Helen Findley

“Moveable Feast: The Place of Sekkyô in Meiji Buddhist Discourse”

During my time as a Marty Junior Fellow, I fully expect to complete my dissertation on modern Japanese Buddhist homiletic practice. My research on the ways in which Buddhist preaching activities were integrated into nineteenth-century Japanese social life through the organization of public events has led me to more carefully consider changing perceptions of religion’s role in modern society. In short, to what extent may we understand religion to function in modern society as a malleable discursive category capable of “legitimate entry” into a multitude of domains – from politics to education, from social reform to science – not just with respect to the rules and practices of the governing religious institutions themselves, but also within the prescribed limitations of public debate? How has religious speechmaking, in particular, contributed to the creation of a public consciousness? In answering these questions, I eagerly look forward to joining the rich intellectual environment fostered by the Marty Center, as well as the opportunity to further refine my own abilities in addressing diverse audiences.

Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations