Courses of Study 2013-2014 
    Jun 16, 2024  
Courses of Study 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ASIAN 3355 - Japanese Religions

(also RELST 3355 )(GB) (CA-AS)

Spring. 4 credits. Letter grades only.

J. M. Law.

A focus on the dominant ideological system of Japanese religious practice and thought - Shinto. We study general methodological issues surrounding tradition formation, continuity, change and revision.  The Shinto case reveals the complexity of a given religious system which simultaneously serves as both a cultural ideology and a path for individual spiritual cultivation.  A study of Shinto allows us to develop the intellectual frameworks for understanding the dynamics of religious traditions in societies.   

We look at 1) the means by which a central corpus of values, tastes, practices, beliefs and concerns have been formulated and how this system has interacted with other religious systems in Japan in such a way that it claims to be “authentically Japanese;” 2) the academic sources for the study of the Shinto tradition which have also contributed to its identity and continuity; 3) the view of this religious system from the perspective of those who are actively shaping its discourse; 4) the view of the religious system from the perspective of those peripheralized by its ideologies; 5) the issue of personal cultivation and aesthetic taste in the tradition; and 6) the relationship between this religious system, the formation of a body politic, and imperialism, war, and historical revisionism. (RL)

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