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Sybil Thornton

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Assoc Professor of History
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4302
Campus, Mailcode
Biography

 

Associate Professor, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

 

Research Interests and Selected Publications

Sybil Thornton's research focuses on three interrelated areas of Japanese narrative:  medieval Buddhist propaganda, late-medieval epic, and the period film.  In addition to several articles and book chapters, she is the author of Charisma and Community Formation in Medieval Japan: The Case of the Yugyo-ha (1300-1700) and of the 2007The Japanese Period Film:  A Critical Analysis.  She is now working on a translation and study of the c. 1400  Meitokuki, the second of a proposed series of five late-medieval Japanese epics and an article on the fabricated earthquake report as a type scene in the Japanese epic.

Teaching Interests and Courses

Sybil Thornton's courses include:

HST 106 [Pre-modern] Asian Civilization
HST 387 [Pre-modern] Japan
HST 310 Film as History
HST 555 Comparative Oral Traditions
HST 303 Women in Asia
HST 389 Pre-modern Japan: Traditional Society and Values
HST 303 Japan in Film:  Japan in the Sixteenth Century

Professional Service Activities

Dr. Thornton has been particularly active in advancing knowledge about Asia among Arizona Community College and K-12 teachers and students.  In 2011-2014, she was also PI of a Japan Foundation Institutional Project Support grant which funded lectures, performances, film series, art exhibits, a major international conference on 3/11, and book purchases for Hayden Library.

Publications
  • S.A. Thornton. Meitokuki: Spirit Pacification and Political Legitimacy in the Late Medieval Japanese Epic. History Compas (2014).
  • S.A. Thornton. Shinto Art. The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts (2014).
  • S.A. Thornton. Ikko Ikki. Japan at War: An Encyclopedia, ed. Louis G. Perez (2013).
  • S.A. Thornton. Isshi Incident. Japan at War: An Encyclopedia, ed. Louis G. Perez (2013).
  • S.A. Thornton. Jingu Kogo. Japan at War: An Encyclopedia, ed. Louis. G. Perez (2013).
  • S.A. Thornton. Kakitsu Disturbance. Japan at War: An Encyclopedia, ed. Louis G. Perez (2013).
  • S.A. Thornton. Nara (Heijo-kyo) to Heian-kyo. at War: An Encyclopedia, ed. Louis G. Perez (2013).
  • S.A. Thornton. Ritsu-ryo. Japan at War: An Encyclopedia, ed. Louis G. Perez (2013).
  • . . Review of: Coins, Trade, and the State: Economic Growth in Early Medieval Japan (2012).
  • . . Review of: The Teeth and Claws of the Buddha: Monastic Warriors and Sohei in Japanese History, by Mikael S. Adolphson (2009).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Japanese Codes of Laws and Laws. The Oxford Encylopedia of Women in World History (2007).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Karaikkal Ammaiyar. The Oxford Encylopedia of Women in World History (2007).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Magobai. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History (2007).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Miko. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History (2007).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Mumtaz Mahal. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History (2007).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Soryabai. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History (2007).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Suryothai. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History (2007).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Zebunissa. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History (2007).
  • Sybil Thornton. Using Film in Teaching About Asia: A Cautionary Essay. Education About Asia (2007).
  • Thornton, Sybil. The Japanese Period Film: A Critical Analysis. (2007).
  • Sybil Thornton. Japanese Oral Tradition. Oral Tradition (2003).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Historical drama, "Makino Masahiro," and "Gangster film". Encyclopedia of Modern Japanese Culture (2001).
  • . . Review of: Jewel in the Ashes: Buddha Relics and Power in Early Medieval Japan, by Brian D. Ruppert (2001).
  • . . Review of: The Cambridge History of Japan (2001).
  • Sybil Thornton. Kohnodai Senki: Traditional Narrative and Warrior Ideology in Sixteenth-Century Japan. Oral Tradition (2000).
  • . . Review of: Re-Visioning "Kamakura" Buddhism (2000).
  • . . Religions of Japan in Practice (1999).
  • . Matsuo BashÅ�. Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Handwörterbuch für Theologie und Religionswissenschaft 4th Edition (1998).
  • . . Review of: Alms and Vagabonds: Buddhist Temples and Popular Patronage in Medieval (1996).
  • Sybil Thornton. The Shinkokugeki and the Zenshinza: Western Representational Realism and the Japanese Period Piece. Asian Cinema (1995).
  • . . Buddhism in Practice (1995).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Ippen. Great Thinkers of the Eastern World (1995).
  • Thornton, Sybil. ItÅ� Jinsai. Great Thinkers of the Eastern World (1995).
  • Thornton, Sybil. OgyÅ« Sorai. Great Thinkers of the Eastern World (1995).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Yamaga SokÅ�. Great Thinkers of the Eastern World (1995).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Aru gaijin josei no jishÅ« bungei kenkyÅ«. JishÅ« bungei to Ippen hÅ�go (1987).
  • . . Review of: To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in Japanese Cinema (1981).
  • . . Review of: Japanese Film Directors (1979).
  • . . Review of: The Samurai Film (1977).
  • . . Review of: The Waves at Genji’s Door: Japan through its Cinema (1977).
  • . . Review of: Hokkeji and the Reemergence of Female Monastic Orders in Premodern Japan, by Lori Meeks, Kuroda Institute Studies in East Asian Buddhism, Number 23 (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2010) (0).
Research Activity
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 106Asian Civilizations
HST 387Japan
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 303Studies in Asian History
HST 389Japan Society & Values/Premod
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 106Asian Civilizations
HST 387Japan
Fall 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 106Asian Civilizations
HST 387Japan
Spring 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 303Studies in Asian History
HST 389Japan Society & Values/Premod
HST 492Honors Directed Study
EPD 790Reading and Conference
Fall 2013
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 106Asian Civilizations
HST 387Japan
EPD 690Reading and Conference
Spring 2013
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 303Studies in Asian History
HST 389Japan Society & Values/Premod
Presentations
  • Thornton, Sybil. Examining Documentary, Truths, and History through Re-enactmentst: The Medical, Military, and Metalurgical Arts. 2008 Film and History Conference (Oct 2008).
  • S.A. Thornton. Presenting the Past in Japanese Postcards. 12th International Conference of the European Ass. Japanese Studies (Sep 2008).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Sixteenth-Century Japan in Film. 47th Annual Missouri Valley History Conference (Mar 2004).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Kabuki as Film/Film as Kabuki. Western Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (Oct 2003).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Religious Authority and Monastic Regulation in the Fourteenth Century, Cultures of Authority in Asian Practice. Moderated Online Conference sponsored by the Asian Studies Development Program (A joint project of the East West Center and the University of Hawaii) (Sep 2003).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Kabuki as Film/Film as Kabuki. European Association of Japanese Studies Triennial Meeting (Aug 2003).
  • Thornton, Sybil. The Ji Buddhist Sect, Izumi Shikibu, and the Rededication of the Seiganji in 1580. Lecture at the Department of East Asian Studies (Nov 2002).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Traditional Composition and the Films of John Ford. Biennial Meeting of the Film and History League [The American West in Film, Television, and History] (Nov 2002).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Takuga: Religious Authority in Fourteenth-Century Japan. Annual Meeting of the Association of Asian Studies (Apr 2002).
  • Thornton, Sybil. The Last Word on Salvation: Takuga, Religious Authority, and Monastic Regulation. Western Regional Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (Mar 2002).
  • Thornton, Sybil. The Yugyoh Shohnin, Izumi Shikibu, and the Rededication of the Seiganji in 1580. Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (Nov 2001).
  • Thornton, Sybil. The Last Word on Salvation: Religious Authority in the Yugy-ha (Fourteenth Century). CSJR Seminars (May 2001).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Kabuki as Film, Film as Kabuki in the Twentieth Century. International Symposium: Japanese Theatre in the 21st Century (Jan 2001).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Seiganji - One More Time. Ph.D. Kenkyu Kai Annual Conference (Oct 2000).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Shamanism in the Japanese Period Film. Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion/Western Region (Apr 2000).
  • Thornton, Sybil. A Borrowed Tradition: Jishu Amulets and Safe Childbirth. Annual Meeting of the Association of Asian Studies (Mar 2000).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Fear of Death and Dismemberment: Descriptions of Battle in Medieval Japan. 6th Annual Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Conference (Feb 2000).
  • Thornton, Sybil. Monasticism in the Pure Land Tradition: the Jishuh in the Mid-fourteenth Century. 11th Conference of the European Association of Japanese Studies
  • Thornton, Sybil. Fiction in the Documentary. Film and History 2006 Conference: The Documentary Tradition
Service
  • Academic Senate, senator (2014 - Present)
  • CLAS Senate, senator (2014 - Present)
  • Center for Asian Research, member of Executive Committe (2011 - Present)
  • Council on East Asian Sutides, member and Secretary (2011 - Present)
  • CLAS Standards Committee, Chair (2008 - Present)
  • Center for Asian Studies Library Committee, committee member (2002 - Present)
  • Center for Asian Research, Executive committee member and secretary (2012 - 2015)
  • Graduate Committee, member (2013 - 2015)
  • Dudley Prize Committee, member (2014 - 2014)
  • History Graduate Committee, member and secretary (2013 - 2014)
  • History Faculty, secretary (2012 - 2014)
  • History Graduate Committee, member (2012 - 2013)
  • Department of Education, Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program, Evaluate grant applications (2008 - 2008)
  • JAPAN EXCHANGE AND TEACHING PROGRAMME, Interviewer (2008 - 2008)
  • Center for Asian Research Library Committee, Chair, PI, Japan Foundation Library Support Grant (2006 - 2008)
  • Search Committee, Modern Japan, (2007 - 2007)
  • CLAS Academic Standards Committee, Chair (2006 - 2007)
  • CLAS Academic Standards Committee, Committee member (2004 - 2007)
  • Anime in Western Culture and Society Panel, Panel Chair and Discussant (2007)
  • Otaku in the Classroom panel, Panel Chair and Discussant (2007)
  • Roger Adelson's HST 598 class, Participant/Interviewee (2007)
  • JAPAN EXCHANGE AND TEACHING PROGRAMME, INTERVIEWER (2007)
  • SILC informal sub-committee for Japanese language and culture, member (2005 - 2006)
  • Center for Asian Research, ASU, workshop presenter (2006)
  • Alpha Theta Graduate Student Conference, judge (2006 - 2006)
  • Context of Culture Asia Series An East Asia Faculty Development Series Maricopa Community Colleges District and East-West Center, U Hawaii, workshop presenter (2006)
  • Japan Exchange Programme (JET), Interviewer (2006)
  • Maricopa Community Colleges District and East-West Center, Workshop Presenter (2006)
  • Ad hoc sub-committee to propose Ph.D. program and new position in SILC, Member (2005 - 2005)
  • Letter of support for Prof. E. Reiman's sabbatical, Department of Languages and Literatures, (2005 - 2005)
  • Center for Asian Studies, Workshop Presenter (2005 - 2005)
  • Arizona National History Day, Interviewed in student film (2005)
  • Oral Tradition, Reviewer (2005)
  • Phoenix Art Museum, Second Saturday Presenter (2005)
  • Brooks Simpson's HST500 Class, gave two lectures (2005)
  • United Way, Departmental representative (2002 - 2005)
  • JET interviews for Japanese Ministry of Ed, Interviewer (2005)
  • NCTA Seminar for K-12 AZ, (2005)
  • Thesis Question and Answer session for Barrett Honors College, Faculty Participant (2004 - 2004)
  • Modern Japanese History Search Committee, member (2003 - 2004)
  • University Academic Senate, Representative (2002 - 2004)
  • Dudley Committee, member (2002 - 2004)
  • Houghton Mifflin Publishers, Review book for publication (2004)
  • Grant application to Japan Foundation, PI (2004 - 2004)
  • Summer Seminar in Asian Cultures for K-12 Educators (Center for Asian Studies), (2004)
  • Academic Senate, Representative (2002 - 2004)
  • Search committee for position in modern Japanese history, Member (2003 - 2004)
  • Academic Senate representative (2002 - 2004)
  • BA Honors Thesis Committee Member for Brad Geist (grad. Spr 2004), Member (2004)
  • National Consortium for Teaching about Asia workshop for Arizona K-12 teachers (Center for Asian Studies), Tech in Workshop (2004)
  • Alpha Theta History Conference, Judge (2004)
  • Center for Asian Studies A.T. Steele Committee, member (2003)
  • Center for Asian Studies Library Committee, committee member (2003)
  • Center for Asian Studies Outreach Coordinator Search Committee, member (2003)
  • Department of Lang's and Lit's, letter of recommendation (2003)
  • International Thomson Publishing, Review book for new edition (2003)
  • Japan Forum [journal], Reviewed Article (2003)
  • Japan Foundation, Letter of Recommendation (2003)
  • MA Thesis Committee Member, Christopher Castle, for MA in Japanese Literature and Culture (MA, Spr 2004), Committee Member (2003)
  • Office of National Scholarship Advisement, Barrett College, evaluator (2003)
  • Western Regional Conference Association of Asian Studies, Program Committee (2003)
  • Summer Seminar in Asian Humanities for Arizona K-12 teachers (Center for Asian Studies), (2003)
  • Center for Asian Studies, Teach in Workshop (2003)
  • Reviewed text on China and Japan before revision (Conrad. Schirokauer's A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations), Reviewer (2003)
  • National Consortium for Teaching about Asia workshop for Arizona K-12 teachers (Center for Asian Studies), Tech in Workshop (2003)
  • Dudley Committee, Member (2002)
  • Hiroshima Shudo University, Faculty Exchange (2000 - 2000)
  • Strategies for Promoting Active Learning, Member (2000 - 2000)
  • Committee on Quality of Instruction, Member (1997 - 2000)
  • Faculty Development liaison, Member (1994 - 1998)