- This event has passed.
Lecture: Sacred forests in Japan today: Shinto and nature conservation by Aike P. Rots from IKOS
October 2, 2013 - 12:15-14:00
What is this religious tradition called ‘Shinto’? When did it emerge, and what is its main focus? The answers to these questions are by no means clear-cut, but subject to ongoing debate and negotiations, both academic and religious-institutional. In recent decades, the notion that Shinto is an ancient tradition of nature worship, said to contain relevant ecological knowledge that can help us overcome the current environmental crisis, has gradually gained popularity, to the point that it has now achieved paradigmatic status. Central to this discourse is the concept of ‘chinju no mori’, or sacred shrine forests; i.e., the small urban groves and forested mountains often associated with Shinto shrines. In this presentation, I will discuss discursive, spatial and institutional practices associated with these ‘chinju no mori’: how are they conceptualised in contemporary academic and religious discourse; how are they given shape (through landscape design, forest maintenance and so on); and how do contemporary Shinto institutions relate to them. Forest- and biodiversity conservation appear to be a core concern of at least some shrine actors today, but the significance of these ‘chinju no mori’ arguably goes beyond nature conservation: representing continuity between the present and the (ancient) past, they have become a symbol of the preservation and even resurrection of ‘traditional’ Japanese culture and morality.
Venue: 12th floor, Niels Treschows hus, Oslo
For more information please visit UiO website.