Stephanie Wong

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 and Asian religions. She researches the development of Catholic theology in China, especially in dialogue with Confucianism and Buddhism.

Professor Wong has long been interested in inter-cultural and inter-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 religion and culture? Between Christianity and other Asian religious, philosophical and moral traditions? And between Christian communities of disparate locations and languages? 

She has training in both religious studies and theology, and uses both approaches. On the one hand, as a scholar of religion, Prof. Wong is committed to understanding the religious traditions of the world in terms of their own intellectual history and distinct social forms. At the same time as a theologian, she explores how God can be better known through attention to this diversity, as truth and goodness and beauty can be communicated and perceived in different languages.

Professor Wong’s primary research area is Chinese Christianity. 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 in the midst of the changing inter-religious and religion-state relations of the 20th century. She is currently working on a manuscript revision of her dissertation, “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 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.

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 and Projects

FORTHCOMING: “Vincent Lebbe’s Theology of Resistance: The Chinese War Effort Against Japan” (chapter for forthcoming volume, edited by Chloe Starr.)

FORTHCOMING: “Cultivating Mission as Witness: Confucian Insights for a Catholic Church in Crisis and Conflict,” Confucianism and Christianity: Interreligious Dialogue on the Theology of Mission, ed. Edmund Kee-Fook Chia. Abingdon, UK: Routledge Press, 2020 (invited article submission for forthcoming going to print Fall 2020.)

FORTHCOMING: “Catholics and Cultures: A Panoramic View in Search of Greater Understanding,” Journal of Global Catholicism (accepted for publication).

“Manna in Film.” Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception. Vol. 19. DeGruyter, 2019

“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 17 (2018): 67-77.

“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.

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

“Innate Correspondences: The Natural Torah in Rabbinic Midrash.” Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa 35.1 (2011) 51-62. (Undergraduate).

Presentations

“Chinese Catholic Action.”Catholic Theological Society of America, Baltimore, June 11-14, 2020 (postponed due to COVID-19).

“Vincent Lebbe’s Theology of Resistance.” State of Chinese Theology Conference, Yale University, June 1-2, 2020 (moved online due to COVID-19).

“Opposing Integralism: Chinese Catholicism and the Circumscription of ‘Religion’ in the Beiyang Era.” American Academy of Religion Conference, San Diego, Nov. 23-26, 2019. 

“Global Catholicism.” Catholics and Cultures Pedagogy Seminar, sponsored by the College of the Holy Cross McFarland S,J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, Chicago O’Hare Hilton, Nov. 8, 2019.

“The Chinese Episcopacy: Race and Citizenship in the Catholic Church.” Global History and Catholicism: An International Conference Sponsored by the CUSHWA Center for American Catholicism, University of Notre Dame, April 4-6, 2019

“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

Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism

World Christianity

Comparative Religion and Ethics

Religion and Politics

COURSES TAUGHT

Theo 200: The Christian Tradition

Theo 329: Global Christianity

Theo 329: East Asian Christianity

CORE 110: Empathy

CORE 115: Justice

MEMBERSHIPS

American Academy of Religion

Catholic Theological Society of America

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

Society for the Study of Chinese Religions