College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Margaret Childs

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Chair, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
Associate Professor
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 2105
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045-7594

Maggie Childs studies premodern Japanese narrative, gender relations, and religious issues. She received her B.A. in history from Gettysburg College (1972) and then, taught English in Tokyo for one year. She also worked as a bilingual secretary in businesses in New York City, before earning her M.A. in Japanese from Columbia University in 1978. After two years of dissertation research at Kyoto University, she earned her Ph.D. in Japanese from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983. Her first academic position was at Southern Illinois University (1983-87) after which she came to the University of Kansas. There, she served as chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures from 1990-1996. She has also been a visiting professor at Columbia University (spring 1995) and the University of Michigan (1996-98). Childs served as director of the KU Summer Study Program in Hiratsuka, Japan, between 1991 and 2006.

She has published a book, Rethinking Sorrow: Revelatory Tales in Late Medieval Japan, which is an anthology of stories in which monks and nuns explain to each other why they took religious vows.  Professor Childs also authored the lead article in the Journal of Asian Studies (1999, 58:4, 1059-1079), "The Value of Vulnerability: Sexual Coercion and the Nature of Love in Japanese Court Literature," and other articles on autobiographical and religious literature in premodern Japan.

When not working, she may often be found horseback riding or engaged in political activism.



Our Statement on Diversity in support of Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk and the University of Kansas Black Student Union’s efforts to combat racism.
The School of Languages & Cultures serves as a gateway to understanding the diversity of the world, through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, past and present. Through its research and teaching, the SLLC offers students opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world. The faculty and students who teach, research, and learn in the SLLC consider issues of diversity fundamental to all of our work. The study of others' languages, literatures, and cultures enables us to develop deep empathy and perspective informs the way that we approach issues before us, whether on a personal, local, regional, national, or global scale. Therefore take it as axiomatic that the SLLC stands for a campus that is committed to the meaningful sharing, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from multiple cultural perspectives and experiences. We continually rededicate ourselves to the principle of diversity. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students and faculty feel comfortable and welcome to express their views as well as work together to solve conflict. Further, we view our mission as a center of diversity on a flagship campus as requiring us to lead by example.

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