Jane Naomi Iwamura, Ph.D.

Chief Academic Officer
Professor of Religious Studies


PhD, University of California at Berkeley
MTS, Harvard University, The Divinity School
BA, University of California at Berkeley

Research Interests

Dr. Iwamura’s research focuses on Asian American religions, race and popular culture in the United States (with an emphasis on visual culture). Her publications include Virtual Orientalism: Religion and Popular Culture in the U.S. (Oxford 2011) and the co-edited volume, Revealing the Sacred in Asian and Pacific America (Routledge 2003). She has also written on Japanese American lived religions, as well as on the intersection of religion and Asian American literary production.

Dr. Iwamura currently serves as a member of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Committee on Theological Education and is a respondent on the AAR College-Wide Literacy Project. She co-founded the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI)–a national scholarly network advancing the interdisciplinary study of Asian Pacific Americans and their religions and currently serves on the Steering Committee. Dr. Iwamura has received numerous awards for her teaching and mentoring, including the UWest Outstanding Faculty Member Award in 2013 and 2016.

Selected Publications

Virtual Orientalism: Asian Religions and American Popular Culture (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2011).
Revealing the Sacred in Asian and Pacific America (New York: Routledge, 2003).
Constellations of Power, Constellations of Hope,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 31:1 (Spring 2015): 131-136.
“The Post-War Religious World: The Case of Asia,” The Cambridge History of Religions in America, ed. Stephen J. Stein (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
“Critical Faith: Japanese Americans and the Birth of a New Civil Religion,” American Quarterly 59:3 (2007): 937-968. Reprint in Religion and Politics in the Contemporary United States, ed. R. Marie Griffith and Melani McAlister (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2008), 411-442. Expanded reprint in Religion and Immigration in America: Comparative and Historical Perspectives, ed. Richard D. Alba, Albert J. Raboteau, and Josh DeWind (New York: New York Univ. Press, 2009), 135-165.

UWest Courses

REL 659 Buddhism in the U.S.
REL 698A Dissertation Proposal Seminar
REL 698B Dissertation Writing Seminar
REL 690 Teaching Practicum