In 2008, Dr. Karen Smyers donated a priceless collection of Inari-related materials to Columbia’s C.V. Starr East Asian Library. Comprising not only books and periodicals, but also rare woodblock prints and a significant number of unique earthenware figurines, the materials were gathered over many years of ethnographic research at Fushimi Inari Shrine and other sites in Japan. Dr. Smyers discusses the origins and significance of the collection, and will field questions from the audience. A reception will follow in Starr’s Rare Book Reading Room (Kent Hall, 3rd Floor), where many of the materials are on display.
Karen A. Smyers majored in religion at Smith College and received a doctorate in anthropology from Princeton University. She subsequently taught at Wesleyan University for nearly a decade, specializing in the anthropological study of religion, especially Japanese popular religion. Her ethnography, The Fox and the Jewel: Shared and Private Meanings in Contemporary Japanese Inari Worship, appeared from the University of Hawai’i Press in 1999. In 2001, Dr. Smyers began training at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich; she received her diploma in 2007. Currently, Dr. Smyers has a private practice as a Jungian analyst in Hadley, Massachusetts, and serves as the President of the Jung Center of Western Massachusetts. In spring 2012, she will teach a class at the Jung Institute in Boston on Japanese mythology, psychology, and ethos. She is still fascinated by foxes.