CANCELED - Williams College Hosts a Symposium on New Directions in Asian American Religions

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 3, 2020—Williams College will host a symposium in which four early-career scholars will present and discuss their new work on the study and future directions of Asian American religions from an array of perspectives and approaches. With Asian American studies growing as a vibrant area of inquiry in U.S. academic institutions, the symposium poses questions about how religion matters in the field and how scholars of religion engage with the topics, theories, and methods of Asian American studies. Scholars’ papers will grapple with the questions, issues, and concerns at the forefront of the study of Asian American religions as we enter the third decade of the 21st century. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Friday, March13, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Griffin Hall, room 3. An audience question-and-answer period will follow each presentation.

This symposium is organized by the Williams College Department of Religion and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with generous support from the Creating Connections Consortium (C3).

About the Creating Connections Consortium

Creating Connections Consortium (C3) seeks to address the challenges of inclusion and diversity in higher education by building capacity, investing in cohorts of talented graduate students and faculty from underrepresented groups, and creating and nurturing connections between partners interested in institutional change. In partnership with the Liberal Arts Diversity Officers Consortium (LADO), C3 develops, disseminates, and promotes new strategies for building academic settings that foster the full participation of diverse students and faculty. In doing so, C3 serves as an incubator of innovation for institutional diversity and equity.

Symposium Schedule

9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. – Paper presentations

Prea Persaud, “Deconstructing the Diaspora: New Approaches to the Study of Hinduism in the Caribbean”

Rupa Pillai, “Is Caribbean Hinduism an Asian American Religion?”

Sasha Sabherwal, “Mobile Masculinities: Jats and Religious Authority in the Sikh Diaspora of the Pacific Northwest”

Lena Verchery, “An Alternative to the Westernization Paradigm”

2 -3:30 p.m. – Responses to the paper presentations by senior scholars in the field

Khyati Joshi, professor at the Peter Sammartino School of Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Tat-siong Benny Liew, professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross and 1956 Chair in New Testament Studies, will open up a broader conversation on the future of the study of Asian American religions.

Preceding the symposium, a performance of Meena’s Dream will take place on Thursday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at the ’62 Center for Theater and Dance, CenterStage. The event is open to the public.


For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications 413-597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at