Department of Religions and Philosophies & School of History, Religions and Philosophies

Professor Lucia Dolce

Key information

Department of Religions and Philosophies Numata Professor of Japanese Buddhism Centre of Buddhist Studies Chair Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions Chair, Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions Japan Research Centre Academic Staff, Japan Research Centre World Languages Institute Member
Laurea MA (Venice); PhD (Leiden)
Russell Square: College Buildings
Email address
Telephone number
020 7898 4217
Support hours
On sabbatical term 1

Research interests

I am currently carrying out two distinct (albeit interrelated) projects on Japanese religious culture.

The first project explores the discourse on the body in the ritual landscape of mediaeval
Japanese Buddhism, with the aim of demonstrating the fluidity of ritual knowledge and the need of linking Japanese notions of the body to continental (Tantric) practices. In the context of this large project I am addressing methodological questions related to the application of performative theories on Japanese premodern ritual (see also Dolce 2010a &b) and the possibilities of a practice-centred approach to analyse Japanese religion in its entirety.

The second project deals with the relation between Buddhism and ‘Shinto,’ in particular contemporary forms of associative practices. I have recently completed a co-edited volume (in Japanese), based on an international workshop held at SOAS in spring 2011, which reflects on the paradigms through which the ‘Buddho-Shinto combination’ has been studied (Dolce 2013) and the particularities of the locativization of Buddhism in Japan. I continue to explore this topic by addressing the revival of premodern practices in well-known shrines in the Kyoto area.

The Lucky Gods of Tokyo: Religious and Spatial Politics of a Contemporary Urban Pilgrimage (with Dr Tatsuma Padoan, Newton Fellow, 2014-2016)

This project explores how Tokyo urban space is reconfigured in specific pilgrimage routes connecting Buddhist and Shinto institutions: the pilgrimage of the Seven Gods of Fortune (shichifukujin). Focusing on a number of case studies, it seeks to study the processes of negotiation and confrontation between different institutions and institutional levels, as well as the dynamics of religious marketing that shape the relationship between cultic centres and practitioners.

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Yeonju Lee Korean New Religions and the Construction of Nationalism
Haruka Saito The Blessing of the Dharma: Prayer and Buddhist Soteriology in Japanese Medieval Repentance Ritual (working title)
Haruka Saito The Blessing of the Dharma: Prayer and Buddhist Soteriology in Japanese Medieval Repentance Ritual (working title)
Ms Emanuela Sala Hermeneutical Strategies of Japanese Medieval Religions: The Yōtenki (working title)
Miss Ronit Wang Representations of The Apāya in Thai Cosmological Parks
Sooyeun Yang Seven Star Ritual in Late Joseon Buddhism: Localized Ritual with Multifaceted Elements


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