Japanese Studies

Are you abandoning Japan?”  This is a question I’ve been getting a lot lately.

Crow in Yanaka Cemetery, Photo by Jason Josephson rights reserved

Crow in Yanaka Cemetery, Photo by Jason Josephson rights reserved

I tend to hear it right after I explain that my second book–The Myth of Disenchantment–is basically European intellectual history (for a taste) and that the project following that– Absolute Disruption: The Future of Theory after Postmodernism–is an attempt to articulate new research models for Religious Studies in the wake of the collapse of poststructuralism as a guiding ethos in the Humanities.

At the moment, I’m probably best known for a monograph – The Invention of Religion in Japan – and a series of articles that explore the history of Japanese religions, science, and politics (my professional page). So it makes sense that often when I’m chatting with colleagues about work-in-progress I’m greeted with an expression of surprise. Scholars of Asian Studies in particular often tend to put it in the most intense terms and ask me if I am “deserting Japanese studies?”

So in this very short blog-post I want to provide an answer: in a word “No!”

Extended explanation below the fold for those who are curious.

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The Invention of Religion in Japan- Won Distinguished Book Award

I haven’t been blogging much lately. I’ve been overwhelmed in trying to simultaneously  finish a manuscript (Dialectic of Darkness) and with the business of chairing a Department for the first time (more work than you’d think). Still I did want to make a quick post because my first monograph The Invention of Religion in Japan has won a major book award “The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion: 2013 Distinguished Book Award.” 


I’m honored that my book has achieved this kind of recognition and from such an august academic society. A million thanks are due to my wonderful friends and colleagues whose suggestions and critical comments helped make it a better work! Also, don’t worry:  I haven’t forgotten about this blog, but I seem to post most when I’m in the early phases of a project and still casting about for ideas….Still, I hope to free up some time this Spring for some more reviews.