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Megan Gilbert

Megan Gilbert

Department East Asian Studies
Faculty Adviser Thomas Conlan
Year of Study G3
Undergraduate Institution Yale University
Undergraduate Major East Asian Studies


Personal Bio I was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up all along the U.S. East Coast, from small-town Maine to Miami, Florida (plus Costa Rica and El Salvador). I started studying Japanese in high school, earned a B.A. in East Asian Studies at Yale University in 2011, and spent the next three years in Japan and Taiwan, studying Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, then working as a translator in Tokyo. I was spending my rare free weekends in the National Diet Library (Japanese equivalent of the Library of Congress) doing research for fun, which I figured was a hint that graduate school might be a good idea, so I returned to the USA to enter Princeton in 2014.
Fun Fact I translated for a Japanese video game design company, and my first ever experience playing video games was debugging a version of Disney Infinity.
Research Keywords Japan, History, Medieval
Research Pitch I study the role of temples and shrines in medieval Japanese society, from roughly the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, with a focus on the 1400s. Theoretically, temples were Buddhist spaces and shrines served Shinto gods, but the institutions actually overlapped (some Buddhist priests specialized in ceremonies for Shinto gods, for example), and a lot of local government, including policing, tax collection, and official festivals or ceremonies, operated through temples and shrines. My research looks at how medieval elites--nobles, warriors, and wealthy villagers, among others--cooperated with local temples and shrines to maintain social order. I work with diaries of priests and nobles, temple documents (including appointments to office, tax/rent records, wills and testaments, catalogues of art and books, letters, etc.), and occasionally archaeological reports.
Meet and Greet 10/12 Yes, I will attend
Meet and Greet 10/13 Yes, I will attend.
Meet and Greet 10/17
Meal for Mentoring 11/14 Yes, I will attend.
Meal for Mentoring 11/15 Yes, I will attend.


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