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Porcelain is so ubiquitous today that we hardly remark on its presence in our lives. But in the early modern world, the consumer demand for objects made of this rare Chinese material drove explorers on dangerous journeys across oceans, inspired samurai to kidnap humble artisans, entangled missionaries in networks of industrial espionage, and laid the groundwork for today's global economy. Touching on these issues and more, this lecture will, at the very least, have you looking at your humble coffee mug in a new light.

Michael Hatch is Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture History and teaches the history of East Asian Art. Professor Hatch has published in numerous exhibition catalogs and academic journals on the history of Chinese painting. He has written art criticism for The Brooklyn Rail, Artforum International,, and Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. From 2006 to 2008 he lived in Beijing, where he was a client relations officer at China’s preeminent auction house, China Guardian, and before that he worked in New York at Kaikodo Gallery.

Objects that Changed the World is a new collaboration between the Miami University Humanities Center and the Alumni Association. Featuring Miami’s nationally recognized faculty in the humanities, each lecture is inspired by an object of such prevalence today it might be easily overlooked and develops original insights and novel lessons about the object in question. We invite all alumni to reconnect with faculty and to show their support for the Humanities Center’s mission to advocate for the central place of the humanities in both the university and wider society. 

To donate and become a Friend of the Humanities Center, click here.


Dial-In Information

Register for this lecture here. Please reach out to J.J. Slager,, with questions.  

Wednesday, April 7 at 6:00pm

Virtual Event
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Lectures & Presentations

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Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, General Public

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Arts & Humanities


Alumni Association, Humanities Center
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