Negotiating the Global with the Local: Translating Christianity in Modern East Asia

Negotiating the Global with the Local: Translating Christianity in Modern East Asia

Claremont McKenna College
Claremont McKenna College
Claremont, California
United States
From - Until
26.02.2010 - 27.02.2010
Park, Albert L.

This conference seeks to critically understand how Protestant Christianity was negotiated and interpreted by individuals in Korea, China (with a brief look at Taiwan) and Japan as all three countries came to be incorporated within the global economy and the international nation-state system anchored by the West starting in the nineteenth century. At that time, principles of Christianity came to be studied and embraced by people in these three countries in order to frame and make meaningful the economic, political and social changes stemming from modernity, which threatened and ruptured existing structures and environments. Many intellectuals, politicians and everyday people in Korea, China, Taiwan and Japan turned to Protestant Christianity in order to obtain a new system of ideas and knowledge that could give them meaning and direction in a changing present, especially as imperialism and colonialism threatened their countries’ sovereignty. Protestant Christianity in East Asia, in particular, was often mediated and understood through the history and the particular cultural and social structures of a local area/given people. Through this interaction, Protestant Christianity inspired new forms of subjectivity, visions of society and conceptions of national identity. Moreover, new forms of Protestant Christianity emerged and took on characterizations of “new religions.” Today, Protestant Christianity has thrived in China and Korea, which today is the second largest exporter of missionaries in the world.

In particular, this conference aims to understand how the local interacted with global forces through Christianity, especially as political, cultural and economic elements of modernity caused mass changes in these three countries. More than just seeking an understanding of how the local negotiated the global, this conference also seeks to comprehend transnational processes, such as how Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese people “exported” Christianity back to other parts of the world, including the West, through an investigation of Asian American Christian movements. Ultimately, this conference hopes to introduce new methodologies as to how to study the relationship between Christianity and Modernity in East Asia.


February 26, 2010, Friday, (Athenaeum, Claremont McKenna College)

9:30-10:00 AM
Conference Opening Remarks by President Pamela Gann (Claremont McKenna College) and Albert L. Park (Claremont McKenna College)

10:00-11:30 AM Panel I: Christianity and Social Imagination in Early Modern China, Japan and Korea
“Guanxi and Gospel: Mapping Christian Kinship and Lineage Networks in South China” - Joseph Lee, Professor of History, Pace University, NY
“The Encounter of Catholicism and Confucianism in Modern Korea: Conflicts Deeper Affinities, and the Unfinished Dialogue” - Anselm Min, Dean and Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Claremont Graduate University
“A Sacred Economy of Value and Production: Capitalism and Protestantism in Early Modern Korea (1885-1919)” - Albert L. Park, Assistant Professor of History, Claremont McKenna College

11:30 AM-12:00 PM Response by Discussant (Daniel Michon, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Claremont McKenna College) and Q and A Time

2:00-3:30 PM Panel II: Christianity, Modernity and Imperialism in East Asia (1876-1945)
“Between Mission and Medicine: The History of Severance Hospital, 1885-1945” - Park Yunjae, Professor, Department of Medical History, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
“Christianity and Civil Society in Colonial Korea: The Civil Society Movement of Cho Mansik and the Pyengyang YMCA Against Japanese Colonialism” - Chang Kyusik, Professor of History, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea
“After the March First Movement: The "Korean Problem" in Shanghai and Fengtian” - Emily Anderson, Ph.D Candidate (History), UCLA,

3:30-4:00 PM Response by Discussant (Sung-deuk Oak, Dongsoon Im and Mija Im Scholar Assistant Professor in Korean Christianity, UCLA) and Q and A

4:00-4:30 PM Final Discussion, Moderated by Arthur Rosenbaum, Chair of History Department, Claremont McKenna College

February 27, 2010, Saturday, (Founders Room, Bauer Center, Claremont McKenna College)

9:00-10:30 AM Panel III: Communities, Christianity and Asian Diaspora
“Kanichi Miyama: The First Japanese American Christian” - Dean Adachi, Ph.D Candidate (History), Claremont Graduate University
“Accidental Pilgrims: Modernity, Migration and Christian Conversion among Contemporary Taiwanese Americans” - Carolyn Chen, Associate Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies, Northwestern University
“The Contours of Religious (Trans)Nationalism: Korean Protestants in the United States” - David Yoo, Associate Professor of History, Claremont McKenna College

10:30-11:00 AM Response by Discussant (Eiichiro Azuma, Alan Charles Kors Term Associate Professor of History, UPenn) and Q and A

11:00 AM-12:30 PM Panel IV: Current Trends in Religion and Christianity in East Asia
“The Intimacy of the Global: Contemporary Korean Mission Encounters” - Ju Hui Judy Han, Postdoctoral Fellow in Asian Studies (Geography), University of British Columbia
“Globalization and the Cross-Cultural Diffusion of Religion: The Case of Christianity in Contemporary Japanese Society” - Mark Mullins, Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Graduate School of Global Studies, Sopia University, Tokyo
“Protestant Christianity in Reform-Era China: Realities and Representations” - David Ownby, Professor of History, Université de Montréal

12:30-1:00 PM Response by Discussant (Angelina Chin, Assistant Professor of History, Pomona College) and Q and A

1:00-1:30 PM Closing Discussion, Moderated by Arthur Rosenbaum, Chair Of History Department, Claremont McKenna College

Contact (announcement)

Albert L. Park
Department of History
Claremont McKenna College
Claremont, CA 91711

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