Women in Japanese Religions - Women in Religions (Paperback)Barbara R. Ambros (author)
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Scholars have widely acknowledged thepersistent ambivalence with which the Japanese religious traditions treatwomen. Much existing scholarship depicts Japan's religious traditions as meremeans of oppression. But this view raises a question: How have ambivalent andeven misogynistic religious discourses on gender still come to inspire devotionand emulation among women?
In Women in Japanese Religions, Barbara R. Ambrosexamines the roles that women have played in the religions of Japan. An importantcorrective to more common male-centered narratives of Japanese religioushistory, this text presents a synthetic long view of Japanese religions from adistinct angle that has typically been discounted in standard survey accountsof Japanese religions.
Drawing on a diverse collection ofwritings by and about women, Ambros argues that ambivalent religious discoursesin Japan have not simply subordinated women but also given them religiousresources to pursue their own interests and agendas. Comprising nine chaptersorganized chronologically, the book begins with the archeological evidence offertility cults and the early shamanic ruler Himiko in prehistoric Japan andends with an examination of the influence of feminism and demographic changeson religious practices during the "lost decades" of the post-1990 era. Byviewing Japanese religious history through the eyes of women, Women in Japanese Religions presents anew narrative that offers strikingly different vistas of Japan's pluralistictraditions than the received accounts that foreground male religious figuresand male-dominated institutions.Additional Resources
Publisher: New York University Press
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 363 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
"There is no doubt Women in Japanese Religions by Barbara R. Ambros is a welcome resource for students at the introductory level who want to understand Japanese religion and women. Questions for discussion are included at the end of the book, which will be of use to instructors as well."-Reading Religions
"Ambros gives careful, nuanced treatment to her subject with an array of historical instances and trends that defy simple conclusions."-Japan Review
"The book's contents are well balanced, covering a variety of important primary sources with well-known, historicized, and recent acclaimed scholarship in the study of Japanese religions and women's history. In doing so, the book offers not only a thought-provoking and nuanced narrative but also draws attention to the striking historical facts and long-term trends that no doubt will invite further consideration and fruitful discussions in class. Succinctly written and well edited, this book will suit both upper undergraduate and graduate courses in Japanese and East Asian studies, as well as courses in world history and religious studies."-Journal of Religion in Japan
"Fills several lacunae in the landscape of Japanese religiosity in one volume. Careful research informs Ambros's thoughtful interpretations of the contributions and significance of women throughout Japanese history. Scholars and students of Japan, whether of religion, history, anthropology, sociology, or gender studies, will find that this volume enables them to make more informed analyses in their respective fields. Ambros's fluid writing style makes this information-rich volume highly accessible and satisfying to read."-Paula Arai,author of Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart Of Japanese Women's Rituals
"Ambros' book is extremely interesting and informative. Her writing style is easy to read and never gets in the way of her argument."-Nova Religio
"Ambros challenges entrenched stereotypes while providing evidence of fertility cults in prehistoric Japan and ends her discussion with an examination of the influence of feminism during the post-1990 era. The goal of the book is to provide a comprehensive perspective that entails the overarching scope of centuries; in this Ambros succeeds." -Choice
"Bring[s] a new understanding of the many ways in which Japanese women have articulated and made use of their lived religious experiences throughout their history . . . a valuable addition to the fields of Japanese history, religious studies, and women's studies."-Japanese Journal of Religions Studies
"[...] [S]he...assert[s] in the final sentence of her conclusion that the study of a subject as complex as religion and gender required a perspective of the long duree and must emphasize `change and diversity in a specific, culturally bounded context,' which is a project that anthropologists can endorse and perform."-Anthropology Review Database
"This book is a valuable resource for students of Japanese studies, religious and gender studies, and history."-Religious Studies Review
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