I joined the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies as a Postdoctoral Fellow in June 2021. My academic grounding is in Japanese Studies, Religious Studies, and Social Anthropology with a strong orientation towards ethnographic research methods. I received my PhD in Japanese Studies from The University of Manchester where I was co-supervised in Social Anthropology and jointly funded by the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC), Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the University of Manchester President’s Doctoral Scholar Award. I completed my MA in Religious Studies at Lancaster University and BA(Hons) in Japanese Studies at The University of Manchester. Nearing the completion of my PhD, I began working as a part-time Lecturer in Religious Studies at University of Chester where I taught anthropology of religion and qualitative research methods. I also received an Early Career Research Fellowship on the ‘Religion and Minority’ ESRC|AHRC Japan-UK Partnership grant at The University of Manchester and Toyo University. Prior to my arrival in Sweden, I joined the ‘British Ritual Innovation under Covid-19’ research team at Manchester Metropolitan University where I worked with remote and digital research methods to investigate the impacts of the pandemic on ritual practices including among Buddhist communities and death care professionals.
My work focuses on religion and religious change in contemporary Japan (and Japanese diaspora in the UK), standing at the nexus of several primary interests: Buddhist communities, depopulation, rurality, belonging, affect, gender, labour, economy, heritage, materiality, and environmental impacts of religious practice. I am also interested in creative research methods including film, audio and photography, and feminist ethnographic approaches.
During my time at the Centre, I focus on three main strands of my research, starting with revising my doctoral dissertation into a book manuscript titled Doing Buddhist belonging in troubled times where I document the post-growth survival of Buddhist temple communities in regional Japan. The second area of my focus is the impact of depopulation on the production of waste, excess and abandonment practices in Buddhist contexts. Here, I explore the importance of “Buddhist waste” for understanding the environmental and economic implications of Buddhist belonging and practice in contemporary Japan. Finally, following a successful collaboration through the Aesthetics of Religious Belonging research group with Dr Gwendolyn Gillson at Illinoi College, I will continue my co-investigations of religion, labour, and gender.
Displaying of publications. Sorted by year, then title.
Heritage out of Control : Buddhist Material Excess in Contemporary JapanPaulina Kolata
(2022) Allegra Lab
How do Buddhists show their devotion to the Buddha?Paulina Kolata
(2021) Religion in Five Minutes , p.68-73
British ritual innovation under COVID-19Joshua Edelman, Alana Vincent, Paulina Kolata, Eleonor O'Keeffe, Katja Stuerzenhofecker, et al.
Case Study : Buddhist Temples of the Future: managing survivalPaulina Kolata
(2021) Bloomsbury Handbooks , p.51-54
Feasting with Buddhist Women : Food Literacy in Religious BelongingPaulina Kolata, Gwendolyn Gillson
(2021) Numen, 68 p.567-592
The Story Beyond UNESCO : Local Buddhist Temples and the Heritage of Survival in Regional JapanPaulina Kolata
(2020) Routledge Research on Museums and Heritage in Asia , p.159-181