Emily B. Simpson

Academic Appointments


Emily Simpson earned her B.A. from Vassar College, her M.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and expects to earn her Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara in June, 2019. In 2016-17, she studied at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, under a Fulbright IIE Graduate Research Fellowship. She has studied the legend of Empress Jingū, a third century shaman, empress and conquerer appearing in early Japanese myth and historical chronicles. While the legend has gone through myriad permutations for well over a thousand years, she pays particular attention to the medieval reinterpretations of Jingū’s legend and their subsequent impact on the formation of women’s cults centered on Empress Jingū. Her dissertation, entitled “Crafting a Goddess: Divinization, Womanhood and Genre in Narratives of Empress Jingū,” explores how association with Empress Jingū shifted from a focus on her martial and shamanic deeds to reimagine her as a goddess of childbirth. She teaches courses on women and religion in Japan, Shinto, and Japanese Buddhism.

Curriculum Vitae
Thornton Hall
B.A. Vassar College, 2007
M.A. University of California at Santa Barbara, 2014
Ph.D. University of California at Santa Barbara, expected June 2019