January 31, 2024

Starling awarded two research travel grants to Japan

Dr. Jessie Starling, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Religious Studies, has been awarded two external grants to support her research in Japan this summer. First, a 2024 Numata Fellowship will allow her to be in residence at Ryukoku University in Kyoto, where she’ll collaborate with scholars of modern Japanese history at the Gender and Religions Research Center. Second, a research travel grant from the Northeast Asia Council (NEAC) of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), with the support of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC), will provide travel support for fieldwork in other areas of Japan for her project, “Being a Modern Buddhist Woman in Japan”. This research explores what it means to be a Buddhist woman in Japan from the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s.

The major transformations within Japanese Buddhism after the Meiji Restoration in 1868 have begun to be documented by scholars, with a recent profusion of publications on Japanese Buddhist modernity. However, Dr. Starling notes that “the position of women within this shifting landscape of authority and identity in modern Japanese Buddhism has not been rigorously investigated.” The nature of the available sources and the methodological approach to Buddhism taken by most scholars effectively renders female practitioners invisible. Dr. Starling’s project will address this deficit by identifying and interpreting sources—including relationships and social networks–to focalize women in this history. This study builds upon Dr. Starling’s recent work focusing on the active participation of women in the late Meiji period, demonstrated by writings that targeted female audiences.

Since joining Lewis & Clark in 2013, Dr. Starling has been awarded multiple other competitive external grants for her work—including support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the American Philosophical Society, the Japan Foundation, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the Association for Asian Studies (AAS). More about Dr. Starling’s research, exploring several aspects of Buddhism, is available here.

January 2024