Emily B. Simpson

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 studied at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, under a Fulbright IIE Graduate Research Fellowship. Her research centers on the legend of Empress Jingū, a third century shaman, empress and conquerer appearing in early Japanese chronicles. While this legend has gone through myriad permutations for well over a thousand years, Simpson pays particular attention to the medieval reinterpretations of Jingū’s legend within various Buddhist and Shinto traditions and their subsequent impact on the formation of women’s cults centered on the empress. Her dissertation, entitled “Crafting a Goddess: Divinization, Womanhood and Genre in Narratives of Empress Jingū,” explores how diverse religious institutions divinized Empress Jingū, focusing on her martial and shamanic deeds, her motherhood and childbirth, or her connections to maritime deities and communities. Simpson teaches courses on women and religion in Japan, Japanese religious traditions, Shinto, and Buddhism in Japan and Korea.

315 Thornton Hall
HB 6036
B.A. Vassar College
M.A. University of California, Santa Barbara
Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara