Encountering Modernity: Christianity in East Asia and Asian America
352pp. February 2014
Encountering Modernity: Christianity in East Asia and Asian America
Editor: Park, Albert L.; Yoo, David K.;
The story of Catholicism and Protestantism in China, Japan, and Korea has been told in great detail. The existing literature is especially rich in documenting church and missionary activities as well as how varied regions and cultures have translated Christian ideas and practices. Less evident, however, are studies that contextualize Christianity within the larger economic, political, social, and cultural developments in each of the three countries and its diasporas. The contributors to Encountering Modernity address such concerns and collectively provide insights into Christianity’s role in the development of East Asia and as it took shape among East Asians in the United States.

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.

7 illustrations

Intersections: Asian and Pacific American Transcultural Studies Series
"This book provides several examples of transnational links between Christian churches and organizations and their significance for modernization. The bias toward Korea is also an important corrective. The peninsula is so often neglected in comparison with its larger neighbors China and Japan, and yet in many respects it is key to understanding East Asia as a whole. . . . A particular strength of Encountering Modernity is its use of some current studies of Christian mission and world Christianity, resources which are often neglected by scholarship influenced by secularization theory and post-colonial criticism." —Journal of Korean Religions, 5:2 (October 2014)
Editor: Park, Albert L.; Yoo, David K.;
Albert L. Park is assistant professor in history at Claremont McKenna College, where he teaches Korean and East Asian history. David K. Yoo is director of the Asian American Studies Center and professor of Asian American studies at UCLA.