I just finished my Zoom session for this year’s American Academy of Religion. I’m a regular member, as well as on the steering committee for the Chinese Christianities Unit. My paper was also in a session organized within Chinese Christianities, and how that works is that I do not even click on my own submission when we evaluate the blind submissions. I leave myself at the mercy of my colleagues, and I am grateful that they’ve included me in this year’s lineup.
My paper was in a session on ‘Negotiating Politics and Religion.’ Chairing us was our formidable leader Alex Chow (University of Edinburgh), and offering generous commentary was Chloe Starr (Yale). My co-panelists were Zhixi Wang (Shantou University) and Jesse Sun (Duke).
The paper I read was entitled ‘A lot of lawsuits there’: Chong v. Lee and the Secular Frame of Chinese Christianities. What I do is to detail the events precipitating the celebrated court case in a church in Vancouver’s Chinatown where the board members sued each other over modes of baptism, sprinkling versus full immersion. It’s an essay I’ve been developing for some time, both for my book with University of Notre Dame Press, as well as a separate article I hope to write on the engagement of Cantonese-speaking Protestants with the secular legal system in Canada. I found Chloe Starr’s comments very helpful, especially her insight about the relationship between my paper and the possibilities of canon law, and I hope to incorporate those in a paper that will hopefully be published.
Unfortunately, the American Academy of Religion seems to have chosen mostly afternoon slots in the United States for these sessions. Those times coincide precisely with the hours after midnight that I am closed for business. But my mornings especially are good times for anyone who wants to connect over a cup of coffee on my end and a beverage of choice for yours. I look forward to these virtual meetings very much.