Beyond Model Minority, Privilege, and Power: Rethinking and Transforming Asian American Theologies

“This project seeks to rescue the term “Asian American” from its exclusionary and culturally monolithic East Asian American-centric focus to encompass the challenges, questions, and aspirations of invisible, voiceless, and marginalized Asian Americans by presenting an Asian American theological framework that is liberative and life-giving for all Asian Americans, responding theologically to the diversity and plurality of all Asian Americans, working en conjuncto and intersectionally with Latinx a ”

Team Members/Contributors

Jonathan Y. Tan Case Western Reserve University Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

This proposal comprises six sections. First, it outlines the case for reconsidering the term “Asian American” as a dynamic and fluid identity shaped by the socio-political forces of postcolonialism and liberation, seeking to forge a dynamic sense of shared vision and consensus, strengthening intra-Asian solidarity and empathy, nurturing intra-communal camaraderie, and forging transnational networks with extended families and communities across Asia. Second, it interrogates the dynamics of intra-Asian American hierarchies of power, dominance, and privilege that often render the East Asian American worldview as normative and rendering invisible other Asian Americans and their life experiences, challenges, and aspirations. Third, it responds theologically to the changing faces of Asian Americans, focusing on newer Asian Americans who are refugees, asylum seekers, working class and undocumented migrants, victims of wars, persecutions, genocide, and human trafficking, as well as survivors of violence against gender and sexual minorities. Fourth, it discusses how a postcolonial and liberative Asian American theological approach could incorporate intercultural and interreligious dimensions in response to the culturally and religiously diverse marginalized and invisible Asian Americans. Fifth, it explores how Asian American theologies could collaborate en conjuncto and intersectionally with Latinx and other racial/ethnic partners. Finally, it concludes by exploring the significance and implications of the growing diversity and plurality of Asian Americans for redefining U.S. Christianity.