Jack Meng-tat Chia

Years of Stay at HYI: 
Sep 2009 to Dec 2012
Jack Meng-Tat Chia is a Senior Tutor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore and currently a Postdoctoral 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.
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 SOJOURNHis next project is entitled “Beyond the Borobudur: Buddhism in Postcolonial Indonesia.” It explores the history and development of Buddhism in the world’s largest Muslim country since 1945.
Recent Publications: 
Living with Myths in Singapore. Singapore: Ethos Books, 2017. (Co-editor)
“Museum and Hagiography: The Ashin Jinarakkhita Memorial Hall in Jakarta.” Material Religion 13, 2 (2017): 272-274.
“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.
“The Curious Case of Buddhist Activism in Singapore.”  Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia 19 (March 2016).
“Toward a Modern Buddhist Hagiography: Telling the Life of Hsing Yun in Popular Media.” Asian Ethnology 74, 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, 2 (November 2013): 91-123.