Ph.D. Candidate
Contemporary Japanese Religion

Research Focus:

I am looking at the way that the rise of Web 2.0, especially in the form of social media, has affected online religious engagement both from the point of view of religious movements and their members.  In adapting to the new opportunities posed by Web 2.0, movements and followers have taken action in ways often associated with engagement with popular culture.  By looking at digitization, from both the movements’ and the users’ perspective, of three specific movements, I will map out the popular cultural aspects, and their implications, of this form of religious engagement.
Ph.D. Dissertation (tentative title):
Spirituality 2.0: The Online Intersection of Popular Culture and New Religious Movements

Academic History

  • M.A. University of California, Santa Barbara
      M.A. Thesis: Charisma, Institutionalization, and the Founder’s Death in Two Japanese New Religions: Shinnyoen and Mahikari.
  • B.A. Plan II, Religious Studies and Asian Studies, University of Texas

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistantships:

  • Summer 2012   Japan 1: First Year Japanese          Dr. Yamauchi
  • Winter 2012      EACS 4A: East Asian Pre-Modern   Dr. Li & Dr. Rambelli
  • Fall 2011           Japan 1: First Year Japanese          Dr. Yamauchi
  • Summer 2011   Japan 1: First Year Japanese          Dr. Yamauchi
  • Spring 2011      Japan 63: Sociology of Japan         Dr. Frühstück
  • Spring 2010      EACS 4B: East Asian Modern         Dr. Berry & Dr. Nathan
  • Winter 2009      Japan 25: Violence and the State in Japan    Dr. Frühstück


  • 2012-2013: Japan Foundation Doctoral Research Grant
  • Spring 2012: UCSB Japan Foundation IPS Graduate Student Fellowship
  • 2009-2010: UCSB FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) Fellowship
  • 2008-2009: UCSB FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) Fellowship

Conference Papers

  • 3/2010
    “Surviving Death: Ritual Response to the Loss of a Charismatic Figure,” presented at the annual meeting of the Japan Anthropology Workshop (JAWS) at the University of Texas.
  • 4/2009
    “The Protestant Ethic and Japanese Religions,” presented at the EALCS Graduate Student Conference on “Western Theory, Non-Western Cultures,” University of California Santa Barbara.


  • Dr. Sabine Frühstück, EALCS
  • Dr. Fabio Rambelli, EALCS
  • Dr. Mayfair Yang, Religious Studies/EALCS