Dr. Brett J. Esaki (Ph.D. in Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara) specializes in Asian American studies, with a focus on spirituality, popular culture, and comprehensive sustainability. He focuses on methods to examine religion on the ground, especially ethnography, cultural studies, and subjugated history. His publications detail how American minorities, including Asian Americans and African Americans, creatively use religion and art to preserve, to reinvent, and to discover a sense of their full humanity. He is the author of Enfolding Silence: The Transformation of Japanese American Religion and Art under Oppression (Oxford 2016). Dr. Esaki's teaching specialties include Asian American religions; religion and popular culture, including hip hop and other embodied arts; and history, ideology, and philosophy of race and in the United States.
Religion and Art; Religion and Popular Culture; Sustainability; Asian American Studies; African American Studies
This course provides an introduction to the study of Religion and Popular Culture in modern societies. We will study what constitutes "religion" and how definitions of religion change over time. We will examine the ways popular culture becomes "religious" and how religious institutions reflect popular taste and opinion.
This course explores the diversity of religions and religious experiences across the globe. Religions to be examined include, but are not limited to, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, as well as indigenous traditions.