Assistant Professor of Theology

Arts and Sciences Building 318
219.464.5964
stephanie.wong@valpo.edu

Biography

Professor Stephanie Wong joined Valparaiso University’s Theology Department in January 2019 and teaches World/Global Christianity. She researches the development of Catholic theology in China, especially in dialogue with Confucianism.

Professor Wong has long been interested in inter-cultural religious encounters. Having grown up in a mixed Chinese and Dutch-American family, she was fascinated by the ways in which different communities articulate and transmit their religious experience. What is the relationship between the Gospel and the multiplicity of human cultures? Between Christianity and other Asian religious, philosophical and moral traditions? And between Christian communities of disparate locations and languages? How can God be better known through attention to this diversity?

Prior to teaching at Valparaiso, Professor Wong studied for her doctorate at Georgetown University under Peter C. Phan (Asian Christianity) and Erin C. Cline (Confucian philosophy). Before that, she earned her Master of Divinity at Yale Divinity School, where she had the chance to study Chinese Christianity with Chloë Starr and also participate in a Yale-Chinese U of Hong Kong sociology of religion workshop in Hong Kong. Prior to that, she studied for her bachelor’s at Washington U. in St. Louis. Along the way, Professor Wong has received fellowships to study as a Kathryn Davis Fellow at Middlebury College’s Chinese School, a Fulbright-Hayes scholar at Hamilton College/Minzu University in Beijing, and a Marquand Fellow at Yale.

Having training in both religious studies and theology, Professor Wong’s primary research area is Chinese Catholicism. Her approach is two-fold: On the one hand, she studies the socio-historical experience of Christians in China (not only the work of foreign missionaries but especially that of indigenous Chinese Christians). At the same time, she explores the contours of constructive theology today (the ongoing effort to discern God’s invitations to inculturate or incarnate Christian theology in terms of the philosophical heritage and social realities of life in China.)

Professor Wong’s writings focus on the formulation of Chinese Christian citizenship. Her recent dissertation was entitled “From Subjects to Citizens of the State and of God’s People: Frédéric-Vincent Lebbe (1877-1940) and the Project to Indigenize the Chinese Catholic Church in Republican China.” It analyzed an early-20th century Belgian-Chinese priest’s effort to nationalize the Church — both in the sense of becoming no longer a foreign (predominantly French) institution and in the sense of building and defending the new Chinese nation.

Her upcoming projects will continue to focus on questions of religious and political belonging. She is working on an article on the spirituality of Dom Lu Zhengxiang, a Catholic diplomat and Premier of the Republic of China who eventually became a Benedictine monk. She then hopes to conduct a study comparing in greater depth the Chinese and European “Catholic Action” societies that sought to harmonize the interests of the Church and of organized labor movements in local churches around the world.

In the meantime, Professor Wong is thrilled to be getting oriented to life at Valpo and grateful to work with such excellent students as are to be found here.

Education

Ph.D., 2018 – Georgetown University (Doctorate in Theological and Religious Studies, and Certificate in Apprenticeship in Teaching (AT) Program)

M.Div., 2013 – Yale Divinity School (M.Div, and Certificate in Education Leadership Ministry (ELM))           

B.A., 2010 – Washington University in St. Louis (Majors in Religious Studies and English Literature)

Contributions

Publications

“The Mind’s Dynamism in Chinese Catholic Theology: A Comparative Study of Metaphysics and Knowledge in the Thought of Wang Yangming and Joseph Maréchal.” Journal of World Christianity 8.2 (December 2018): 109-133.

“Religious Boundaries in Chinese Christianity.” Ching Feng: A Journal on Christianity and Chinese Religion and Culture. (Accepted for publication with Chinese University Press)

 “Manna in Film.” Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, De Gruyter (Accepted for publication in upcoming volume.)

“A Society Apart: Rural Chinese Catholics and the Historiography of ‘Otherness.” Studies in World Christianity 22.2 (August 2016): 86-104.

“Ecclesiology from Below: Urbanizing Catholicism in an Urbanizing China.” Ching Feng: A Journal on Christianity and Chinese Religion and Culture 15.1-2 (Fall 2016): 25-46.

Presentations

“Responding: Chinese Christianities.” American Academy of Religion Conference, Boston, Nov. 18-21, 2017.

“Interreligious Dialogue in China.” U.S. China Catholic Bureau Conference, New York, Aug. 11-13, 2017

“The Gate of Heaven Has Been Opened: Chinese Catholic Conceptions of Heaven’s Activity in the Late Ming.” An International Conference on Confucianism and Catholicism: Reinvigorating the Dialogue, Washington DC, March 4-5, 2016.

“A Response to Anna Sun’s Confucianism as a World Religion” American Academy of Religion Conference, Atlanta, Nov. 19-22, 2015.

“Urbanizing Catholicism in an Urbanizing China.” American Academy of Religion Conference, Atlanta, Nov. 19-22, 2015.

“The Exercise of Translation: Confucianism, Christianity and the Communication of Concepts.” Engaging Particularities Conference, Boston College, March 26-27, 2015.

 “Pure Knowing: Chinese Confucian and Catholic Moral Cultivation.” Christianity in Asia Conference, U. of Munster, Germany, Sept. 14-27, 2014.

“Becoming Better than Before: A Comparative Study of Matteo Ricci and Mengzi on the Question of Human Potential.” Engaging Particularities Conference, Boston College, March 20-21, 2014.

Interests

Christianity in China

World Christianity

Confucian Moral Cultivation

Comparative Religion and Ethics

Religion and Politics

Courses Taught

Theo 200: The Christian Tradition

Theo 329: Global Christianity

Memberships

American Academy of Religion

US China Catholic Association

Yale-Edinburgh Group on the History of the Missionary Movement and World Christianity

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