Jolyon Baraka Thomas

Assistant Professor, Religious StudiesUniversity of Pennsylvania


Jolyon Thomas is an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a PhD from Princeton University, an MA from the University of Hawaii, and a BA from Grinnell College. Current projects investigate who gets to define religious freedom and with what political effects, how conceptions of “religion” and “the secular” appear in debates about public school education in postwar Japan and the United States, and what sort of relationships exist between religion, capitalism, and sexuality.

His first book, Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan, is available from University of Hawaii Press. His second book, Japan, the American Occupation, and the Problem of Religious Freedom, is forthcoming from University of Chicago Press (2019). He is now working on a third book, tentatively titled The Problematic Subject of Religious Education: Debates over Morality, Patriotism, and Security in Postwar Japan and the United States.

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2017

Assistant Professor, Religious StudiesUniversity of Pennsylvania

Religion, Morality, and Public School Education in Japan and the United States