BCSR Receives $1,000,000 Grant from Henry Luce Foundation for the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI)

Hannah Hartt

The Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR) is pleased to announce a $1,000,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation in support of a 4-year project with the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI). This grant will support APARRI in its mission to advance the interdisciplinary study of Asian Pacific American religions and to ensure the legacy of Asian Pacific Americans within the American religious and racial landscape. 

BCSR Co-Director, Carolyn Chen, will serve as the Principal Investigator along with Co-PIs Tamara Ho (UC Riverside), Jane Iwamura (University of the West) and Khyati Joshi (Fairleigh Dickinson University).

The Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI) is an innovative scholarly network that promotes critical awareness of Asian Pacific American religions and fosters the next generation of scholars and community leaders. 

“The Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion is excited to partner with APARRI to promote cutting-edge scholarship and critical public knowledge on Asian Pacific Americans and their religions,” Dr. Carolyn Chen says. “This project could not be more urgent at a time when Asian Pacific Americans are the fastest growing, and most religiously diverse, racial group in America. We are immensely grateful to the Henry Luce Foundation for their generous support.” 

Jonathan VanAntwerpen, Program Director for Religion and Theology at the Henry Luce Foundation, notes the contribution of this grant to the public understanding of race and religion in America. “Through a promising new partnership with the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion—a nexus for innovative cross-disciplinary engagement at a public university that does not have an established department of religious studies—the APARRI network will support and diversify scholarship on Asian Pacific American religions, strengthen support for emerging voices and the next generation of scholars, and promote productive interconnections with a range of wider publics, including collaborations with artists, media makers, and religious leaders from multiple traditions and communities. We are delighted by the opportunity to support this important initiative to advance public knowledge of race and religion in America, and grateful to Carolyn Chen, Tamara Ho, Jane Iwamura, and Khyati Joshi for their leadership.” 

APARRI’s 4-year program will support the growth and development of scholarship and public knowledge on Asian Pacific American (APA) religions by providing funding for scholarly research on APA religions, collaborative projects between APA faith communities and scholars, arts-based workshops on APA religion and spirituality, and the annual APARRI conference. In its disbursal of grants, APARRI will prioritize the scholarship of junior faculty, and projects covering understudied groups such as South East Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hindus, and emerging topics such as comparative racial and religious research, and sexuality and religion. 

According to BCSR Co-Director David Marno, “more than 650 scholars, many of them from under-represented communities, working on under-researched topics, and applying a wide and diverse set of interdisciplinary methods are affiliated with APARRI. The fruits of many years of hard work, this important and timely collaborative initiative will not only foster new perspectives on Asian Pacific American religions, it will likely change the way we think about race and religion in America.”

The grant will invigorate the study of race and religion at UC Berkeley by bringing the annual APARRI conference to campus, funding student research, and sponsoring public programming at BCSR.

Dean of Arts and Humanities, Sara Guyer, remarks on the fit between the project’s goals and UC Berkeley’s mission. “The continued partnership of the Luce Foundation and BCSR is a testament to the vital role that Berkeley plays in advancing the study and public understanding of race and religion in the US. I warmly congratulate Dr. Chen and her team on a timely project that affirms our commitment to public engagement and inclusive scholarship. Dr. Chen will have a strong partner in the Consortium of Interdisciplinary Research (CIR), a hub for collaborative engagement across the arts, the humanities, and the social sciences with a rich legacy of fostering intellectual communities that include faculty, students, and the public.”

“I’m absolutely delighted about this news,” says Dean of Social Sciences, Raka Ray. “I can’t think of a better partner than Luce and a better place than Berkeley to deepen knowledge about religion in APA communities.” 

Chancellor Christ shares her enthusiasm for this grant. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion to engage both our campus community as well as the general public on critical topics related to race and religion. This program will bring a welcomed dialogue to campus and generate pathbreaking scholarship in the field of APA religious studies. Congratulations to Dr. Chen, the researchers at APARRI, and the BCSR, and I look forward to following the program’s work and impact.” 

Please visit the APARRI grant webpage for more information on the proposed Luce-funded programming.

Read more: “Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion awarded $1,000,000 grant” (The Daily Cal)

About the Henry Luce Foundation:

The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to enrich public discourse by promoting innovative scholarship, cultivating new leaders, and fostering international understanding. Established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Inc., the Luce Foundation advances its mission through grantmaking and leadership programs in the fields of Asia, higher education, religion and theology, art, and public policy.