Emily B. Simpson

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Academic Appointments

Lecturer of Religion

Emily Simpson earned her B.A. from Vassar College and both M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara in East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies. In 2016-17, she completed a Fulbright IIE Graduate Research Fellowship at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. Her research centers on the legend of Empress Jingū, a third century shaman, empress and conqueror appearing in early Japanese chronicles. Her book project, entitled Crafting a Goddess: Divinization and Womanhood in Late Medieval and Early Modern Narratives of Empress Jingū, explores how both Shinto and Buddhist institutions divinized Empress Jingū in the medieval and early modern periods, focusing on her martial and shamanic deeds, her pregnancy and motherhood, or her connections to maritime deities and communities. Simpson also researches and publishes work on regional deities, structural divinization, and conceptualizations of the Asian continent in premodern Japan. She teaches courses on Japanese religions, women and religion, and shamanism.


Thornton, Room 312
HB 6036




  • B.A. Vassar College
  • M.A. University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara