Jack Chia 5Jack Meng-Tat Chia is Assistant Professor of History and Religious Studies at the National University of Singapore. He is a historian of religion whose research focuses on Buddhism and Chinese popular religion. He specializes in Buddhism in maritime Southeast Asia and has broader research interests in migration, diasporas, transnationalism, pilgrimage, and religious diplomacy. He is the author of Monks in Motion: Buddhism and Modernity Across the South China Sea (Oxford, 2020; paperback 2021), which was awarded the 2021 EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize and shortlisted for the 2023 Friedrich Weller Prize. This book was recently translated into Indonesian under the title Kiprah Para Mahabiksu: Agama Buddha dan Modernitas di Asia Tenggara Maritim (Karaniya, 2022), and a Chinese translation is underway. He has also published articles in journals such as Asian Ethnology, China Quarterly, Contemporary Buddhism, Critical Asian Studies, History of Religions, and Journal of Chinese Religions. He is currently working on two book projects: Sisters in Dharma: A Buddhist Feminist in Postcolonial Indonesia, and Diplomatic Dharma: Buddhist Diplomacy in Modern Asia, which is supported by the 2020 Social Science and Humanities Research Fellowship awarded by the Social Science Research Council Singapore.

Chia is an associate of the Religion and Globalization Cluster at the Asia Research Institute and a steering committee member of the Belt and Road Initiative Cluster at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He co-chairs the Theravada Studies Group of the Association for Asian Studies. He is also an editor of the Asian Culture journal, an assistant editor of Journal of Global Buddhism, and serves on the editorial boards of Contemporary Buddhism, Journal of Chinese Religions, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Reading Religion, Studies on Humanistic Buddhism, and Yin-Cheng Journal of Buddhism and Contemporary Society

Born and raised in Singapore, Chia received his PhD in History at Cornell University, where his dissertation won the Lauriston Sharp Prize. He earned his BA (Hons) and MA in History from the National University of Singapore and his second MA in East Asian Studies from Harvard University, where he was a Harvard-Yenching Fellow. Prior to joining NUS, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Buddhist Studies, University of California, Berkeley. In 2022 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

He is married to Dr. Ming-Yen Lee, a Senior Lecturer of Music at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. 

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