Document Type



Religious Studies News




Spotlight on Teaching: Teaching Asian American Religions and Religiosities

Publication Date



Religion and Philosophy


Article Excerpt:

Our 87 year-old Elder, a third-generation descendent of a Chinese American fishing village in Northern California, gives us a timid smile from behind the bar of the small diner that he and his family have operated since the 1940s. My students and I have just set up a laptop and microphone for recording a first-person account of his life story. The Elder looks over our shoulders, where a man stands with a stern face and his arms crossed—this is a member of the non-profit organization that now operates the village as a park. The twinkles in the eyes of the Elder’s eyes dims, but ever a shrewd businessman, he composes himself immediately. With his usual charm mixed with a fragility that comes with his age, the Elder gives us a narrative that is consistent with the official story of the location, a story that evolves around ecological explanations of the decline of the local fishing industry. Having interacted with the Elder for months before the formal recording, we have started to hear bits and pieces of another version of the history—one that is not going to be caught on tape.


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