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Anna Andreeva, Ph.D. (Cantab.)

Academic Staff

Anna Andreeva, Ph.D. (Cantab.)


  • Research Fellow

Contact information

Karl Jaspers Centre
Voßstraße 2, Building 4400
69115 Heidelberg "


About Anna Andreeva

Anna Andreeva (PhD, Cantab., 2007) has worked as a postdoctoral, research, and visiting fellow at Harvard (2006­–2007), Cambridge (2007–2010), the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken, Kyoto, 2012–2013), Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG, Berlin, 2016), International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (IKGF, Erlangen, 2017), and Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” (Heidelberg, 2010–2012, 2013–2016, present). In 2016–2017, she has served as an interim chair of Japanese History (Lehrstuhlvertretungsprofessorin Geschichte Japans) at the Faculty of East Asian Studies, Ruhr-Universität-Bochum.

She is the author of Assembling Shinto: Buddhist Approaches to Kami Worship in Medieval Japan (Harvard Asia Center, 2017) and editor of Transforming the Void: Embryological Discourse and Reproductive Imagery in East Asian Religions (with Dominic Steavu; Brill, 2016). She is currently directing an independent research project “Buddhism, medicine, and gender in the 10th-16th century Japan: toward a transcultural history of women’s health in premodern East Asia,” sponsored by the German Research Council (DFG) for 2017–2020.


Find the independent homepage of her project "Buddhism, Medicine, and Gender in 10th–16th century Japan: toward a transcultural history of women’s health in premodern East Asia".


Curriculum vitae

Research interests

Cultural and religious history of premodern Japan. Esoteric Buddhism and Shinto. Economies of the sacred. Buddhist temples as hubs of knowledge: expertise and networks. Buddhism and medicine, history of science and medicine, gender, childbirth and women's health in medieval Japan.


Professional experience

2017–2020 DFG research project leader, "Buddhism, Medicine and Gender in 10th-16th century Japan: toward a transcultural history of women's health in premodern East Asia," Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies

2017   Visiting research scholar, International Consortium for the Study of the Humanities (IKGF), Universität Nürnberg-Erlangen, joint project "Accounting for Uncertainty"

2016–2017 Interim chair, Japanese History, Habil. Equiv. (Lehrstuhlvertretungsprofessorin Geschichte Japans, W3), Faculty of East Asian Studies, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

2016      Visiting research fellow, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG, Berlin), Department III, "Artefacts, Action, and Knowledge," joint research project "Accounting for Uncertainty."

2013–2016   Research Fellow, project leader "Economies of the Sacred: Negotiating Transculturality in Medieval and Early Modern Japan," Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe," University of Heidelberg


2012–2013   Visiting Research Fellow, International Centre for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken), Kyoto

2010–2012   Research Fellow, Coordinator of project C11 "Religion and Medicine in Pre-Modern East Asia", Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe", University of Heidelberg


2007–2010  Margaret Smith Research Fellow in Japanese Religions, Girton College, University of Cambridge

2006–2007  Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard

Additional academic posts

2014–2017  Extended Council member, European Association of Japanese Studies

2014  Second Convener, Section on Religion and History of Ideas. European Association of Japanese Studies, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

2011  Main Convener, Section on Religion and History of Ideas. European Association of Japanese Studies, Tallinn, Estonia.

2007–present Research Associate, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard

International symposia and conference organization

2014     Translation workshop, “Ryukyu Shintoki, ca. 1603–1607.” With Chiara Ghidini, University of Naples


2014    “Economies of the sacred: dreams, oracles, and sacred sites in Asia and Europe,” Heidelberg. Guest speakers from Hamburg, Göttingen, Kyoto, Rome, Heidelberg.


2014     “Transcultural Talismans and the Economies of the Sacred,” Heidelberg. Guest speakers from Heidelberg, University of Virginia.


2013    “Putative Purities: religions, master narratives and transculturality,” co-organiser, Heidelberg


2011a  “Kami cults and notions of transculturality in ancient Japan,” Heidelberg. Guest speakers from Columbia and Oslo Universities, and Austrian Academy of Sciences.


2011b  “Childbirth and women’s health in pre-modern societies,” Heidelberg.With Erica Couto and Susanne Töpfer.


2010    “Imagining the feminine in medicine and religion in pre-modern East Asia,” Cluster “Asia and Europe,” Heidelberg. With Dominic Steavu.


Panel chairing

2015    Panel organizer and chair, “The Bodies of Women, the Letters of Men: Explaining Reproduction in Ancient Mesopotamia, Medieval England, and Medieval Japan,” annual conference, Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe,” University of Heidelberg

2012    Panel organizer and chair, “Cultural mobility and religious practice in pre-modern Japan,” British Association of Japanese Studies, University of East Anglia, UK.

2011a  Discussant at a research conference on Shinto Ritual Archaeology, Centre Européen d'Etudes Japonaises d'Alsace, France.

2011b  Discussant and chair, “Healing throughout the six realms: transformative rituals in Japanese Buddhism.” European Association of Japanese Studies, Tallinn, Estonia.

Summer schools and PhD workshops

2014    International workshop, “Reading Premodern Japanese Texts: Fujiwara no Michinaga's (966–1027) Midō Kanpakuki,” Heian court diaries, Heidelberg. With Professor Kuramoto Kazuhiro (International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto)


2013    Advisor at a PhD dissertation workshop, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain.

2012    Ten-day international summer school, “Reading Premodern Japanese Texts,” with David Mervart, Heidelberg. Sponsored by the Japan Foundation and Toshiba International Foundation. 



 2014    “Mensch. Natur. Katastrophe. Von Atlantis bis heute.” With Gerrit Jasper Schenk and Monica Juneja, et al. Reiss-Engelhorn Museen. Mannheim.

Selected publications


NEW! Assembling Shinto: Buddhist Approaches to Kami Worship in Medieval Japan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Asia Center, East Asia Monograph Series, 2017.


NEW! Book reviews and interviews with the author:



Edited volume:

Transforming the Void: Embryological Discourse and Reproductive Imagery in East Asian Religions. With Dominic Steavu. Leiden: Brill, 2015 (copyright 2016).

Special journal issue:

Childbirth and Women’s Healthcare Across Cultures. With Erica Couto and Susanne Töpfer. Sp. issue, Dynamis 34/2 (2014). Introduction, “Childbirth and Women’s Healthcare in Premodern Societies: an Assessment” www.raco.cat/index.php/Dynamis/issue/view/21162/showToc

Book chapters:

NEW! 2018 (forthcoming) “Devising the Esoteric Rituals for Women: Fertility and the Demon Mother in the Gushi nintai sanshō himitsu hōshū 求子妊胎産生秘密法集.


NEW! 2017    “Childbirth in Early Medieval Japan: Ritual Economies and Medical Emergencies in  Procedures during the Day of the Royal Consort’s Labor.” In Buddhism and Medicine: An Anthology of Premodern Sources, edited by Pierce C. Salguero, chapter 32, pp. 336–350. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017.

2015a  “Introduction: Backdrops and Parallels to Embryological Discourse and Reproductive Imagery in East Asian Religions.” With Dominic Steavu. In Transforming the Void: Embryological Discourse and Reproductive Imagery in East Asian Religions, edited by Anna Andreeva and Dominic Steavu, 1–52. Leiden: Brill.

2015b  “Lost in the Womb: Conception, Reproductive Imagery, and Gender in the Writings and Rituals of Japan’s Medieval Holy Men.” In Transforming the Void: Embryological Discourse and Reproductive Imagery in East Asian Religions, edited by Anna Andreeva and Dominic Steavu, 420–78. Leiden: Brill.

2015c “Chūsei Nihon ni okeru osan to josei no kenkō––Sanshō Ruijūshō no bukkyōteki, igakuteki chisiki wo chūshin to shite 中世日本における御産と女性の健康――『産生類聚抄』の仏教的・医学的知識を中心として― (Childbirth and Women’s Health in Medieval Japan––Focusing on the Buddhist and Medical Knowledge in the “Encyclopaedia of Childbirth” (ca. 1318)).” In Hikaku shisō kara mita Nihon bukkyō 比較思想から見た日本仏教 (Japanese Buddhism as Seen in Comparative Thought), edited by Sueki Fumihiko 末木文彦, 13–36. Tokyo: Sankibō Busshōrinkan.

2014a  “The Earthquake Insect: Conceptualising Disasters in Premodern Japan.” In Disaster as Image, edited by Monica Juneja and Gerrit Jasper Schenk, 81–89. Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner.

2014b  “Childbirth in Aristocratic Households in Heian Japan.” Sp. issue, Childbirth and Women’s Healthcare Across Cultures, edited by Anna Andreeva, Erica Couto, and Susanne Töpfer.

Dynamis 34/2: 357–76. www.raco.cat/index.php/Dynamis/article/view/280700/368382

2011a  “Miwa-ryū no seiritsu” 三輪流の成立 (The Formation of the Miwa Lineage). In Chūsei Shinwa, Chūsei Jingi, Shintō no Sekai 中世神話・中世神祇、神道の世界 (Medieval Myths and Kami Worship), edited by Itō Satoshi 伊藤聡, 221–39.  Tokyo: Chikurinsha.

2011b  “The Deity of Miwa and Tendai Esoteric Thought.” In Esoteric Buddhism and the Tantras in East Asia, edited by Charles Orzech, Hendrik Sørensen, and Richard Payne, 854–62. Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section 4, China 24. Brill: Leiden.



NEW! 2017    “Explaining Conception to Women? Buddhist Embryological Knowledge in the Sanshō ruijūshō 産生類聚抄 (Encyclopedia of Childbirth, ca. 1318).” Sp. section on “Buddhism and Medicine,” Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity 12: 170–202.

NEW! 2016    “Embryology in Buddhist Thought.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Buddhism, edited by Richard K. Payne. New York: Oxford University Press. www.oxfordbibliographies.com/browse

2011    “The Karmic Origins of the Morning-Bear Mountain”: Preliminary Research Notes on Asamayama Engi.” Special issue for Mr. Toshihide Numata. Pacific World 3/12: 171–90, Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley.

2010a  “The Origins of the Great Miwa Deity: The Transformation of a Sacred Mountain in Pre-modern Japan.” Monumenta Nipponica 65/2: 245–95

2010b  “Medieval Shinto: New Discoveries and Perspectives.” Religion Compass, Volume 4, Issue 11, 679–93. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Permanent link:


2009    “Miwa-ryū kankei shiryō ni mirareru mondaiten: Chūsei Shintō no tekusuto, hisetsu, girei wo chūshin ni” (Problems in the study of religious texts attributed to the Miwa lineage: texts, secret theories and rituals of Medieval Shinto). In The Global Stature of Japanese Religious Texts, edited by Abe Yasurō 阿部泰郎, 256–64. Nagoya University, Graduate School of Letters, 2008–2009.

2006–2007      “The Origins of the Miwa lineage.” Special issue, “Re-thinking Medieval Shintō: In homage to Alan Grapard,” edited by Bernard Faure, Michael Como, and Nobumi Iyanaga. Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie 16 (2006–2007): 71–90.

2006    “Saidaiji Monks and Esoteric Kami Worship at Ise and Miwa”, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 33/2: 349–77, Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture