Jack Meng-Tat Chia is a Senior Tutor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore and currently a Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar at the Center for Buddhist Studies, University of California, Berkeley. He is a historian of religions who studies Buddhism and Chinese popular religion in maritime Southeast Asia, with a focus on the transregional circulation of people, ideas and resources. Born and raised in Singapore, he received his B.A. (Hons) and M.A. from the National University of Singapore, his second M.A. from Harvard University, where he was a Harvard-Yenching Scholar, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. He is currently working on his book manuscript tentatively titled “Diaspora’s Dharma: Buddhism and Modernity across the South China Sea.” This book seeks to contribute to our understanding of the history of Buddhism in inter-Asian contexts and the intersections between national and Buddhist institutional projects in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. His 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.
Chia is the co-editor of Living with Myths in Singapore (2017) and has published articles in journals such as Asian Ethnology, China Quarterly, Dongnanya yanjiu, Journal of Chinese Religions, Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, Material Religion, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, and SOJOURN. His 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.