ILAS Interdisciplinary Stimulus Award

As a recipient of an ILAS Interdisciplinary Stimulus Award, Ella Tennant attended the European Conference for Ethics, Religion and Philosophy in Brighton in July. Ella is based in the Language Centre and is a key contributor to the Liberal Arts degree programme. During the two-day conference in Brighton, she chaired a panel on Religious Movements and presented her paper, Eclectic Cosmologies and Star Trek: Multi-media Events in Japanese New Religious Movements.

Ella had previously conducted a detailed and lengthy ethnographic study in Tokyo on a specific Japanese New Religion, which rose to prominence in the 1990’s. The group used media and social activism to remain in the public eye and staged events which, as well as providing entertainment to huge audiences in massive venues, served to perpetuate the personality cult of the leader and the group’s eclectic cosmology and vision of the future. This paper was based on a part of that study, and gave an overview of the group’s borrowed vision followed by an exploration of how manufactured religion merged with showbiz and emotion to create the “spiritual charisma” of the leader. Very little has yet to be published about this particular New Religious Movement and it is hoped that this will lead to opportunities for publication of the work.

The ILAS Interdisciplinary Stimulus Award (ISA) is designed to encourage and support the development of new ideas and initiatives that cross disciplinary boundaries. It supports a range of interdisciplinary activities including research, scholarship, learning and teaching, dissemination, enterprise and outreach. Find out more about the ISA here and look out for our next funding call in October.