Professional biography from Dr. Josephson-Storm’s website (Source:

Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm* received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University in 2006 and has held visiting positions at Princeton University, École Française d’Extrême-Orient, Paris and Ruhr Universität, Germany. He has three primary research foci: Japanese Religions, European Intellectual history, and Theory more broadly. The common thread to his research is an attempt to decenter received narratives in the study of religion and science. His main targets have been epistemological obstacles, the preconceived universals which serve as the foundations of various discourses. Josephson Storm has also been working to articulate new research models for Religious Studies in the wake of the collapse of poststructuralism as a guiding ethos in the Humanities.

Japanese Religions: Josephson Storm’s scholarship initially concentrated on Japan in the Edo-Meiji Era (1600-1912), treating it as a central node in a series of semi-overlapping transnational networks. Drawing largely on sources written in Japanese, Chinese, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Dutch, he worked on the importation of the Euro-American concepts of “religion,” “science,” and “secularism” into Japan and traced the sweeping changes—intellectual, legal, and cultural—that followed.

This line of research culminated in his award-winning book, The Invention of Religion in Japan (University of Chicago Press, 2012), the first study in any European language to reveal how Japanese officials, under extreme international pressure, came to terms with the Western concept of religion by “discovering” religion in Japan and formulating policies to guarantee its freedom.

A secondary area of research is European Intellectual history (esp. English, French, German) from 1600 to the present with particular attention to the cultural context of the formation of the Human Sciences and the construction of “religion” as an object of humanistic inquiry. This research has resulted in The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences (University of Chicago Press, May 27, 2017) which challenges the most widely held account of modernity and its rupture from the pre-modern past. Based on archival research in five different countries, this monograph traces the history of the myth of disenchantment in the births of philosophy, anthropology, sociology, folklore, psychoanalysis, and religious studies. Ironically, it shows that the myth of mythless modernity formed at the very time that Britain, France, and Germany were in the midst of occult and spiritualist revivals. Indeed, these disciplines’ founding figures were not only aware of, but profoundly enmeshed in, the occult milieu; and it was specifically in response to this burgeoning culture of spirits and magic that they produced notions of a disenchanted world.

Theory: Josephson Storm also has an abiding passion for Continental Philosophy and Theory more generally. In graduate school, he was trained in Francophone poststructuralism (with a special attention to the work of Michel Foucault) and East Asian philosophy (especially the phenomenology of the Kyoto School). But he has more recently been working on the legacy of the Hegelian dialectical tradition, especially as articulated by Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin. Josephson Storm juxtaposes these philosophical movements with contemporary insights from the fields of linguistics, conceptual history (Begriffsgeschichte), and cognitive anthropology. In this research he has been focusing on issues relevant to epistemology, virtue ethics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of science.

In this philosophical mode, he is currently completing a further book length manuscript–Absolute Disruption: The Future of Theory after Postmodernism, which uses insights from science studies, feminist new materialism, Japanese philosophy, and both continental and analytic philosophy (especially philosophy of science) to address one of the central impasses of the discipline of Religious Studies—the disintegration of its central term “religion.” It articulates new methods for the social sciences by simultaneously radicalizing and moving past the postmodern turn. It is currently under contract with the University of Chicago Press with an anticipated delivery date of August 2019

  • Note about name: Josephson Storm got married in August 2016. For publishing purposes, he began hyphenating his professional surname with his wife’s surname (Storm) (although his larger plan is probably to eventually adopt “Jason Storm” as a professional name). Pre-2017 publications are under his birth-name Jason Ānanda Josephson, later publications will appear under Jason Ā. Josephson-Storm. Polite students are welcome to refer to him as “Professor Storm.”