Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LT0500 (AF:314349 AR:168190)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Surnames A-L
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This is one of the elective courses of the Corso di Laurea "Languages, Cultures and Societies of Asia and Mediterranean Africa".
Its formative objectives are within the area of cultural and humanistic skills learning.
Knowledge and understanding:
- to know and understand the main aspects, the ritual practices and the historical development of shintō from the ancient period to the present;
- to know and understand concepts and tools from the fields of religious studies;
- to deepen, through the analysis of religious texts and rituals, knowledge and understanding of Japanese contexts, that may have already been studied in other teachings from different points of view (e.g. historical, artistic, literary, etc.), being able to understand the interrelation between the religious doctrines and the social context in different historical periods.

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding:
- to be able to analyze and interpret the philosophical and religious texts, using philological, historiographical and socio-anthropological methodologies;
- to be able to critically apply the analytical tools of religious studies.

Judgment skills:
- to be able to elaborate, in a personal and well-articulated manner, a critical analysis of the religious phenomena examined during the course;
- to subject various types of sources (statistic, academic, alternative) to critical examination;
- to refine the capacity to criticize essentialist and stereotypical discourses on "oriental religions".

Communication skills:
- to express and elaborate the contents of the program in written form, in a synthetic and effective way, without depending on automatic, schematic and mnemonic study.

Learning ability:
- to know how to take notes in a synthetic and effective way, highlighting the crucial points of the themes examined during the lectures;
- to know how to critically integrate the study of different materials (notes, manuals, virtual texts, academic articles);
- to be able to independently study materials and topics, even those not covered during the lectures;
- to refine the ability to study materials in English;
- to refine the capacity to use the online teaching platform.
It is recommended that students possess a good knowledge of the history of Japanese religious traditions, acquired through (however not exclusively) the course "History of Japanese philosophy and religions 1". Moreover, a basic knowledge of the history of Japan is advisable, acquired through (however not exclusively) attending the courses “Japanese History 1” and "Japanese History 2". It is recommended that students possess an intermediate level of English language (B2) in order to be able to deepen issues presented during classes, by resorting to the bibliography/reference texts.
The course will analyze the development of shintō and of the various discourses produced from the ancient period to the present.

Lesson 1 "Shintō": a preliminary problematization
Lessons 2-10 A history of shintō: from Heian period to the present
Lessons 11-15 Issues: Miko, kagura, rituals, pilgrimages

- Breen John, Teeuwen Mark (2010). A New History of Shinto. Wiley-Blackwell. (not Ch. 3, available in Moodle)
- Carter Caleb (2018). “Power Spots and the Charged Landscape of Shinto.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 45(1): 145–173. (available in Moodle)
- Inoue Nobutaka (ed.) (2003). Shinto – A Short History. Routledge. (only Introduction and Ch. 4, available in Moodle)
- Kuroda Toshio (1981). "Shinto in the History of Japanese Religion." Journal of Japanese Studies, 7 (1), pp. 1-21. (available in Moodle)
- Plutschow Herbert (1996). Matsuri: The Festivals of Japan. Japan Library (only Ch. 1, available in Moodle)
- Rots Aike (2015). “Sacred Forests, Sacred Nation: The Shinto Environmentalist Paradigm and the Rediscovery of Chinju no Mori.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 42(2): 205–233 (available in Moodle)
- Ruperti Bonaventura (2015). Storia del teatro giapponese. Dalle origini all'Ottocento. Marsilio (only Ch. 2, available in Moodle)
- Teeuwen Mark, Fabio Rambelli (2002). “Introduction: Combinatory Religion and the Honji Suijaku Paradigm in Pre-Modern Japan” in Fabio Rambelli, Mark Teeuwen (eds.), Buddhas and Kami in Japan: Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm, Routledge, pp. 1-53. (available in Moodle)

Additional readings are posted on the website of the course in Moodle.
Written open book exam (60 min)
- 4 open questions (answer in 10-15 lines)
Each answer receives a score in 30/30 points. The overall grade is given by the average between these answers.
All questions are aimed at verifying knowledge and understanding of the themes of the course. They are aimed at verifying understanding of interpretative tools and the ability to learn in autonomy.
The choice of the open questions is aimed at evaluating the student's ability to communicate in an argued, rigorous and concise way.

Frontal lessons.
Bibliography and further readings are available on the Moodle platform.
See: "moodle" for syllabus and further materials.

This exam (with this syllabus) will be available only for the 4 "appelli" of the 2020-21 academic year. Starting from 2021-22, a new syllabus will be in use.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Human capital, health, education" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 31/03/2021