Joshua Rogers

Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese and Japanese
Joshua Rogers

Joshua Rogers researches the intersections of modern Japanese literature, religion, and secularization, especially the countercurrent of thought that distinguished itself from both mainstream scientific knowledge and from the religious and supernatural beliefs of the past. His dissertation, titled “Enchanted Texts: Japanese Literature Between Religion and Science, 1890–1950,” examines a lineage of philosophical and literary texts that, by staking out positions critical of both religion and science, created modern spaces for non-rational forms of knowledge, for intuitive and sublime experiences, and for skepticism of purely materialistic views of reality. His current research explores how major writers deployed these positions to argue for literature’s potential to spark the spiritual development of the modern subject, and in turn catalyze artistic and political progress. He traces the impact of secularity on the sociopolitical realities of modern Japan, arguing that questions regarding which types of knowledge and experience are possible, and for whom, held deep importance for the formation of artistic and social authority in the early twentieth century, just as they do today. Joshua is working on two upcoming articles, “Politics of the Spirit: Secularity, Society, and Literature in 1910s Japan,” and “Mysticism from West to East: Yanagi Muneyoshi, the Thuswise, and Modern Japanese Literature.”

At Vassar since 2021

Research and Academic Interests

Modern Japanese literature
Japanese intellectual history
Secularity and modern religion

Departments and Programs


ASIA/JAPA 223 The Gothic and the Supernatural in Japanese Literature
JAPA 305 Advanced Japanese