How the Sacred Foxes Came to Columbia: Anthropological Fieldwork, Synchronicity, and the Collecting Impulse
NEW YORK, September 20, 2010 –

The Friends of the Columbia Libraries are pleased to host a lecture by anthropologist Dr. Karen Smyers. The event, “How the Sacred Foxes Came to Columbia: Anthropological Fieldwork, Synchronicity, and the Collecting Impulse,” will take place on Thursday, September 30 at 6:00 PM in Room 403, Kent Hall, Columbia University. The lecture is co-sponsored by Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture and is free and open to the public.


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.

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