AP/JP3620 3.0 Asian Religions and Ethnicity in
Canada: the Japanese Canadian Experience
This course examines not only how Japanese religious/philosophical traditions were utilized for practical concerns by Japanese immigrants, but also how they came to inform the identity of Japanese Canadians in the context of a broader understanding of the role religion has played in the East.
Although religious identity did not loom strongly in the minds of most Japanese immigrants to Canada in the late nineteenth century, it often became a major connection to their cultural identity, language, and the social norms of their homeland. However, Japanese Canadians came to adapt their Buddhist practices, or convert to Christianity, as concessions to a society in which Eastern traditions were often seen as not only foreign but perhaps also dangerous. These concessions have often been problematic for those studying the immigrant experience. However, there is a fundamental difference between the East and West in the understanding of the word greligion.h There was no equivalent for this word in either Chinese or Japanese until the 19th century and Asian religions have often been characterized by Western scholars as traditions of praxis in contrast to the Abrahamic traditions which prioritize belief. Thus any study of greligioush traditions in the Asian diaspora is problematized by preconceptions of what greligionh means.
By utilizing various religious and sociological theoretical and methodological approaches this course problematizes conventional understandings of philosophical/religious traditions by investigating the role religion has played in East Asia. Although Japanese immigrants may not have been characterized as greligious,h imbedded religious and philosophical traditions nevertheless had a profound effect on their world view, and thus their behaviour. Accordingly, this course leads to a more nuanced and complete understanding of the Asian diaspora, as well as a deeper understanding of how its members viewed themselves and the decisions they made.
Prerequisites: AP/JP2700 6.0 or permission of instructor