IAS Thursdays | American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War
The mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II is not only a tale of injustice; it is a moving story of faith. In this pathbreaking account, Duncan Ryūken 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. This event is organized by the IAS Research and Creative Collaborative Group called Historical Injustices. Co-sponsors are the Immigration History Research Center, the Religious Studies Program, the Asian American Studies Program, and the Department of History.
An ordained Buddhist priest in the Soto Zen tradition, Duncan Ryūken Williams has spent years piecing together the story of the Japanese American community during World War II. A renowned scholar of Buddhism, he has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Irvine, and Trinity College, and is now the Director of the Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture at the University of Southern California. He has published five other books, including The Other Side of Zen.