APARRI 2023 Program

APARRI 2023 Conference Program

The Seaborg Room* (UC Berkeley Faculty Club)

All conference events require advance registration except for the June 20 keynote address.

* All events will be in the Seaborg Room unless otherwise noted. The Seaborg Room is not ADA accessible. Participants must be able to use the stairs.
Conference registrants: For the most updated and detailed program, please refer to the Google doc program emailed to you.

Tuesday | June 20

Tilden Room, ASUC Student Union, 2495 Bancroft Way

Tilden Room, ASUC Student Union, 2495 Bancroft Way
** This event is free and open to the public **

Raleigh’s Pub, 2438 Telegraph, back patio, for registered conference participants

Wednesday | June 21

Moderator: Jane Naomi Iwamura (University of the West)
Panelists: Tracy Tiemeier (Loyola Marymount University), Funie Hsu (Cal State San Jose), Jane Hong (Occidental College), Rudy Busto (UC Santa Barbara), Munir Jiwa (Graduate Theological Union)

(optional graduate student mentoring session during lunch)

Panel 1: Theology and the Hermeneutics of Recognition (602 Social Sciences Building)

Haruka Umetsu Cho, Santa Clara University
“Erasure of Colonial Memories, ‘Forgiveness,’ and Futures: Reading Ken Liu, ‘The Reborn’”

Karis Ryu, Yale University
“Our Heathen Language: Asian American Poetry as Primary Sources in Studies of American Religion”

Joshua Garcia, The Graduate Theological Union
“How Asian Americans Read Themselves in the Bible”

Shijie Lu, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Learning From Our Eccentric Uncles: Asian American Liberation Theology and Evangelicals in the Bay Area”

Annie Li, University of Oxford
“Calvin Chinn’s Theological Formation and Activism in the Civil Rights Movement”


Panel 2: The Global and the Local (554 Social Sciences Building)

Seokweon Jeon, Harvard University
“The Imperial Turn in American Religious History and the Importance of An APA Religious Critique”

Shirley Lung, University of Denver
“Transnational Taiwanese Christian Networks and Social Capital Creation”

Rachel Lim, Texas A&M University
“Taekwondo Immigrants: Transforming Gender, Spirituality, and Violence in Cold War America”

Steven Zhang and Russell Jeung, San Francisco State University
“How, When, and Why are Second Generation Asian American Christians Developing Affinity for Diverse congregations and Migrating towards Multi-ethnic Churches”


Panel 3: (Re)queering Ancestral Spiritual Lineages (557 Social Sciences Building)

Kristine Chong, Union Theological Seminary
“Re/connecting and Reimagining Korean Shamanic Practices”

Kai Ngu, Yale Divinity School
“To be a Vessel: On Transmitting Words in Taoist Spirit Rituals”

Quincy Yangh, Yale School of Environment
“Queer Resurgence in Hmong Shamanism”

Workshop 1: Revitalizing and Reimagining Healing in APA Communities: APA Spiritual Practices for Processing Moral Injury (607 Social Sciences Building)

Kristine Chong and Rita Nakashima Brock, The Shay Moral Injury Center at Volunteers of America

This workshop will explore APA religious and spiritual rituals for processing moral injury, drawing from traditional and adapted APA practices as sources for revitalizing and reimagining personal and collective healing in APA communities. We will focus on two traditions: 1) Korean folk rituals (i.e. gut) related to processing han that is facilitated by shamans and also a concept in Korean liberation theology, and 2) Naikan, a Jodo Shinshyu Buddhist reflective meditation process adapted by Ishin Yoshimoto, a devout Buddhist, in the 1940s, to support prisoners, which has both an intensive weeklong version and a daily practice version.

Workshop 2: Clips and Discussion of Film “Chinatown Rising: Badass Asian Americans in the Civil Rights Movement” (554 Social Sciences Building)

Josh Chuck, co-director, producer of Chinatown Rising, Rev. Harry Chuck, Presbyterian minister, former Executive Director of Donaldina Cameron House, co-director, cinematographer and producer of Chinatown Rising, Rev. Norman Fong, Presbyterian minister and former Executive Director of Chinatown Community Development Center

Join Co-directors and Producers of the award-winning documentary film CHINATOWN RISING, as well as well-known activists featured in the film, as they share powerful excerpts and speak on Asian American activism and the role faith played in the movement during the 1960s and 70’s. Many of the scenes relate to the challenges of today’s climate of AAPI Hate and immigration challenges, and participants will leave the session having witnessed vivid examples of solidarity between Asian Americans and African Americans, intergenerational community organizing, and social justice activism.

Workshop 3: (Re)excavation, not (Re)interpretation: Interreligious Approaches to Constructing Theologies of Queer & Trans Affirmation (557 Social Sciences Building)

Harmeet Kaur Kamboj

In a moment when the lives and wellbeing of trans Americans are unjustly up to political debate, queer and trans people of all traditions and none must defend themselves dually: first, against conservative religious arguments for their eradication, and second, from liberal secular arguments that faith serves no role in movements for queer and trans liberation. In this workshop, participants will arm themselves theologically against both of these assertions by grounding in the truth that queerness is and has always been affirmed in our traditions. In reframing the project of interpretation as a project of theological archaeology, the presenter, a nonbinary Sikh, will demonstrate how persistent curiosity and excavation within one’s own tradition and others opens the door for robust sacred affirmation for trans and queer people.

Excursion 1: Berkeley Food Tour (additional cost: please budget approximately $25)

Excursion 2: Berkeley Walking Tour

Excursion 3: Tour of UC Berkeley Asian American Library Religion Archives

There will be opportunities to form groups for dinner

Thursday | June 22

Moderator: Kathryn Gin Lum (Stanford University)


Melissa Borja, Follow the New Way: American Refugee Resettlement Policy and Hmong Religious Change (Harvard UP, 2023)

Joe Cheah, Anti-Asian Racism: Myths, Stereotypes, and Catholic Social Teaching (Orbis, 2022)

Brad Onishi, Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism–and What Comes Next (Broadleaf Books, 2023)

Scott Okamoto, Asian American Apostate: Losing Religion and Finding Myself at an Evangelical University (Lake Drive Books, 2023)

Daniel D. Lee, Doing Asian American Theology: A Contextual Framework for Faith and Practice (IVP Academic, 2022)

Conference participants are expected to read papers ahead of the session. Papers will be available to registrants by June 5.

Interrogating Buddhism (554 Social Sciences Building)

Nalika Gajaweera, University of Southern California
“The Promise and Paradox of Color-Blind Buddhism”

Victoria Huynh, UC Berkeley
“‘Home in the World’: Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Politics of Exile”


Law and Spirituality (602 Social Sciences Building)

Jesse Lee, Florida State University
“‘Sovereignty over the Soil’: On the Significance of Alien Land Laws and Japanese American Religious Incorporation”

Chanhee Heo, Stanford University
“‘I Got that Superstar Glow’: White Jesus as a Global Celebrity”


Chinese American Religion (Stephens Hall 440)

Mike Karim, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Keeping the Faith among Second-Generation Chinese American First Year Students”

Stephen Chen, Wellesley College
“From Religious Ideal to Everyday Practice: Socialization of Contentment in Chinese American Immigrant Families”


Therapeutic Buddhism (Stephens Hall 442)

Steven Quach, UC Riverside
“Dear Sangha: Producing the Secular Mind of Mental Health in the Biopsychosocial Territories of Buddhist Therapeutics”

David Woo
“Noble Truths of Asian American Addiction”


Critical Questions in APA Religious Studies (557 Social Sciences Building)

Shyam Sriram and Yusuf Zulqarnain, Canisius College
“Is There Room for Islam in Asian Pacific American Studies?”

Barnabas Lin, Fuller Theological Seminary
“The Conceptual Potential of Reading the Asian American as Racially Queer”

Panel 4: Beyond Colonial Mentality: Reclaiming Pilipinx/a/o American Radicality (602 Social Sciences Building)

Eleanor Baylon, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Helping Christian Pilipinx/a/o Americans Heal from Colonial Mentality with Compassion-Focused Therapy”

Gabriel J. Catanus, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Decentering Pilipinx/a/o American Identity for the Sake of Political Theology”

E. David de Leon, Fordham University
“Pilipinx/a/o American Theological Imagination: Making Meaning Beyond Colonial Mentality”


Panel 5: Agency, Politics, and the Public Sphere (554 Social Sciences Building)

Derek Wu, UC Berkeley
“From Relational to Revolutionary Ethnography: Modeling Jonathan Tran’s Interpretation of Asian American Religious Experience”

Jerry Park and Joyce Chang, Baylor University
“Asian American Christians, Perceived Discrimination and StopAAPIHate: A View from Recent Surveys”

Esther Chiang, Princeton Theological Seminary
“Christianity, Identity, & Politics: Working Out Unity in the Chinese Immigrant Church”

Justin Tse and Ellen Zhou, Singapore Management University
“The Asian American Evangelical Public Sphere: Therapeutic Subjectivities, Homiletic Forms, Publishing Circuits”


Panel 6: Religious Sites and Sights (587 Social Sciences Building)

Sean Thomas, Palm Beach Atlantic University
“The More, the Merrier! An Asian-American Parish’s Response to Its Sudden Popularity among Non-Asian Americans”

Kalpesh Bhatt, University of Mary Washington
“Conversation with the Self and the Other: Religious Harmony through Construction of Hindu Temples in America”

Jens Reinke, University of the West & Song Wang, University of the West
“Mapping Buddhism in the San Gabriel Valley, CA”

Ann Thuy-Ling Tran, UC Irvine
“Trần Hưng Đạo: the Ancestral Soul Figure & Site(s) of Ritual in the Vietnamese Diaspora”

Theologies of Asian Americans and Pacific Peoples: A Reader (1976)
We’ll toast to the reprinting of this groundbreaking volume with Daniel Lee (the new editor) and Bishop Roy I. Sano (the original editor) who will be present for this celebration.

Special thanks for generous sponsorship and support from:
the Henry Luce Foundation, UC Berkeley Division of Arts and Humanities, UC Berkeley Division of Social Sciences, the Berkeley Center for Study of Religion, and the Institute for Teaching Diversity and Social Justice.

APARRI 2023 Conference and Site Committee

Carolyn Chen, Conference Co-Chair
Grace Kao, Conference Co-Chair
Funie Hsu
Brad Onishi
Rachel Lim
Victoria Jaschob
Patty Dunlap
Julia D. Hoyt
Maddie Kim
Tammy C. Ho
Jane Naomi Iwamura
Khyati Y. Joshi

Skip to content