Christ and Cascadia, Seattle, WA, September 26-27, 2014

I am delighted to announce that I will be presenting in two sessions at an exciting new conference in Seattle. Organized by Fuller Seminary Northwest, the conference, Christ and Cascadia, aims to start a conversation about how Christianity is practiced in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a conference aimed at both practitioners and academics. The venue is First Church at 180 Denny Way, and the dates are September 26-27, 2014.

christ_cascadia
Registration details can be found here. The schedule can be found here.

I will be speaking at two sessions, both on September 26. The first session, Solidarity and Empowerment, is from 11 AM – 12 PM in Room 3. The organizers tell me that I have 20 minutes to deliver a talk entitled ‘Faith Communities Committed to Solidarity with the Poor: Religious Freedom, Interfaith Initiative, and Poverty Ministry at Tenth Avenue Alliance Church in Vancouver.‘ Here’s the abstract:

This paper explores how repositioning religious freedom arguments in a Cascadian context may rearticulate their political emphases. From 2007 to 2008, an interfaith coalition of religious congregations and organizations formed Faith Communities Committed to Solidarity with the Poor (FCCSP). Its objective was to lobby the City of Vancouver for Tenth Avenue Alliance Church’s religious freedom to run a homeless food and shelter program without a social services permit. Arguing that a new mandate to obtain a permit dictated to the church what religious practice was and was not, the campaign successfully deployed a religious freedom argument to contend that faith communities of a variety of religious traditions should be able to serve the poor as a core part of their theological practice. Although more conventional religious liberty cases around socially conservative issues have been filed in Cascadia on both the Canadian and American sides, I argue that religious freedom has been rearticulated by FCCSP as a progressive cause that gained wide social acclaim in a liberal Cascadian political climate. This argument is based on key informant interviews with core participants in this activism. This paper thus advances conversations in Christ and Cascadian culture by demonstrating that the oft-celebrated politically progressive politics of the region offers opportunities for faith communities to reframe their public engagements away from a set of narrow ideological issues in order to display the complex totality of their theological commitments.

The second session is on the same day from 4:15 – 5:30 called Mega Churches and Gender: What’s Sex Got to Do With it? in Room 3. Organized by my colleague Elizabeth Chapin, the panel will address gender at a prominent megachurch in Seattle. Because this is a panel session that is meant to be more conversational, I am compiling my thoughts into a paper for publication right now, but tentatively, my talk will focus on Mars Hill Church in Seattle and private property ownership.

If you are interested in Christianity in the Pacific Northwest, we really hope to see you there!

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CFP: AAAS 2013: Empire and Asian American Religions

Call for Papers
Empire and Asian American Religions: approaching religion in ethnic studies
Association of Asian American Studies 2013: Seattle

Religion has a contested place in Asian American studies, especially as it pertains to themes of empire.  The work of American missionaries in their attempts to “civilize” the “inassimilable alien Oriental” is continuously critiqued as having enacted narratives of white supremacist racism under the guise of benevolent activity.  Moreover, Asian American religion scholars such as Jane Naomi Iwamura (2011) and Joseph Cheah (2011) have demonstrated that appropriations of Asian American religions in American popular culture have perpetuated ideologies of orientalization toward Asian American religious practitioners.  Indeed, a recent president of the American Academy of Religion, Kwok Pui-lan (2012)—herself an Asian American—laments the complicity of religious studies with imperializing projects.

However, as recent work in Asian American religious studies, including the publication of a Pew Forum report on Asian American religions, has shown, religion is an inescapable part of many Asian American communities.  This paper session attempts to collect papers that span this seeming paradox in an attempt to chart a way forward in approaches to religion in Asian American studies.  How are religions in Asian American studies to be studied, given the imperial context in which many approaches have been complicit?  Will the approaches differ between progressive traditions and conservative ideologies?  Are religions inescapably imperialistic, or do they, as Kwok Pui-lan suggests, hold within themselves keys to imagining an alternative world where the marginalized can speak back?

We welcome both theoretical papers and empirical studies.  Suggested topics include:

  • Theoretical approaches to religion in Asian American studies
  • Religion and discourses of the inassimilable alien
  • Religion and white supremacy
  • Religion and anti-racist politics
  • Religion and post-colonial imaginings
  • The role of religion in reinforcing and/or challenging orientalizing discourses
  • Progressive religious traditions and their relation to empire
  • Conservative religious ideologies and their relation to empire

Please submit all paper proposals to Justin K.H. Tse at tse.justo@gmail.com no later than October 20, 2012 for consideration.

AAG 2011: Traveling Faith

Call for papers
AAG Annual Meeting: Seattle, April 2011:
Religion and Transnationalism/ Travelling faith: exploring the intersections of religion and migration

Session organizers: Betsy Olson (University of Edinburgh), Claire Dwyer (University College London) and Justin Tse (University of British Columbia)

This session provides an opportunity to explore the diverse intersections between religion and migration, and the geographies that are produced from this intersection. Within this session we hope to explore the ways in which religious practices and faith identities, practices, and organizations travel with migrants and shape their experiences of transnational lives, or how new religious engagements may be produced through the migration experience. We are also interested in how faith travels and the ways in which religious organisations and institutions are incorporated into or shape migration trajectories and flows.

The session seeks to build upon an ongoing conversation about the new geographies of religion in everyday and exceptional experiences of mobility.  Papers might address intersections of religion with other social and cultural processes in migrant lives; purposeful faith-based migration for proselytization or religious freedom; the technologies and networks of travelling faith; or the role of religion in leaving and arriving ‘home’.  Please email abstracts of 150-200 words to Betsy Olson (elizabeth.olson@ed.ac.uk) by 13 October.

Further information about the conference can be found on the AAG website:
http://www.aag.org/cs/annualmeeting/call_for_papers