Matthew Mitchell

Title: Visiting Assistant Professor
Department: History
Other Departments: Religious Studies
B.A., Illinois Wesleyan University;
M.A., University of Hawaii at Manoa;
Ph.D., Duke University

Contact Information

Phone: (814) 332-3503
Office Location:  Arter Hall, Room 202A

Student Hours: Fall 2022

Monday 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Tuesday 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Wednesday 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Thursday 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
And over Meet by appointment


Areas of Specialization

East Asian Religions
Women and Religions
Lived Religions


Areas of Teaching Competence

Asian Religions
Asian History


Current Work

Buddhist Nuns and Society in 17th-20th Century Japan
Lived Religion in Japanese Cities



  • “Going with the Flow and yet Controlling the Flow: The Early Life, Education, and Scholarship of Takatsukasa Seigyoku, Current Abbess of Zenkōji’s Daihongan Convent,” International Journal of Dharma Studies 4/1: 1-24.
  • “Review of The Princess Nun: Bunchi, Buddhist Reform, and Gender in Early Edo Japan, by Gina Cogan.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 41/2: 405-408.
  • “Review of Hokkeji and the Reemergence of Female Monastic Orders in Premodern Japan, by Lori Meeks.”  Journal of Religion in Japan 1, no. 1 (February 2012): 115 – 119.
  • Translation of Nagasawa Sōhei, “Minzoku girei to nichijōteki shintai keiken (Bodily Experience in Everyday Life and Folkloric Ritual: The Case of Take-Kagura in Iwate Prefecture),” Shūkyō kenkyū 83, no. 1 (June 2009): 161 – 181.

    Recent Conference Presentations

  • “Conventional Economics and Irregular Expenditures: Money and the Place of Zenkōji Daihongan in Early Modern Japan,” Stanley Weinstein Dissertation Award Presentation, April 5, 2018, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
  • “Conventional Economics: Money as a Window into Zenkōji’s Daihongan Convent and Its Place in Local Society,” Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, March 22-25, 2018, Washington, D.C.
  • “Downtown Dharma: Popular Religious Festivals and Urban Space in Nineteenth-Century Japan,” “You Are Here”: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Place, Space, and Embodiment, March 23-24, 2018, Omaha, Nebraska.
  • “When the Buddha Loses Your Money: An Examination of a Failed Buddhist Financial Confraternity in Nineteenth-Century Japan,” Buddhism and Business, Market and Merit: Intersections between Buddhism and Economics Past and Present, June 16–18, 2017, Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • “Viewing the Vernacular: Popular Practices as Recorded in the Works of Kōriki Tanenobu (1756–1831),” Changing Figures in Japanese Vernacular Religions, April 28, 2017, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Respondent for panel “Mountaineering religion in Asia and beyond,” Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, November 19-22, 2016, San Antonio, Texas.
  • “How I Meditated with Your Mother: Speed Dating at Buddhist Temples in Japan,” The 2016 Conference on Buddhist Tourism in Asia: Sacred Sites within Global Networks, April 9-10, 2016, Corvallis, Oregon.
  •   “Skewering Fortune: Temple Fundraising Lotteries in Early Modern Japan, with a focus on Zenkōji’s Daihongan Convent,” Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, November 21-24, 2015, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • “Ordination, Education, Individual Choice, and Social Context in the Construction and Deployment of Buddhist Femininities in Early Modern Japan,” Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, November 22-25, 2014, San Diego, California.
  • “Conflicts and Compromises: The Relationship between Zenkōji’s Daihongan Convent and Daikanjin Monastery,” 53rd Annual Meeting of the Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, January 17-19, 2014, Durham, North Carolina.
  • “Displaying the Treasury of Loyal Retainers (Chūshingura): Relics, Popular Culture, and Buddhist Images at Sengakuji,” Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, November 23-26, 2013, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • “Beyond the Convent Walls: the Networks and Travels of Daihongan’s Abbesses in the 19th Century,” Women and Networks in Nineteenth Century Japan, June 8, 2013, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan.
  • “Nuns without Borders: The Local and National Lives of Daihongan’s Nuns in Early Modern Japan,” Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, March 21-24, 2013, San Diego, California.
  • “Nuns at the Intersection of Status and Gender: The Conflicts and Compromises of Daihongan’s Nuns in Early Modern Japan,” Early Modern Japan Network, March 21, 2013, San Diego, California.
  • “Networks of Obligation: the Lives and Connections of Daihongan’s Nuns in Early Modern Japan,” Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Nov. 16-20, 2012, Chicago, Illinois.