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Jeremy Guida arrives at Soka having recently finished his PhD in religious studies at the University of California, Riverside. His research focuses on how people learn spiritual beliefs and practices outside of religious organizations. In this vein, his work contributes to the fields of secular studies, religion and media, and the historical developments of minority religions in the U.S., new religions, and new spirituality. His dissertation, Metaphysical Underground: The Underground Press and the Transformation of Metaphysical Religion, 1964-1973 investigates how Americans used underground newspapers to proliferate various occult beliefs and practices, as well as certain forms of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism. At the same time, Jeremy’s research demonstrates how the medium of underground newspapers transformed the ways in which Americans understood, practiced and perceived each of these traditions.
As a postdoctoral fellow at PBRC, Jeremy will investigate the importance of the pacific basin in the religious developments of the 1960s. Through published articles, presentations, and by organizing invited talks, Jeremy will explore some of the religious effects of the Vietnam War, some of the means by which various Chinese and Japanese religious traditions were established in the US in the 1960s (and how participants in the counterculture affected public perception of these traditions), and also the unique role that California played in the religious developments of the counterculture. These explorations will contribute historical and religious significances to the research output of the PBRC and at the same time inform Jeremy’s work as he revises his dissertation for publication as a book.
In addition to carrying out the above projects, Jeremy will teach two classes at SUA: World Religions Today and The Religious History of California. In both courses, students will be introduced to a wide variety of beliefs, practices and traditions and at the same time students will be encouraged to think critically about how we use the idea of religion and the taxonomy of world religions to make sense of the world. Both courses will be informed by Jeremy’s research projects being carried out at the PBRC and both will provide opportunities for undergraduates to participate actively in the work of the PBRC.