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Feminism and Female Empowerment in the 21st-Century Academy (2022- ) 

Lead Investigator: Noriko Murai (03-3238-4026 /

ICC members/FLA faculty: Bettina Gramlich-Oka, Hanako Okada, Yuka Sugawara, Angela Yiu

ICC visiting scholars: Naomi Kuromiya, Lillian Wies


Short Statement of the Goals and Purposes:

This collaborative research unit reflects on the history and examines the current states of feminism as an ongoing intellectual movement in relation to various academic disciplines, with a focus on the humanities. It also explores how such scholarly endeavors, typically resulting in highly specialized research publications and theoretical treatises, can be channeled into and complement/reinforce university teaching and the fostering of a campus life conducive to female empowerment. While systemic inequity in the academy exists on multiple levels and at the intersection of various factors, many studies have shown how the one that is rooted in sexism continues to prevent female students and scholars from attaining appropriate acknowledgement in the academy.


This research unit hopes to create a forum to bring together faculty members and researchers within the ICC and within Sophia University more generally to address and discuss the above issues. In order to do so, we will invite a number of Anglophone scholars, renowned for their scholarly engagement with feminism as well as for their university teaching designed to promote an increased intellectual and social awareness to attain gender equality, to discuss their experiences of combining research, teaching, and other aspects of being a female member of the academy today.

This is a new project, and depending on its evolution in the coming academic years, we would like to consider putting together a publication, perhaps to be published in (translated) Japanese, that will reach not just specialist readers versed in feminism, but also a broader audience that includes university students. For AY2022-23, we will keep a close record of all the proceedings. In fact, figuring out how best to present and utilize the findings of this project will be an integral part of this proposed project itself.


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