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A Conversation with Duncan Ryūken Williams - "American Sutra: Buddhism and the Incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II"

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 4:30pm

Cohen Hall 402

*Note: Claudia Cohen Hall is locked 24/7. People without Penn affiliations should arrive early to be let into the building. 

"American Sutra: Buddhism and the Incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II"

This groundbreaking history tells the little-known story of how, in one of our country’s darkest hours, Japanese Americans fought to defend their faith and preserve religious freedom. The mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II is not only a tale of injustice; it is a moving story of faith. In this path-breaking account, Duncan Ryuken Williams reveals how, even as they were stripped of their homes and imprisoned in camps, Japanese American Buddhists launched one of the most inspiring defenses of religious freedom in our nation’s history, insisting that they could be both Buddhist and American.

About the speaker:

Duncan Ryūken Williams is currently a Professor of Religion and East Asian Languages & Cultures and the Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. He is the author of a monograph entitled The Other Side of Zen: A Social History of Soto Zen Buddhism in Tokugawa Japan (Princeton University Press, 2005) and co-editor of seven volumes including Hapa Japan (Kaya Press, 2017), Issei Buddhism in the Americas (U-Illinois Press, 2010), American Buddhism (Routledge, 1998), and Buddhism and Ecology (Harvard University Press, 1997).

Discussion will be moderated by Jolyon Thomas (Penn), author of Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan

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