James Oliver Caswell (1937–2016) was a historian of Chinese art. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1970 and was hired at UBC in 1971. Dr. Caswell was Head of the Fine Arts Department (now the Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory) from 1981 to 1997, and then again in 2001/2002. He was highly regarded as a teacher and as a fair administrator.
Dr. Caswell’s area of specialization was the Buddhist cave art at Dunhuang and Yungang. He was also interested in painting and curated an important exhibition of James Cahill’s collection for the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1985.
Dr. Caswell was proud of his First Nations heritage. As a member of the Chippewa White Earth Nation, he attended university on an American Indian Scholarship.