Association of Asian American Studies, 17-20 April 2013

Over the next few days, I will be in Seattle for the Association of Asian American Studies‘ annual conference. This is the annual gathering for scholars in Asian American studies.

I organized a panel that was featured as one of the events relating to the Asian Pacific American and Religion Research Initiative (APARRI). The session is titled Empire and the Study of Asian American Religions, partly inspired by Kwok Pui Lan’s 2011 presidential address at the American Academy of Religion, ‘Empire and the Study of Religion.’ Our panel will be held on Saturday, 20 April, from 8:15 AM to 9:45 AM at the Westin-St. Helen’s. We will be chaired by Carolyn Chen (Northwestern University), and our discussant is Christopher Lee (UBC Vancouver). The presenters are as follows:

Christopher Chua, University of California, Berkeley
Imperial Intentions on American Soil: Missionary Work at San Francisco’s Chinese Presbyterian Church in the Late 19th Century

Helen Jin Kim, Harvard University
Constructing Yellow Empire: A History of the Neo-Evangelical, Anti-Communist Matrix in the Korean Diaspora (1951-1982)

Justin K. H. Tse, University of British Columbia
America, Return to God: Chinese American Evangelical Social Conservatives as Ironic Perpetual Foreigners

Timothy Tseng, Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church
Color-blinded By the Light: The American Evangelical Empire and the Deconstruction of Asian American Racial Identity in the San Francisco Bay Area

After some conversation with our discussant Chris Lee and further progress on my doctoral dissertation, I’ve changed the title of my presentation slightly to: ‘America, Return to God? Chinese American evangelicals and ideological antagonisms in Asian American studies.’ Focusing on my San Francisco field work, the paper will demonstrate that Asian American studies should be reconceptualized as a field of political ideological antagonisms between conservatives and progressives, and it will do so by examining Cantonese evangelical opposition to same-sex marriage.

We look forward to seeing you at the Association of Asian American Studies. Please visit the APARRI events for exciting developments in Asian American religious studies. These include:

Friday, April 19, 2013
4:30-6:00pm           APARRI Scholars Analyze and Discuss the Pew Research

PARTICIPANTS:

  • Janelle Wong, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Jane Iwamura, University of the West
  • David K. Kim, Connecticut College
  • Chair & Facilitator: Sharon Suh, Seattle University

7:00-9:00 pm         APARRI Reception and Roundtable Discussion at Seattle University:
“Challenges to Global Christianity in an Era of Secularism and Pluralism”

PARTICIPANTS:

  • Peter Phan, Georgetown University
  • David K. Kim, Connecticut College

**** The APARRI Roundtable and Reception will take place off site at:****
Seattle University
Admissions and Alumni Building
824 12th Ave. (corner of 12th & Marion)
Seattle, WA 98122

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Saturday April 20, 2013
8:15-9:30              
Empire and Asian American Religions

PRESENTERS:

  • Christopher Chua, University of California, Berkeley
  • Helen Jin Kim, Harvard University
  • Justin K. H. Tse, University of British Columbia
  • Timothy Tseng, Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church
  • Chair: Carolyn Chen, Northwestern University
  • Discussant: Christopher Lee, University of British Columbia

1:00 -2:30 pm        Author Meets Critic:
Joseph Cheah’s:
Race and Religion in American Buddhism: White   Supremacy and Immigrant Adaptations

PARTICIPANTS:

  • Jane Iwamura, University of the West
  • Joseph Cheah, University of St. Joseph, Connecticut
  • Duncan Williams, University of Southern California
  • Tamara Ho, University of California, Riverside

2:45-4:15pm  Violence against Asian American Religious Communities

PARTICIPANTS:

  • Jaideep Singh, California State University, East Bay
  • Janelle Wong, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Chandan Reddy, University of Washington
  • David Kim, Connecticut College
  • Sylvia Chan-Malik, Rutgers University
  • Sharon Suh, Seattle University

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If you are in Seattle for the AAAS, we’d love to see you at all of these events.

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Chair, Geography of Religion and Belief Systems (GORABS) Specialty Group, Association of American Geographers

gorabsI’m happy to announce that I’ve been elected to be Chair of the Geography of Religion and Belief Systems (GORABS) Specialty Group at the Association of American Geographers (AAG).  This follows two years of being the GORABS secretary.  David Butler (University College Cork) is now immediate past chair, Garrett Smith (Kennesaw State University) is now secretary, and David Rutherford (University of Mississippi) has kindly agreed to stay as treasurer.

I see the job of the GORABS Chair as to promote religion as an analytic in human geography by liaising with the academic geography community through the Association of American Geographers. This means that at a practical level, my job is to represent our specialty group to the AAG organizers, to make sure religion sessions and papers at the AAG get sponsored, to recruit an Annual Lecturer for the next two years, and to raise awareness about developments in religion, secularization, and belief systems in the discipline.  I’ll be working with a very well-constituted board that is committed to advancing geographies of religion as a growing field in both human geography and religious studies. If you are working in geographies of religion and want to present a paper or organize a session at the AAG in 2014 and 2015, please contact me with any ideas you might have so that we can get those sessions sponsored.

At a theoretical level, my job, as is the job of the board, is to demonstrate to the geography community that geographies of religion are broader than what has conventionally counted as the scholarship in a small subfield of cultural geography.  Religion isn’t just an object to be mapped, nor is it a subject to be studied.  It is an analytic that seeks to unpack the uneven geographies of secularization processes, the grounded theologies that undergird both conventionally ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ practices, the experiences of lived religions (including what’s becoming known as a ‘hauntological’ approach), and the way that ‘belief systems’ aren’t fully worked out worldviews but geographical imaginations that undergird political, economic, social, and cultural processes in the world. Just as race, class, gender, and sexuality are analytics in human geography, religion as an analytic can lead to theoretical innovations and open doors to new empirical work in geography. These in turn are critical geographies, challenging modern modalities of space not only with the existence of religious phenomena, but by forcing geographers to reckon with the circulation of uncritical secular theoretical postulations even in our own discipline. Studies in geographies of religion are thus central to the continuous re-imagination of what it means to do geography as academic practitioners.

I am optimistic about the next two years, and I am excited, as our field has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last few years. I expect nothing less in the next few as well. If you want to keep track of these developments, please like us on Facebook and add yourself to the JISCMail listserv.

ANARCS Steering Committee

Today I was invited to become–and accepted–membership on the Steering Committee of the Asian North American Religions, Culture, and Society (ANARCS) Group of the American Academy of Religion (AAR).  It is an honour and a pleasure to have been invited by such a great group of friends.  The duties of Steering Committee members is to design a call for papers for forthcoming AAR conferences, to vet abstracts and panel proposals, and to make sure that presenters actually write their papers and have a great time presenting them at panels and sessions that we sponsor.  Accordingly, we are influential in shaping what ANARCS will be doing and hope to have some influence on the development of the field of Asian North American religious studies as a whole.

I am very excited to be part of this.  During this year’s AAR, there were three ANARCS-sponsored sessions: 1) E Pluribus Pluribus: Transnational Hinduism in North America, 2) Asian North American “conservative” Christian communities, masculinities, and gender issues (in which I presented), and 3) Boundary Crossings: new directions in Asian American theologies (over which I presided–thanks, Sharon Suh, for the opportunity!).  The quality of the papers was very high, but what struck me even more was the abundance of younger, emerging scholars in the field who are pushing the boundaries of what should be studied as part of Asian American religious studies.  My sense from this year’s discussion was that there is a lot of emerging work on the intersection of Asian American religions and sexuality–an intersection that is similarly coming to fruition in geographies of religion, I might add!–and that there is much more attention being paid to critical theory among the younger scholars.  There was also a sense of these younger scholars being mentored by more senior faculty discussants on the panels who were very approachable for questions and constructive feedback after the sessions as well.

I am excited to be part of this burgeoning field that crosses American ethnic studies and religious studies.  Many thanks to ANARCS for the opportunity to serve in the Steering Committee, and I look forward to working with everyone.

Association of American Geographers: Geography of Religion and Belief Systems (GORABS) Specialty Group, Summer 2013 Newsletter (vol. 34, no. 1)

It’s our pleasure to circulate the first issue of the 2012/2013 newsletter for the AAG’s Geography of Religion and Belief Systems (GORABS) Specialty Group.  In this issue, you will find reports from both the AAG Annual Meeting, including notes from our annual lecturer Professor Ceri Peach, and the RGS-IBG Conference.  Minutes from both business meetings are also included.  We also congratulate Murat Es, PhD Candidate in Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was our Sopher Award winner for this year, and we encourage all interested applicants to submit papers for the 2013 Sopher Award.

Murat Es (centre), with David Rutherford (left), GORABS treasurer, and David Butler (right), GORABS chair, at the AAG Annual Meeting in New York

All these items, with details and member news, are included in this issue!

If there are any questions, comments, or omitted items that were previously submitted but not included, please do not hesitate to contact me. We have posted this newsletter on our online site, and if there are any corrections from members, we will certainly rectify those errors.

‘Research Methods for the Study of Religion’ : new on-line resource

Another message from David Butler, the GORABS chair:

GORABS is pleased to be asked to announce that a new research training resource, primarily aimed at postgraduate students, has now gone live.

‘Research Methods for the Study of Religion’ is an on-line resource, covering a wide range of key topics in this field, from research design, and the politics and ethics of research, to issues in the use of various quantitative and qualitative methods. Developed from the experience of an intensive training workshop for doctoral students run in conjunction with the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society programme, the content on the site includes discussion papers, exercises, bibliographies, discussion questions and links to other relevant on-line material. We hope that the site will meet the need both of individual researchers looking for resources on particularly methodological issues, and lecturers wanting source material to use in teaching methods courses.

The site can be found at http://www.kent.ac.uk/religionmethods/index.html

Geographies of Religion and Belief Systems: David E. Sopher Award

Description:

The purpose of the David E. Sopher New Scholar Award is to promote intellectual enquiry from new scholars into geographies of religions and belief systems through the presentation of papers at the AAG meeting. Papers will be judged on potential contribution to the field of Geography of Religions and Belief Systems, organization, and written composition.

Eligibility:

Both graduate students and untenured faculty who are not serving on the GORABS board can apply for the award. Award: The amount for the 2012 award is a travel grant of $250. The recipient will also be given an official certificate at the AAG awards luncheon.

Disbursement:

A check will be disbursed to the winner at the 2012 Geography of Religions and Belief Systems annual business meeting at the AAG event.

Requirements:

The paper and application form must be emailed to the GORABS chair in rich text or Microsoft Word format by Feb. 3, 2012. The paper must subsequently be presented at the national AAG meeting, though it does not have to be in a GORABS sponsored session. A panel of previous GORABS chairs will judge the papers and determine a recipient. The winner will be announced in time to attend the awards luncheon with a GORABS representative. GORABS reserves the right to not make an award in a given year.

Apply by html or Microsoft Word.

Geography of Religion and Belief Systems: Association of American Geographers, Annual Meeting 2012 (New York): Annual Lecturer

A message from our GORABS Chair, David Butler:

I have pleasure in announcing Professor Ceri Peach will be our GORABS Guest Lecturer at AAG 2012, where he will offer a lecture provisionally entitled ‘Islam and the Art of Mosque construction in Western Europe’. This promises to be fascinating topic which will, no doubt, draw attention to GORABS as a speciality AAG group, which can only be a positive development.

This annual lecture session will be our GORABS highlighted session with the AAG. I also hope to advertise the Sopher Student Award shortly.

I would be greatly obliged if all paper session organizers (both those who have received GORABS sponsorship and those GORABS members who are participating in related non-GORABS sponsored sessions) could send me an update on your planned AAG 2012 activities, as the board need to submit timetabling requests, vis-a-vis our annual lecture, annual business meeting, and sponsored sessions to prevent any undue stress shuttling from one venue to another!

I look forward to any information you may provide. It is only some 18 days before the call for papers closes – this may be extended for a week or so, as it has been in previous recent years – but we need to stay focused as a speciality group.

All best wishes for now,

David