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Faking Liberties By Jolyon Baraka Thomas

Faking Liberties by Jolyon Baraka Thomas

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Faking Liberties Summary

Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan by Jolyon Baraka Thomas

Religious freedom is a founding tenet of the United States, and it has frequently been used to justify policies towards other nations. Such was the case in 1945 when Americans occupied Japan following World War II. Though the Japanese constitution had guaranteed freedom of religion since 1889, the United States declared that protection faulty, and when the occupation ended in 1952, they claimed to have successfully replaced it with "real" religious freedom. Through a fresh analysis of pre-war Japanese law, Jolyon Baraka Thomas demonstrates that the occupiers' triumphant narrative obscured salient Japanese political debates about religious freedom. Indeed, Thomas reveals that American occupiers also vehemently disagreed about the topic. By reconstructing these vibrant debates, Faking Liberties unsettles any notion of American authorship and imposition of religious freedom. Instead, Thomas shows that, during the Occupation, a dialogue about freedom of religion ensued that constructed a new global set of political norms that continue to form policies today.

Faking Liberties Reviews

"Faking Liberties...sets new standards for methodological rigor in archival work on modern Japanese religions as it provides unprecedented access to key works by Buddhist and other religious figures, Japanese government officials, Occupation authorities, and numerous other contributors to discourse on religious freedom...Thomas's attention to injustice animates an overdue destruction of long-standing myths about Japanese and American exceptionalism. The result is the most important book on Japanese religion of our scholarly generation. It rewrites Japanese religious history in a way that requires all of us to follow Thomas in calling out racialized mythologies maintained by the institutions we study. Like it or not, we are now in a post-Faking Liberties era."--Levi McLaughlin "Journal of Asian Studies"
"Faking Liberties, drawing richly from archival materials and prewar and wartime books and newspapers in both English and Japanese, is thus a major disruption of the received narrative about religion, and freedom, in Japan...a must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about religion and freedom in Japan or as 'universal' ideas."--Jason Morgan "Journal of American-East Asian Relations"
"Excellent . . . [the] connection to contemporary policy debates makes Faking Liberties an enormously valuable read beyond the scholarly world of Japanese studies. . . . Faking Liberties is an engrossing and valuable read for anyone involved in, or simply interested in, the interaction of scholarship and policy at the intersection of religion and international affairs."--Judd Birdsall "The Review of Faith & International Affairs"
"Through archival prowess and intra-textual paradox, Thomas offers a well-timed reminder: to
stake out ground in the capacious is to take a partisan position. It is to recognize, again, the
ways that our critical projects remain enmeshed with hard-won visions of social good and with
so many ambivalent projects of humanism that--still, somehow--we cannot manage not to
want."--Lucia Hulsether "Reading Religion"
"Faking Liberties is a challenging intervention into not only the historiography of modern Japan, but religious studies more generally."-- "New Books Network"
"Given that the last decade has seen a number of scholarly works detailing the establishment of 'religion' as a concept in early Meiji Japan, Thomas's efforts to show how the category of religion was negotiated in Japan during the entire first half of the twentieth century represents a welcome move forward in time. Meticulously researched, theoretically sharp, and elegantly written, Faking Liberties is an excellent study not only of how religious freedom was constructed as a transnational ideal through mutual negotiation during the period of American occupation, but also of how various actors interacted with religious freedom during the interbellum period. Faking Liberties is a welcome addition to the field of Japanese religious studies as well as to the critical study of religion and law."-- "H-Net Reviews"

About Jolyon Baraka Thomas

Jolyon Baraka Thomas is an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan by Jolyon Baraka Thomas
Used - Like New
The University of Chicago Press
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The book has been read, but looks new. The book cover has no visible wear, and the dust jacket is included if applicable. No missing or damaged pages, no tears, possible very minimal creasing, no underlining or highlighting of text, and no writing in the margins

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