|Assistant Professor of Religion
Departmental Area: History and Ethnography of Religions
Kristina Buhrman (PhD, University of Southern California) is a historian of Japanese religions, specializing in the pre-modern period (before 1600). Her current research focuses on Onmyōdō, a collection of ritual and divinatory techniques that became popular in Japan during the Heian Period (794 - 1192). She also works on astrology and math in esoteric Buddhism, and maintains an interest in the intersection of religion and disaster and memory. Her teaching interests include the representation of religion and the supernatural in Japanese popular culture.
- Religion and science in East Asia
- Manuscript and book cultures and intellectual exchange
- Fate and divination
- Esoteric Buddhisms
REL3936 Special Topics in Religion: Japanese Religions
The influence of Japanese religions can be seen in a variety of areas—in contemporary life and customs, in popular culture (including movies and video games), and even in international affairs, as the persistent international friction generated by politicians' visits to the Yasukuni war shrine. This course introduces students to the religious traditions of Japan, and shows how these traditions can be found in traditional Japanese arts, popular media, and everyday life in modern Japan; as well as how religion has shaped and been shaped by politics and Japanese history. We will also examine how Japanese religious traditions undermine many common assumptions about the definition of religion. Questions? Contact Dr. Buhrman at firstname.lastname@example.org
REL4359/RLG5354 Special Topics in Asian Religion: Japanese Ghosts and Monsters
Japanese folklore and culture is famous for an abundance of monsters and ghosts (sometimes known as youkai), some of which have become known to American audiences through video games and children's tv shows. This seminar will look at the history of the study of ghosts and monsters in Japan, and introduce students to some of the deeper history of and influence of Buddhist doctrine on the received image of these creatures. We will also look at depictions of traditional youkai in modern film, and how these might relate to changes in human-animal relations and environmental consciousness in Japan.
REL4359/RLG5354 Special Topics in Asian Religions: Religion & the Samurai
What was the Way of the Samurai? This course is an examination of images of idealized samurai behavior and criticisms of samurai immorality as they changed over the period from early medieval to modern Japan. The role of Confucianism, Buddhism, native traditions, and Christianity in this history will be covered. Student reading will focus on primary sources, including medieval epics and modern business manuals.
REL3936: Special Topics in Religion: Japanese Religions
This course explores the influence of the major and minor religious traditions of Japan on Japanese life and culture.
REL4359/5354: Special Topics in Asian Religions: Divination in East Asia
This course looks at theories and explanations of divination from multiple fields and geographical areas, and examines them against historical accounts of divination in China and Japan.