Cultures of Occupation in Twentieth Century Asia (COTCA)

Project team

Project director

Professor Jeremy E Taylor is the Director of the COTCA Project. He is a cultural historian with an interest in modern east and Southeast Asia. He is the author of over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters on topics ranging from wartime cartooning to architectural heritage. His books include Rethinking Transnational Chinese Cinemas: The Amoy-dialect Film Industry in Cold War Asia (Routledge 2011), Iconographies of Occupation: Visual Cultures in Wang Jingwei’s China, 1939-1945 (Hawaii 2021), Visual Histories of Occupation: A Transcultural Dialogue (Bloomsbury 2021) and (with Lanjun Xu), Chineseness and the Cold War: Contested Cultures and Diaspora in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong (Routledge 2021). A graduate of the University of Sydney and the Australian National University (where he was a university medallist), Professor Taylor has been based at the University of Nottingham since 2012. 

JT cropped (002)


Research Associates

Dr David Baillargeon is an Assistant Professor in History at the University of Texas, Arlington (having served as an ERC Research Fellow on the COTCA Project through until December 2020). He completed his PhD in Modern British History from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018. His dissertation, entitled “A Burmese Wonderland: British World Mining and the Making of Colonial Burma”, focuses on the Burma Corporation, a transnational mining corporation whose operations were located in the Northern Shan States of British Burma during the early twentieth century. Since then, he has published on the spatial and social history of Southeast Asia in Abolition and Slavery, the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History and the Journal of Historical Geography.


Stephanie Benzaquen-Gautier
Dr Stéphanie Benzaquen-Gautier is an art historian. She received her PhD at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (‘Images of Khmer Rouge atrocities, 1975-2015’), and was associate researcher at the university’s Centre for Historical Culture for several years. Her research interests include visual culture and the representation of large-scale and structural violence and human rights, documentary and artistic practices in the context of memory politics, ghosts and haunting, with a focus on Southeast Asia. Stéphanie also works as curator and has organised exhibitions and events in various countries. She has conducted research as Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien and the ICI Institute for Cultural Inquiry in Berlin (2018-2019), the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC (2012), the Stone Summer Theory Institute at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago (2010), and at the Theory Department at Jan van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands (2005-2006). She is co-founder of the international research group DK-Memosis, dedicated to the study of memorialisation in Cambodia. Her work has appeared in Cinéma & Cie, Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust, Mémoires en Jeu, Journal of Perpetrator Studies, Kunstlicht, and Media, Culture & Society.

PhD students

Dr Kimberley Weir obtained an undergraduate degree in American and English Studies at University of Nottingham, then completed a Masters in Art Gallery and Museum Studies at the University of Manchester. She completed her ERC-funded PhD at COTCA in 2022. Her thesis was entitled ‘A Heritage of Freedom: Monuments and the American legacy in the Philippine memoryscape, 1898-1978’.

Kimberly Weir


Laura Schroeder

Dr L. Odila Schroeder joined the COTCA project in 2017 and completed her ERC-funded PhD in 2022. She studied Chinese, Political Science and the History of Science at Heidelberg and Cambridge, and holds an MA in Chinese and Transcultural Studies from Heidelberg University. During her studies, she has also worked to promote Chinese language education, monitored socioeconomic conflicts in China for the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research, and studied the reception of European music theory in 20th century China. Her COTCA PhD project was entitled ‘Treasonous Repertoires: Performing Collaboration and Musical Life in Japanese-occupied Beijing, 1937-1945’.



Vivien Chan is a design historian and design practitioner. She studied Illustration and Animation at Kingston University before completing a Masters in History of Design at the Royal College of Art and the Victoria & Albert Museum. During her studies, she worked as a freelance illustrator and filmmaker, as well as producing several online and print publications on design history and its interdisciplinary approaches. More recently, she lectured in Design Studies at Nottingham Trent University, and represents the Design History Society as Ambassador. Her PhD (under the 'Spaces of Occupation' stream) explores Hong Kong’s spaces of leisure and consumption from the 1950s to 1980s, considering their role in the everyday life of the city during British colonial rule.
Vivien Chan


Cultures of Occupation in Twentieth Century Asia (COTCA)

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 5845