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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Undergraduate Course: Japanese Religions in the Modern Era (ASST10143)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course aims to give students a clear outline of modern Japanese religions by analysing in detail representative instances of Japan's religious life. The course also draws on non-textual material, mainly photographic but also audio-visual and material items.
Course description The course focusses on analysing the contemporary religious situation in the light of its historical context in modernizing Japan. Students are encouraged to think across the boundaries of religion, society and the state, and to come to grips with a culturally distinct
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. recall and summarise key institutions and themes related to religions in modern Japan;
  2. explain core roles of religion in Japan, whether pertaining to the state, society or the individual;
  3. summarize and evaluate selected academic debates related to Japanese religions in the modern era;
  4. find, compare and evaluate primary and secondary sources related to modern Japanese religions;
  5. formulate arguments based on academic literature and source material, and tailor their arguments and findings for particular audiences both orally (through debate and presentation) and in formal academic writing.
Reading List
Breen, J. & Teeuwen, M. (2010), A new history of Shinto, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.
Covell, S. (2005), Japanese temple Buddhism: worldliness in a religion of renunciation, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
Dobbelaere, K. (1996), 'Civil religion and the integration of society: a theoretical reflection and an application', Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 13(2-3), 127-46.
Dorman, B. (2004), 'SCAP's scapegoat?: the authorities, new religions, and a postwar taboo', JJRS 31(1), 105-40.
Earhart, H. B. (1981), 'New religions for old', Monumenta Nipponica 36(3), 329- 34.
Foard, J. H. (1982), 'The boundaries of compassion: Buddhism and national tradition in Japanese pilgrimage', The Journal of Asian Studies 41(2), 231-51.
Hardacre, H. (1989), Shinto and the state, 1868-1988, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Kleine, C. (2013), 'Religion and the secular in premodern Japan from the viewpoint of systems theory', Journal of Religions in Japan 2(1), 1-34.
Kramer, H. M. (2010), Introduction, in Hans Martin Kramer, ed., 'Comparativ', pp. 7-17.
Mullins, M.; Shimazono, S. & Swanson, P. L. (1993), Religion and society in modern Japan: selected readings, Vol. 5, Asian Humanities Press, Berkeley, Calif.
Nelson, J. K. (2013), Experimental Buddhism : innovation and activism in contemporary Japan / John K. Nelson., Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2013.
Pye, M. (1987), 'A common language of minimal religiosity', The Journal of Oriental Studies 26(1), 21-27.
Reader, I. (1991), Religion in contemporary Japan, Macmillan, Basingstoke.
Reader, I. (2011), 'Buddhism in crisis? institutional decline in modern Japan', Buddhist Studies Review 28(2), 233-63.
Reader, I. & Tanabe, G. J. (1998), Practically religious: worldly benefits and the common religion of Japan, University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu.
Rowe, M. M. (2007), Grave changes: scattering ashes in contemporary Japan, in B. Cuevas & J. I. Stone, ed., 'The Buddhist dead: practices, discourses, and representations', University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, pp. 378-404.
Swanson, P. L. & Chilson, C., ed. (2006), The Nanzan guide to Japanese religions, Hawai'i University Press, Honolulu.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Information-gathering, analysis, presentation, debating
KeywordsJapan,religion,modern,contemporary,Meiji Restoration,Buddhism and the West,Aum Shinrikyo,Yas
Course organiserDr Abigail MacBain
Tel: (0131 6)51 1358
Course secretaryMr Callum Lennie
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