Dr. Jolyon Baraka Thomas is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a PhD from Princeton University, an MA from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and a BA from Grinnell College.
Thomas’s research covers Japan and the United States in four main topics of inquiry: 1) religion and media; 2) religious freedom; 3) religion and education; and 4) religion and capitalism. His academic articles on these subjects have appeared in journals such as the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, Material Religion, and Nova Religio, and he regularly publishes related essays in public-facing venues such as Dharma World, Killing the Buddha, the Marginalia Review of Books, Nippon.com, The Revealer, Sacred Matters, and Tricycle.
Thomas’s most recent monograph, Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan, was published by University of Chicago Press in 2019. His first book, Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan, appeared from University of Hawai`i Press in 2012. His third book, Difficult Subjects: Religion and the Politics of Public Schooling in Japan and the United States, is now under contract with University of Chicago Press. Thomas is also co-editing The New Nanzan Guide to Japanese Religions.