IMAP / IDOC boasts five full-time faculty specializing in premodern Japanese humanities.


Cynthea J. Bogel, Professor (on sabbatical through March 2020)
PhD, Harvard University
Japanese art and architectural history, Buddhist visual cultures of Asia
Bogel’s research interests are diverse. Her research and publications feature the study of ancient religious icons and ritual materials, especially those created during the seventh through tenth century. She teaches courses on Japanese religious icons, temples, and shrines; ukiyoe (prints); Japanese painting; material culture and its relevance to the exchange of ideas and people in Asia; gender, race and difference in Japanese art history; site specific topics; contemporary art history; premodern and living craft traditions; and museum practice. Field work at historical sites and in museums is an important part of her teaching philosophy.


Caleb Carter, Assistant Professor
PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Japanese religions and Buddhist studies
Carter specializes in the medieval and early modern religious history of Japan with a focus on the mountain tradition of Shugendō. More recently, he has also begun investigating contemporary religious practices, such as adaptations in Shugendō and the current phenomenon of ‘power spots’ (pawāsupotto). His teaching and research revolve around themes that include space and place, narrative and folklore, women and gender, and ecology.


Ellen Van Goethem, Associate Professor  
PhD, Ghent University
History, archaeology, religious beliefs and practices of ancient Japan
Van Goethem’s research focuses on the Asuka, Nara, and Heian periods, particularly on the layout of Japan’s ancient capital cities, on religious and philosophical thought underpinning the construction of these cities, and on inscribed wooden tablets (mokkan). More recently, her research has centered on site divination in East Asia and the presence of Chinese cosmological symbolism and practices in Shinto shrines. She teaches courses in premodern Japanese history, material culture, and thought; research methods; and East-West encounters.


Ashton Lazarus, Assistant Professor 
PhD, Yale University
Medieval Japanese literature and performance

Lazarus researches medieval literature, with a particular focus on folk performance cultures and their relationship with elite writing and authority. His broader interests include oral literature, translation, performativity, and historiography. Current projects include a monograph on folk performance and transgression in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, a study of the disciplinary emergence of performance history (geinōshi), and an exploration of Tomita Isao’s electronic arrangements of the classical music canon. He teaches courses on Japanese literature and performance, as well as literary Sinitic (kanbun) and literary Japanese (bungo).

Schweizer in Yamaguchi.png

Anton Schweizer, Professor
PhD, Heidelberg University
Japanese art and architectural history, cultures of spatial thinking
At the center of Schweizer’s research is the employment of artifacts in space, especially site planning and interior decoration in the widest sense as well as depictions of works of architecture in painting, during the late medieval and early modern periods. This focus is accompanied by a strong interest in issues of materiality, manufacturing technologies, and temporality. A second area of interest comprises manifestations of otherness (depictions of Asian, African, and European foreigners; courtesans; and samurai), transcultural picture migration, and export art (especially lacquer).