Shamans, Nuns, and Demons: Women in Japanese Religions


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars


Religious Studies


For residence at the National Humanities Center during academic year 2013-2014


The project presents a synthetic long view of Japanese religions from a distinct angle—women’s history—that has typically been discounted in standard surveys of Japanese religions. It begins with the archeological evidence of fertility cults in prehistoric Japan and ends with an examination of the influence of feminism and demographic changes on religious practices during the post-1990 era. The project explores a diverse collection of writings by and about women to investigate the ways in which ambivalent discourses in Japanese religions have not simply subordinated women but also given them religious resources to pursue their own interests and agendas.