T. James Kodera
B.A., Carleton College; M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Columbia University
Professor of Religion
An educator and a scholar in the comparative and historical study of religion with a focus on Asia, as the word "Asia" is understood historically and broadly to include West Asia, South Asia and East Asia.
Having been trained in the textual, cultural, and historical approach to the study of religion, with a focus on Buddhism, I have sought to combine the promise of Liberation Theology of Latin America to the study of Asian religions, including the contributions of the Koreans to the making of early Japanese civilization and the radical turn of their place in Japanese society, especially since the late 16th century. Currently, I study the plight of the "untouchables" in India and Japan.
Courses I offer at Wellesley College on a three year rotation include: Introduction to Asian Religions, Buddhist Thought and Practice, Chinese Thought and Religion, Japanese Religion and Culture, and Contemplation and Action, as well as these seminars: Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Issues in Comparative Religion. For the American Studies Program, I offer Asian American Experience, and the seminar Interning the Enemy Race: Japanese Americans in WWII.
I am engaged in a variety of professional activities as a scholar-teacher, as well as an Episcopal priest. I am the first Asian American to be ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts since its inception in 1789. I serve as rector, part-time, at St. Luke's in Hudson, Mass., as well as president of the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry Council.
My personal interests revolve around my family. My wife, Nancy, served as a missionary social worker for the Anglican Church of Japan. She founded Kapatiran, a social agency to help foreign women, especially Filipinas, in Japan's "sex industry."