|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
REL3340 The Buddhist Tradition
This course surveys the Buddhist tradition from its beginnings through the modern period. Some attention to its contemporary forms. Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity in cross cultural studies (DIV-XCC) requirements.
REL4359-2 / RLG5354-2 SP Topics Asian Rel: Divination
In this course, Chinese and Japanese systems of divination are examined in a comparative context. We will read studies of divination from East Asia, Africa and the Classical World, among others, to learn how divination methods reveal information about how a culture views the spiritual, natural, and social worlds. Students will write a research paper for their final project.
REL3351 Japanese Religions
Many7 aspects of Japanese culture or character are credited to (or blamed on) Japanese religions. This course investigates the influence of Japanese religious traditions on Japanese life, culture, and history; as well as the influence of history and politics on modern Japanese religiosity. The goal of the course is to address the paradox of highly influential religious traditions among a population that claims no religion. In so doing, students will address the definition of religion and of religiosity, and be prepared to talk about such definitions with relation to the specific example of Japan. Meets Liberal Studies: Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Diversity: Cross Cultural Studies (DIV-XCC).
REL 4359-1 / RLG5354-1 SP Topics Asian Rel: Japanese Ghosts & 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.