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Jane Marie Law

Associate Professor, Asian Studies (Japanese Religions and Ritual Studies)
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Educational History


B.A. University of Colorado at Boulder, Religious Studies and Asian Languages

M.Div., University of Chicago Divinity School

Ph.D. University of Chicago, History of Religions


Research Interests

"All of my research explores the interface between living communities and religious ideologies and praxis, with fieldwork as a core methodology. My early work focused on the ritual uses of human effigies in Japan, and explored how puppetry represents a kind of ritual logic. From this work, I became interested in issues of cultural memory and memorialization of atrocity.  Recently, I have turned my attention to how religious communities participate in debates and actions concerning ecological healing or degradation, and movements toward or away from sustainable living.  My current writing explores the activities of marginal intentional religious communities presenting models of transition to ecologically sustainable living.  The questions I am exploring are wide reaching, allowing a variety of cases to be explored in my work: What ecological knowledge is the particular community protecting and developing?  What religious ideas, ideologies and epistemologies are being employed to explain the reasons for the protection and development?   Do these communities use this ecological knowledge and lens as an outreach to their broader lay religious contexts?  Do these communities employ any languages of morality or ethics to enhance their conservation and protection?  How do they translate what they are doing to a wider audience outside their religious communities?    In the end, do these intentional communities have answers to questions of survival (food security, models of communal living, habitat conservation and resource management) that have not been adequately explored? In my research, I am committed to developing methodologies that enable scholars and communities to work together to find answers to shared question."