Lindsey DeWitt Prat is a Flanders Research Foundation (FWO) Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Languages & Cultures. She received her PhD in Asian Languages & Cultures from the University of California, Los Angeles, in December 2015. Her doctorate follows an MA in International Studies and Comparative Religion from the University of Washington in 2008, and a BA in Political Science and Asian Studies from Colorado State University in 2004. Before coming to Ghent, Lindsey served as an Assistant Professor of Buddhism and Japanese Religions at Kyushu University and for two years as a Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences (JSPS) postdoctoral fellow, also at Kyushu University.
Lindsey's research focuses on religion, gender, space/place, and tradition/heritage in Japan, spanning all time periods. Combining analysis of historical documents and literary texts with ethnographic fieldwork and contemporary media and heritage studies, her work reveals the complex processes whereby spaces become places, continually remade over time, and how the past lives in the present (more specifically who mobilizes which idea or ideal of the past for what ends, be they affective, ideological, economic, political, spiritual, or some combination thereof).
Many of Lindsey's publications and presentations center on the religion-based exclusion of women (nyonin kinsei, nyonin kekkai) in Japan. She spent five years in Japan conducting ethnographic and documentary investigations at the margins of two male-only sacred sites (both recognized as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites): Mt. Ōmine in Nara prefecture, and the island Okinoshima in Fukuoka prefecture.
Since 2020, Lindsey has turned her attention to female taboos in the context of professional sumo wrestling. She is currently completing a monograph on the lives and afterlives of this rarefied (in the modern age) social practice. Examining a wide range of literary and historical texts and weaving together multiple case studies, Lindsey's book lays bare the disjuncture between putative ancient origins, observable present-day practices (i.e., lived religion), and selective narratives of tradition and cultural heritage.
Lindsey has taught introductory and specialist courses on Japan's culture and religious traditions (modern and premodern), Buddhism and Asian religions, cultural heritage, religious studies theory and methodology, sacred space in East Asia, and more. She has presented her work all over the world, in English and in Japanese, and her writing appears in Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, The Eastern Buddhist, Journal of Asian Humanities at Kyushu University (JAH-Q), Religions, Oxford Bibliographies, and in edited volumes published by Bloomsbury Academic and Routledge.