Jack Meng-tat Chia

Field of Study

Years of Stay at HYI

Sep 2009 to Dec 2012

University Affiliation (Current)

University Affiliation

Jack Meng-Tat Chia is Assistant Professor of History and Religious Studies at the National University of Singapore. His research focuses on Buddhism in maritime Southeast Asia, Buddhist modernism, Chinese popular religion, and Southeast Asia-China interactions. His first book, Monks in Motion: Buddhism and Modernity across the South China Sea (Oxford, 2020), explores the connected history of Buddhist communities in China and Southeast Asia in the twentieth century. He is co-editor of Living with Myths in Singapore (Ethos, 2017) and has published articles in journals such as Archiv Orientální, Asian Ethnology, China Quarterly, Contemporary Buddhism, History of Religions, and Journal of Chinese Religions. He is currently working on two book projects: Beyond the Borobudur: Buddhism in Postcolonial Indonesia and Dharma Crossings: Long Gen and the Making of Nanyang Buddhism.

Born and raised in Singapore, Chia received his Ph.D. from Cornell University, where his dissertation won the Lauriston Sharp Prize. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the National University of Singapore, and his second M.A. from Harvard University, where he was a Harvard-Yenching Scholar. Before teaching at NUS, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Buddhist Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

For more information on his research, visit www.jackchia.com

Recent Publications

Monks in Motion: Buddhism and Modernity across the South China Sea. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

“Neither Mahāyāna Nor Theravāda: Ashin Jinarakkhita and the Indonesian Buddhayāna Movement.” History of Religions 58, no. 1 (August 2018): 24-63.

“Who is Tua Pek Kong? The Cult of Grand Uncle in Malaysia and Singapore.” Archiv Orientální 85, no. 3 (December 2017): 439-460.

Living with Myths in Singapore. Singapore: Ethos Books, 2017. (Co-editor)

“Prolific Writer, Cool Blogger: Shravasti Dhammika.” In Figures of Buddhist Modernity in Asia, edited by Jeffrey Samuels, Justin Thomas McDaniel, and Mark Michael Rowe, 176-178. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2016.

“Defending the Dharma: Buddhist Activism in a Global City-State.” In Singapore: Negotiating State and Society, 1965-2015, edited by Jason Lim and Terence Lee, 143-158. New York: Routledge, 2016.

“Toward a Modern Buddhist Hagiography: Telling the Life of Hsing Yun in Popular Media.” Asian Ethnology 74, no. 1 (2015): 141-165.

“A Recent Quest for Religious Roots: The Revival of the Guangze Zunwang Cult and its Sino-Southeast Asian Networks, 1978-2009.” Journal of Chinese Religions 41, no. 2 (November 2013): 91-123.

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