Jolyon Thomas

Jolyon Thomas
Assistant Professor
Japanese Culture,
Religion and History
Contact Information
Office Address: 
854 Williams Hall
Office Hours: 
Spring 2017: Wednesdays, 1:30PM to 3:30PM or by appointment
Phone: 
215-746-3140
Fax: 
215-573-9617
Email Address: 

Biography

My research covers the politics of religious freedom and religion-state relations; religion and material and visual culture; and relationships between religion, sex, and gender. These interests inform my courses on Japanese religion, pop culture, and history.    

Education: 

PhD, Princeton University, 2014

MA, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, 2008

BA, Grinnell College, 2001

Research and Teaching Interests: 
  • Japanese visual media and popular culture (especially manga and anime)
  • Buddhism, Shintō, and other Japanese religions
  • Religious freedom, secularity, and religion-state relations
  • The Allied Occupation of Japan (1945–1952)
  • Religion and education
  • Religion and capitalism
  • Religion, sex, and gender
Recent Courses: 

Click the course title to see a video syllabus!

Spring 2017 EALC 502: Japanese History and Civilization (no video syllabus)

Spring 2017 EALC 207/607: Sects and Violence in East Asia

Fall 2016 EALC 257/657: Asian Religions in the Global Imagination

Fall 2016 EALC 069: Japanese Popular Culture

Spring 2016 EALC 760: Japanese Religions (no video syllabus)

Spring 2016 EALC 235: The Politics of Shintō

Fall 2015 EALC069-0011:  Japanese Popular Culture

Work in Progress: 

I am now revising a book manuscript on policies & politics related to religious freedom in modern Japan (1890–1952).

I am just beginning research on a new book about religion and public school education in postwar Japan. 

Brief Biography: 

I specialize in the history of Japanese religions and contemporary Japanese culture and society. 

Other Professional Activity: 

I edit book reviews for the Asian Traditions section of the Marginalia Review of Books. I also write articles for Sacred Matters, an online magazine of religion & culture. I have also written outreach articles for Tricycle (a Buddhist magazine), the Guardian newspaper, and Dissertation Reviews (a website featuring reviews of dissertations and introductions to scholarly archives). I am also a member of the U.S.-Japan Network for the Future, which helps bridge the worlds of academic and policy expertise related to Japan and U.S.-Japan relations.  

Curriculum vitae: 

Publications

Selected Publications: 

Articles

2016 "The Buddhist Virtues of Raging Lust and Crass Materialism in Contemporary Japan," Material Religion 11, no. 4: 485–506.

2016 "Varieties of Religious Freedom in Japanese Buddhist Responses to the 1899 Religions Bill," Asian Journal of Law and Society 3, no. 1: 49–70.

2015 "Free Inquiry and Japanese Buddhist Studies: The Case of Katō Totsudō," Japanese Religions 39 (1–2): 31–51.

2014 "Religions Policies during the Allied Occupation of Japan, 1945–1952," Religion Compass 8 (9): 275–286.

2012 "Horrific 'Cults' and Comic Religion: Manga after Aum," Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 39 (1): 127–151.

2007 "Shūkyō Asobi and Miyazaki Hayao's Anime," Nova Religio 10 (3): 73–95.