Buddhist Studies Workshop with Jessica Starling, Lewis and Clark College
Jessie Starling joined the faculty of Lewis & Clark in 2013 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in Japanese Buddhism at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also affiliated with the Asian Studies and Gender Studies programs at Lewis & Clark, and teaches classes on Asian religions, religion and gender, and ethnographic research methods.
Professor Starling’s research is on Buddhism as lived in contemporary Japan, and addresses themes such as Buddhist doctrine, gender, family, ethics, emotion and material practices. She is currently completing work on an article about Buddhist laywomen’s groups in modern Japan, which highlights the dynamics of the production of doctrinal materials by male monks in response to the voracious demand of these well-educated and well-organized women’s groups.
A second research project engages ethnographic fieldwork to understand contemporary Buddhist responses to stigma and discrimination. Starling profiles Buddhist volunteers who have taken up the cause of leprosy (also known as Hansen’s Disease) awareness and advocacy, working both inside and outside of Buddhist institutions to redress the past and current suffering of Hansen’s Disease patients.
Starling’s scholarly articles have appeared in the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Eastern Buddhist, Religion Compass, and the Journal of Global Buddhism. Her first monograph, Guardians of the Buddha’s Home: Domestic Religion in the Contemporary Jōdo Shinshū (University of Hawai’i Press, 2019), is an ethnography of temple wives in the True Pure Land Buddhist School (Jōdo Shinshū). She has received numerous fellowships in support of her research, including grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Japan Foundation, and the American Association of University Women.