Shuishan Yu

Shuishan Yu

yu photo

Shuishan Yu
Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Art History

Oakland University's Shuishan Yu, Ph.D., is something of a renaissance man. Born in Shandong, China, Dr. Yu brought his love of art and music to the United States in 1999, where he completed his doctorate at the University of Washington, in Seattle. He came to Oakland in 2006 as an assistant professor of art history and currently teaches courses in Chinese art and architecture, Japanese art, Buddhist art and architecture, Asian and Islamic Art, and an international studies course on China.

Along with his teaching and research activities, Dr. Yu is also an artist, curator, author, architect and musician. His forthcoming book "Chang'an Avenue and the Modernization of Chinese Architecture" examines one of China's most historically significant places and is the first book to be published on the subject. He also has penned numerous book chapters, articles, conference papers and book reviews on Chinese art, architecture and music.

Dr. Yu has traveled throughout Europe and Asia, studying some of the world's finest architecture. He spent a decade studying in Beijing and twice visited Tibet to conduct research for his master's thesis on the region’s art and architecture. For two years, he was a practicing architect in the Ministry of Construction Architectural Design Institute in Beijing.

But Dr. Yu isn't just a prolific writer and researcher. In 2009, he curated and participated in an art exhibition at the Oakland University Art Gallery. The collection featured historical and contemporary Chinese Literati art, including a piece he created entitled “Bamboo Album.” He also contributed to the Oakland University Biennial Faculty Exhibition showcased in 2010.

An avid musician, Dr. Yu is a fourth generation Mei’an School guqin player. The guqin, a seven-stringed instrument dating back to the times of Confucius, is considered a symbol of traditional Chinese music and culture. In 2009, Dr. Yu founded the North America Mei’an Guqin Society. The organization is based at Oakland University and is one of only a handful of such groups focused on the Mei’an School of guqin music. The others can be found in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Dr. Yu has also released an album, “The Pure Sound of Mountain and Water,” which is a compilation of centuries-old guqin songs, along with one song he composed himself, available for purchase on (

To share his knowledge, Dr. Yu has developed a series of applied courses in which Oakland students can learn how to play guqin music. The one-two credit courses began in winter 2011 and offer students private instruction in exploring a deeply-rooted, cultural art form.

To learn more, contact Dr. Yu at (248) 370-3382 or

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