Asian Theological Summer Institute 2021
(tentative date if held in person, if not, virtually over summer.)

Asian Theological Summer Institute

June 1 – 5, 2021
Note: tentative date if held in person, if not, virtually over summer.
Application deadline = February 1, 2021.

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About the Institute

The Asian Theological Summer Institute is a project of United Lutheran Seminary. Held on the the Seminary’s Philadelphia campus, it seeks to identify and encourage Asians/Asian Americans who are focused on theological education at the PhD and ThD level. The Institute functions as a doctoral seminar to test doctoral proposals/projects in the company of guest professors and scholars serving as mentors. This is unique in that it offers an Asian thematic focus for students who otherwise may not have the help and support of an Asian professor/faculty in their place of study. This project promotes enhanced cultural awareness.

Institute Goals

The Asian Theological Summer Institute, which is now in its 15th year, seeks to provide a forum for the frank exchange of ideas, networking, and collaborative scholarship among peers and faculty, where as a team we seek to:

  • Introduce and Interrogate issues and themes that are of concern to Asians/Asian Americans in graduate theological studies
  • Revisit and Revitalize Asian heritage within an academic setting
  • Deepen and Diversify the many perspectives that can be brought to bear on the areas of research
  • Form an interlinked network with fellow students and scholars
  • Share and sharpen perspectives through bibliographical and webliographical resources
  • Offer and open avenues for further cooperation and mentoring.

Institute Faculty

Please click on a name below to learn more about each faculty member.

Dr. Boyung Lee

A native of Korea, is Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, and Professor of Practical Theology at Iliff School of Religion in Denver, Colorado. She is the first Korean American woman academic dean at the Association of Theological Schools in the Unites States and Canada. Prior to this position, for 15 years she taught at Pacific School of Religion and the Graduate Theological Union where she became the first woman of color to receive a tenure in 2007. Dr. Lee is also an ordained United Methodist minister who served churches in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Korea. She received her MDiv from Claremont School of Theology and her PhD in theology and education from Boston College. She is the author of Transforming Congregations through Community: Faith Formation from the Seminary to the Church (Westminster John Knox Press, 2013) and three forthcoming books. Her research and teaching interests include communitarian practical theologies, intercultural/intereligious pedagogy, critical religious pedagogy, postcolonial/Asian/feminist theologies and pedagogies, and Protestant spiritual formation in the global South.

Dr. Peter C. Phan

Ignacio Ellacuria Professor of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University, Washington DC.  
Dr. Phan came to Georgetown University in 2003 and is the founding Director of Graduate Studies of Ph.D. program in Theology and Religious Studies. He has earned three doctorates: S.T.D. from the Universitas Pontificia Salesiana, Rome, and Ph.D. and D.D. from the University of London. He has also received two honorary degrees: Doctor of Theology from Catholic Theological Union and Doctor of Humane Letters from Elms College. His research deals with the theology of icon in Orthodox theology, patristic theology, eschatology, the history of Christian missions in Asia, and liberation, inculturation and interreligious dialogue. He is the author and editor of over 30 books and has published over 300 essays

Dr. Kwok Pui Lan

Distinguished Visiting Professor of Theology at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta GA.
Dr. Kwok was the 2011 President of the American Academy of Religion. She has published extensively in Asian feminist theology, biblical interpretation, and postcolonial criticism. An internationally known theologian, she received her doctorate from Harvard University. Dr. Kwok’s publications include Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology; Introducing Asian Feminist Theology; and Discovering the Bible in the Non-Biblical World. She is the editor of a major reference work Women and Christianity in 4 volumes. Dr. Kwok is also the coeditor of Off the Menu: Asian and Asian North American Women’s Religion and Theology and Postcolonial Practice of Ministry: Leadership, Liturgy, and Interfaith Engagement.

Dr. Tat-siong Benny Liew

Class of 1956 Professor in New Testament Studies at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.
Dr. Liew is the author of Politics of Parousia (Brill,1999), and What Is Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics? (University of Hawaii Press, 2008). In addition, he is the editor of the Semeia volume on “The Bible in Asian America” (with Gale Yee; SBL, 2002), Postcolonial Interventions (Sheffield Phoenix, 2009), They Were All Together in One Place? (with Randall Bailey and Fernando Segovia; SBL 2009), Reading Ideologies (Sheffield Phoenix, 2011), and Psychoanalytical Mediations between Marxist and Postcolonial Readings of the Bible (with Erin Runions, SBL, 2016). Liew is also the Executive Editor of two journals, Biblical Interpretation and Research Perspectives on Biblical Interpretation (both by Brill); in addition, he is the Series Editor of Study Guides to the New Testament (Bloomsbury). Liew previously served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean at the Pacific School of Religion, and as a former member of the American Academy of Religion’s Board of Directors.

Dr. J. Paul Rajashekar

Luther D. Reed Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of Asian Theological Summer Institute, United Lutheran Seminary. Philadelphia PA.
Dr. Rajashekar, a Lutheran Pastor from India, has been on the faculty of the Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia since 1991. He is a graduate of University of Mysore, The United Theological College, Bangalore, Concordia Seminary-Seminex, St. Louis, and The University of Iowa. He has previously taught at the United Theological College and served as an executive for Inter-religious Dialogue at The Lutheran World Federation, Geneva, Switzerland. Besides teaching Systematic theology, his field of research and writing is in Reformation Theology, Christian ecumenism, religious pluralism, interreligious dialogue, theologies of religions, history and theology of Christian missions, and cross-cultural dialogue. He has published over a dozen books and numerous articles and essays including, most recently , Abundant Harvest: Stories of Asian Lutherans (co-edited with Edmund Yee, 2012); “Luther as a Resource for Dialogue among Religions, ”in Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology, eds. Robert Kolb, et. al. (2014); “Our God and Their God”: A Relational Theology of Religious Plurality,” in Engaging Others, Knowing Ourselves, ed. Carol Schersten LaHurd, (2016).

Dr. J. Jayakiran Sebastian

Co Dean and H George Anderson Professor of Mission and Cultures, United Lutheran Seminary, Philadelphia PA.
Dr. Sebastian is a Presbyter of Church of South India comes from Bangalore. Following his theological training at the United Theological College, he served rural and urban pastorates in the Church of South India, and continued serving as a pastor in an honorary capacity in churches where he was called after he became a theological educator at his alma mater. This engagement continues in the United States through regular preaching and presiding at worship services in a range of congregations in the greater Philadelphia area and beyond. He earned his doctorate from the University of Hamburg in Germany. At the United Theological College, where he worked for almost 20 years before coming to the United States, he served as Professor in the Department of Theology and Ethics and also as Dean of Doctoral Studies.   His research and writings interests include baptismal practices, religious conversion, village religion in India and Dalit theology, the ongoing relevance of the Reformation, and challenges of ecumenism and public theology in the 21st century.

“Wonderful opportunity. Incredibly generous program. Supportive and nurturing faculty.”
— Student, ATSI
Thank you for your wisdom and willingness to share your experience and advice to an emerging scholar! The formal and informal consultations and conversations added much depth and breadth to my perspective on how to proceed with my proposal.”
— Student, ATSI
“The profound company of Asian scholars enlivened my work and spirit. I am grateful for the informal mentoring offered by faculty and participants.”
— Student, ATSI
“Sometimes it’s easy to feel almost as though you have to suppress your identity, but in an informal and open setting like ATSI you find out not only what others have to offer through their experiences, but what you have to offer to others.”
— Student, ATSI