Emeritus Professor James H Grayson

BA, MA, MDiv, PhD

School of East Asian Studies

Professor of Korean Studies

  • BA (Rutgers)
  • MA (Columbia)
  • MDiv (Duke)
  • PhD (Edinburgh)
Research interests

James H. Grayson's research interests lie in two main areas, the diffusion of religion across cultural boundaries, and an analysis of the religious and intellectual conceptual framework of the Korean and East Asian peoples.

His research is broadly anthropological in approach with an interest in both the ancient and recent periods of Korean history. He has done fieldwork in Korea, Japan and Okinawa.

Three major research projects completed in the last decade include a study of the development and history of ch’udo yebae, the Korean Protestant substitute ritual for the Confucian ancestral rite called chesa, a prime example of Christian cultural accommodation in the process of religious encounter.

In subsequent field work, Prof. Grayson researched another Protestant ritual which developed in the 1930s as a substitute for the Confucian coming-of-age ritual, the kwallye or ‘capping’ ceremony.

Most recently, he examined a Christian millenarian group, Sion-san cheguk [The Empire of Mount Zion], which arose in Korea in the midst of the Second World War with a proclamation of divine judgement against Japan.

Prof. Grayson is currently engaged in a project to examine the material culture of Korean Protestant funerary practices in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with a view to seeing to what extent it was influenced by Confucian practice and artistic motifs.

Research group

Following his retirement, Prof. Grayson is no longer able to be a principle supervisor for a research degree. However, he is able to contribute to research supervision with other members of staff in SEAS.

Areas of research supervision competence would include Korean and East Asian religions (including Christianity), anthropological studies of contemporary Korean society, Korean and East Asian folklore, and support for research into the background of studies involving modern and contemporary Korea history.