Working Group Grant Awards

July 2023 Awards

Asia Pacific American and Native American Religions: A Dialogue on Food, Spirituality, and Land

Dana Lloyd | Assistant Professor, Global Interdisciplinary Studies | Villanova University

Elisha Chi | Graduate Student, Theology and Religious Studies | Villanova University

Himanee Gupta | Professor and Associate Department Chair, Historical Studies | Empire State University

SueJeanne Koh | Graduate Futures Program Director | University of California, Irvine

This working group brings into dialogue scholars of Asia Pacific American religions and Native American and Indigenous religions to critically examine the relationship between food, land, and spirituality. Land and spirituality have been central to the study of Native American and Indigenous religions but remain understudied in the academic field of Asian American religions. Bringing these scholarly communities together will allow each of us to learn from each other in ways that have the potential to open new avenues of inquiry in both disciplines and yield new insights. This interdisciplinary working group brings together scholars from various career stages to create a reading group that will meet every month virtually over six months and then meet in person for three days in April 2024 to use fresh insights gained from the reading group to create a collective podcast series and write a white paper, to be disseminated widely.

Filipino American Nurses: Faith and Professional Communities in the Age of COVID and Anti-Asian Hate

April Manalang | Associate Professor, History & Interdisciplinary Studies | Norfolk State University

Christian Gloria | Associate Professor, Sociomedical Sciences | Columbia University

Hans Carlo Rivera | Graduate Student, Gillings School of Global Public Health | University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

What role has God and/or church played in coping with Anti-Asian hate and COVID among Filipina nurses who possess a faith commitment and worked on the front lines of the pandemic? Nearly 1/3rd of the COVID deaths were Filipina nurses. Moreover, Anti-Asian hate spiked 145% in 2020, the height of the pandemic. Over 80% of Fil-Ams self-affiliate as Catholic (Manalang, 2022). In Manalang’s current research, Fil-Am nurses reported that they heavily relied on their faith in God to cope with the tragic COVID losses amid Anti-Asian hate. In our joint project, we will 50+ conduct in-depth interviews; develop a compelling podcast; and publish a scholarly article. Our in-depth national and transnational interviews (e.g., New York, Virginia, France, Philippines, and Germany) will show that for this highly religious community, God matters to Fil-Americans. We will advance research nationally and transnationally, and in the areas of public health, religiosity, and citizenship.

Walking a Fine Line: Being a Hindu American Woman Against the Grain of Hindu Nationalism

Anjana Narayan | Professor and Chair, Sociology | California State Polytechnic University Pomona

Bandana Purkayastha | Professor, Sociology & Asian and Asian American Studies | University of Connecticut

Rianka Roy | Graduate Student, Sociology | University of Connecticut

This project seeks to document the voices silenced by strident authoritarian mainstream and community groups within the US. We will use a decolonial approach for documenting living Hinduism as racialized minority women or non-binary people, people from marginalized caste, and those in interfaith and intercaste intimate partnerships. We will interview selected people and prepare podcasts and public-facing writing with the collaborators/co-participants.

January 2023 Awards

Exploring Restorative Justice as a Healing Process to Address Caste Discrimination Cases on US Campuses

Jeffery Long | Professor of Religion, Philosophy and Asian Studies | Elizabethtown College

Vrajvihari Sharan | Director for Hindu Life & Adjunct Professor | Georgetown University

Asha Shipman | Director of Hindu Life | Yale University

We propose forming a working group to explore the feasibility a restorative justice response on US campuses to address caste discrimination. US campuses have been considering or have added caste discrimination as part of their non-discrimination policies which move it into the domain of criminal justice and equate it to racial discrimination. In recent years campus administrators have begun employing restorative justice practices to address student misconduct and bias incidents in a way that aids in conflict resolution while also fostering healing, fairness, feelings of belonging, and closure. The topic of caste is very tender and sensitive within the US Hindu community, leading to deep anxiety about how to properly address it. Hindu chaplains are well equipped to create safe and equitable spaces similar to the restorative justice space. Analogous practices within dharmic traditions which mirror restorative justice practices suggest restorative practices would be well received by the Hindu community.

May We Gather: Multi-Part Public Speaker Series on Asian American Buddhist Historical Recovery and Resilience

Funie Hsu | Associate Professor, American Studies | San José State University

Duncan Williams | Professor of Religion and East Asian Languages & Cultures and Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture | USC

Chenxing Han | Independent Scholar 

May We Gather began in spring 2021 as a response to anti-Buddhist and anti-Asian violence and erasure. We are now planning for a major in-person pilgrimage in spring 2024 to mark the three-year memorial date of the Atlanta shootings. As educators, we find it particularly meaningful that May We Gather has been taught in a numerous of educational contexts, from high school, college, and divinity school classrooms to Buddhist temples and inter-religious communities. For the purposes of this APARRI Working Group, our aim is to increase the educational impact of the spring 2024 pilgrimage by organizing a multi-part speaker series in the winter of
2023/2024 on Asian American Buddhist Historical Recovery and Resilience.

Northeast Critical Ethnic Studies Working Group

KC Choi, Kyung-Chik Han | Chair/Professor of Asian American Theology | Princeton Theological Seminary

Eleanor Craig | Administrative and Program Director for the Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, Rights (EMR) and Lecturer | Harvard University

Kathy Chow | Graduate Student, Religious Studies | Yale University

Devin Singh | Associate Professor, Religion | Dartmouth College

Vikrant Dadawala | Lecturer of History and Literature | Harvard University

Darren Yau | Graduate Student, Religion | Princeton University

While Asian American religious studies scholars have given renewed attention to the racialized character of Asian American identity and religiosity, the current trajectory, which primarily considers Asian American racialization in relation to anti-Blackness, risks masking the myriad forces at play in the racialization of Asian Americans. Asian American religious studies might also consider Asian American racialization in relation to settler colonialism, queer critique, and overlapping imperial formations. This elision limits the possibilities of Asian American religious studies as a subfield. To respond to this problem, this working group considers how a sustained engagement with critical ethnic studies can inform research in Asian American religious studies. Our working group turns to critical ethnic studies to elevate a wider range of methods and objects in the hopes of expanding the theoretical horizons and disciplinary ends of Asian American religious studies.

Unheard Soundscapes: A Close Listening to Asian America

Chanhee Heo | Graduate Student, Religious Studies | Stanford University

Kathryn Gin Lum | Associate Professor, Religious Studies and History (by courtesy) | Stanford University

Chenxing Han | Independent Scholar 

Xianfeng Shi | Graduate Student in Religion | Boston University

Elaine Lai | Graduate Student in Religious Studies | Stanford University

Unheard Soundscapes is a podcast series consisting of interviews, soundscapes, and conversations with people and places where Asian and Asian American religions have been underrepresented in history and society. Our project explores the intersection of Asian and Asian American resistance and religious practice. By attending to multisensorial perceptions and experiences and bringing creative attention to Asian and Asian American religious spaces, Unheard Soundspaces unsettles western-centered epistemologies and modes of knowledge production. Through the podcast series and an accompanying website, our project targets scholars, students of religious studies, practitioners, and activists. As a community-engaged project, Unheard Soundscapes aims to achieve three goals: 1) name and honor marginalized religious spaces and ontological pluralities; 2) empower Asian and Asian American individuals to connect over soundspaces that bridge racial, ethnic, and generational differences; and 3) cultivate decolonial research methods and pedagogical practices.

* For the 2023-24 cycle, a person can only be a part of one working group.

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