan: reconsidering nineteenth-century photographs, Rijksmuseum Studies in Photography, V. 4, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2008.
- “Curating ‘A Good Type’.” In Uncertain Images: Museums and the Work of Photographs, edited by Elizabeth Edwards and Sigrid Lien. Surrey, England: Ashgate, 2014.
- ‘Expeditionary Photographs of the Ogasawara Islands, 1875-1876’, History of Photography, 2009, 33 (2), pp185-208.