Christopher Thane Callahan

 Christopher Callahan

Contact Information

FLB 2047

Office Hours

  • T 12:30-3:00
Teaching Assistant Professor
View CV


Christopher Callahan, a scholar of Japanese religions and Buddhism, completed his B.A in Philosophy at Washington and Lee University and two Masters degrees in Asian Religions and in Japanese Literature at the University of Hawai’i before receiving his Ph.D. from the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University in 2011. 

Research Interests

  • Japanese Religions, Buddhism

Research Description

I am interested in religious biographies and the role that they play in the “life” of religious communities. My doctoral research at Harvard focused on the narrative and ritual representation of the life and thought of Shinran, the purported founder of Jôdo Shinshû (“The True Sect of Pure Land”) Buddhism, particularly in the illustrated hand scroll (emaki) biographies produced by Shinran’s great-grandson, Kakunyo.


  • Ph.D Religious Studies, Harvard University
  • M.A. Asian Religions, University of Hawaii
  • M.A. Japanese Literature, University of Hawaii
  • B.A. Philosophy, Washington and Lee University


  • EALC 199: Japanese Religion in Manga and Anime
  • EALC 250: Introduction to Japanese Culture
  • EALC/REL 287: Introduction to Buddhism
  • EALC/REL 398: The Visual Culture of Japanese Buddhism
  • EALC/REL 495: Pure Land Buddhism

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Recognizing the Founder, Seeing Amida Buddha Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 43 1 2016, p. 177-205. JJRS.
Callahan, Christopher Thane Awakening Faith in the Pure Land Section of the Qixinlun Pacific World: Journal of the Institute of Buddhist Studies Third Series Number 13 2011, p. 25-44. The Pacific World.