Having originally moved to Japan for her doctoral studies, Prof. Catherine Ludvik has taught Stanford students about the intersection of Kyoto’s religious and artistic life since shortly after the university established a permanent program here. Since then, Catherine has built up an extensive understanding of this important facet of Kyoto’s cultural heritage, which continues to evolve in line with wider societal changes. Prof. Ludvik speaks to Dr. Mike Hugh, director of the BOSP Program in Kyoto, about her experience of living in Kyoto, her long and special association with the Shikoku Pilgrimage, her teaching for Stanford, and also how religious life in Kyoto is being impacted by COVID-19.
Prof. Catherine Ludvik obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in the Centre for the Study of Religion and teaches Japanese religion, visual arts, culture and history at Doshisha University and Kyoto Sangyo University. Spanning Indian and Japanese religions and their visual arts, her research interests focus on the metamorphoses of originally Indian deities in texts, images and rituals of Japan, as well as on ascetic practices and pilgrimage. Prof. Ludvik is the author of Recontextualizing the Praises of a Goddess (2006) and Sarasvati, Riverine Goddess of Knowledge (2007). She is currently researching the goddess Uga-Benzaiten and the Shikoku Henro pilgrimage. She has taught courses on Japanese religion, visual arts and gardens on the Stanford Program in Kyoto since 2001.
Dr. Mike Hugh has been director of the Stanford Program in Kyoto since 2013.