History Prof. Albert Park Publishes New Book on Christianity in East Asia and Asian America
Assistant Professor of History Albert L. Park has co-edited a newly published book titled Encountering Modernity: Christianity in East Asia and Asian America (Univ. of Hawai’i Press, 2014).“Encountering Modernity is one of the first books that provide a comparative look at the relationship between Protestant Christianity in East Asia and Asian America and economic, political, social and cultural structures,” says Park, who adds that the book came out of a conference on Christianity in East Asia that he organized at CMC in February, 2010 and supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, the CMC President’s and Dean of Faculty’s offices.
Park co-wrote the introduction, “Modernity and the Materiality of Religion,” and contributed an article to the book: “A Sacred Economy of Value and Production: Capitalism and Protestantism in Early Modern Korea (1885-1919).”
An excerpt from the publisher’s description:
The work brings together studies of Christianity in China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan and its diasporas to expand the field through new angles of vision and interpretation. Its mode of analysis not only results in a deeper understanding of Christianity, but also produces more informed and nuanced histories of East Asian countries that take seriously the structures and sensibilities of religion broadly understood and within a national and transnational context. It critically investigates how Protestant Christianity was negotiated and interpreted by individuals in Korea, China (with a brief look at Taiwan), and Japan starting in the nineteenth century as all three countries became incorporated into the global economy and the international nation-state system anchored by the West. People in East Asia from various walks of life studied and, in some cases, embraced principles of Christianity as a way to frame and make meaningful the economic, political, and social changes they experienced because of modernity.
Encountering Modernity makes a significant contribution by moving beyond issues of missiology and church history to ask how Christianity represented an encounter with modernity that set into motion tremendous changes throughout East Asia and in transnational diasporic communities in the United States.
Park’s book Building Heaven on Earth: Religion, Activism and Protest in Japanese Occupied Korea will published in January 2015 by the University of Hawai’i Press. He is currently working on a new book titled Designing and Building Utopia: Culturally Reconstructing Democracy in Contemporary South Korea through Architecture, Design, and Food.