Jack ChiaI am a Ph.D. candidate in Southeast Asian history at Cornell University. While finishing my dissertation, I am also an assistant editor of Asian Culture, a bilingual academic journal of the Singapore Society of Asian Studies. Born and raised in Singapore, I received my B.A. (Hons) and M.A. in history from the National University of Singapore, and my second M.A. in Regional Studies—East Asia from Harvard University, where I was a Harvard-Yenching Scholar. I study Buddhism in maritime Southeast Asia from the colonial period to the present, with a focus on the transregional circulation of people, ideas and resources. My articles have appeared in journals such as Asian Ethnology, China Quarterly, Dongnanya yanjiu, Journal of Chinese Religions, Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, and SOJOURN

My dissertation “Diasporic Dharma: Buddhism and Modernity across the South China Sea” examines Chinese Buddhism in maritime Southeast Asia; it also considers the history of Chinese migration and transregional religious circulations in the twentieth century. I use the religious careers of three Chinese monks—Chuk Mor (Zhumo 竺摩, 1913-2002), Yen Pei (Yanpei 演培, 1917-1996), and Ashin Jinarakkhita (Tizheng 體正, 1923-2002)—as a case study to explore the movements, exchanges, and innovation of Buddhist knowledge and institutions in the Malay Archipelago. My research was funded by the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Historical Association, the Cornell Southeast Asia Program, the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, the Sheng Yen Education Foundation, and the Tan Kah Kee Foundation.

My next project is entitled “Beyond the Borobudur: Buddhism in Postcolonial Indonesia.” This work considers the history and development of Buddhism in the world’s largest Muslim country since 1945.