Dr. David Odo is the Director of Academic and Public Programs, Division Head and Research Curator 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 oversees the Museums’ academic and public engagement programs, working closely with colleagues from all divisions of the Museums and faculty from across the university to provide academic and public audiences with opportunities to explore the collections. This includes Harvard University course collaborations, student programs, and public education at the museums.
Odo received his D.Phil. 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.
Prior to his current position, Odo was Bradley Assistant Curator of Academic Affairs at the Yale University Art Gallery and Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, Yale University, and previously worked in television in Honolulu and Washington, D.C.