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Public Books Circle: "American Sutra" by Duncan Ryūken Williams
Join Megan Bryson, associate professor of religious studies, on March 8, 2023 for an online discussion of Duncan Ryūken Williams’s book, "American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War," hosted by the UT Humanities Center.

About the book:
This groundbreaking history tells the little-known story of how, in one of our country’s darkest hours, Japanese Americans fought to defend their faith and preserve religious freedom. Williams reveals how, even as they were stripped of their homes and imprisoned in camps, Japanese American Buddhists launched one of the most inspiring defenses of religious freedom in our nation’s history, insisting that they could be both Buddhist and American. In the face of discrimination, dislocation, dispossession, and confinement, Japanese Americans turned to their faith to sustain them, whether they were behind barbed wire in camps or serving in one of the most decorated combat units in the European theater. Using newly translated sources and extensive interviews with survivors of the camps and veterans of the war, American Sutra reveals how the Japanese American community broadened our country’s conception of religious freedom and forged a new American Buddhism.

Buy a copy of the book or check it out from the library. Read, enjoy, and then join the book discussion online to hear an expert in the field talk about the major ideas of a text that you have read!

Megan Bryson’s research focuses on themes of gender and ethnicity in Chinese religions, especially in the Dali region of Yunnan Province. The geographical specificity of her work is balanced by its temporal breadth, which ranges from the Nanzhao (649-903) and Dali (937-1253) kingdoms to the present, as reflected in her monograph, "Goddess on the Frontier: Religion, Ethnicity, and Gender in Southwest China" (Stanford Univ Press, 2016), which traces the worship of a local deity in Dali from the 12th to the 21st centuries.

Mar 8, 2023 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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