Formations of the secular in Japan (completed)
This project traces genealogies of the secular in Japan, taking into consideration both pre-modern precedents and moments of modern transformation and adaptation.
About the project
In recent years, the study of secularities and secularisms has moved beyond notions of Western exceptionalism and classical West-East (or North-South) dichotomies. Although many secularities and secularisms emerged in modern colonial contexts, they were not merely Western constructs that were imposed upon passive colonial subjects; in many cases, they were actively implemented, appropriated and altered by various non-Western actors, who drew on European ideology as well as indigenous worldviews and conceptual frameworks.
This project seeks to contribute to this emerging ‘global comparative perspective’ by interpreting the process of shaping and re-shaping ‘the secular’ in Japan in the light of on-going theoretical debates. We will raise the question whether it is possible to speak of pre-Meiji Japanese secularities, and investigate how Japanese secularities have been reshaped and renegotiated at different junctures until the present day.