Dissertation Workshop on “Religious & Cultural Heritage amid Social & Environmental Change” in Japanese Studies

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Intended for Southeast Asian and Japanese Doctoral Students 

MARCH 26-29, 2019

The Center for Japanese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley invites applications for a dissertation workshop for Ph.D. candidates based at universities in Southeast Asia, Japan, or the U.S., with a particular goal to recruit those from Southeast Asia or originally from Southeast Asia who are currently working on topics involving Japan’s religious and cultural heritage. This workshop is intended to bring together advanced students and leading academics to explore the challenges facing religious and cultural environments, architecture, arts and crafts, and other physical artifacts.

The many expressions of religious and cultural heritage have always been an important domain within Japanese studies, whether within the disciplines of literature, anthropology, archaeology, the arts, architecture, history, environmental sciences, sociology, law and political sciences, tourism or religious studies. Rapid political, economic and environmental changes are introducing new challenges in conservation and management of this critically important heritage.

This is planned the second of three workshops funded by the Japan Foundation. The final Dissertation Workshop on Japan in Spring, 2020 will address the topic “Remapping Japan in Asia: Competing and Conflicting Political Goals.”


These workshops are intended for doctoral students who are currently developing dissertation proposals, conducting dissertation research, or in the early stages of writing their dissertations. Emphasis will be on strengthening the theoretic and conceptual foundations of students’ work, identifying appropriate research methods, goals, and relevant literatures, as well as encouraging skillful English-language writing practices. Students will engage in rich and extended discussions of their own and each others’ projects with mentor faculty and student peers, offering and receiving constructive and critical input on improving their research plans and writing.

The workshop will be held over four days in March 26-29, 2019, on the UC Berkeley campus. Generous funding from the Japan Foundation will cover the full costs of round-trip, economy-class travel to Berkeley California, visas, lodging, ground transportation, and a modest per diem. Some meals will also be provided.

Participants can also apply for support to attend the Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting in Denver from March 21-24 or to spend an additional a few days after the workshop exploring the university’s archives and libraries or networking with our faculty.

Applicants should be Ph.D. candidates currently writing their dissertation proposal, conducting research, or in an early phase of writing the dissertation itself. In addition to eight students from Southeast Asia, participants will include two students from the University of California, Berkeley, and two students from Japan, in order to foster transnational networks of like-minded scholars. Special consideration will be given to students from ASEAN universities which do not have major Japanese Studies programs or centers.

Questions concerning the program should be addressed to the Center for Japanese Studies at: CJS@Berkeley.edu.


  • Your name, email address, university, and departmental affiliation.
  • Dissertation title, expected date of completion, and the name of your dissertation chair.
  • A one-page, single-spaced proposal, written in English, describing the dissertation topic and progress to date. Please note any faculty on the UC Berkeley campus or in the Bay area who have a direct connection to your research.
  • A one-page letter of support from your dissertation chair.

Application materials are due no later than October 15, 2018, and should be emailed to the Center for Japanese Studies at: CJS@Berkeley.edu. Notice of acceptance will be by November 15. Accepted students will be asked to submit additional materials related to their proposal, research, and writing for peer review by January 1, 2019. Participants will also receive workshop materials for review via email by January 15, 2019.