Note from the Managing Editor, Stephen Di Trolio: This semester we welcome another class of Global Partners. We wanted to run a small profile piece on each of them, so the wider public could get the know these excellent thinkers, church leaders, and scholars. This year we welcome partners from China, Japan, Ethiopia, Mexico, Nigeria, Myanmar, and Pakistan. To learn more about each of them, see the Global Partners page. This is a two-part story and we will publish the second part in the coming weeks. We asked them four short questions to get to know them a little more:
- Where are you from? Where have you lived in your life? Where is home?
- What is your favorite meal from your home?
- What are you looking forward to living here in Princeton?
- What are you working on presently as an OMSC scholar this year?
1. I was born in Shanghai, a metropolitan with around 25 million population on China’s east coast. I lived there for 24 years before going to Heidelberg University for a Ph.D. I spent 5 years in that picturesque German town and went back to Shanghai to teach at Fudan University. Before the pandemic, I spent summer/winter vacations as a visiting scholar every year in a different city, 2 months in Cologne (2016), 2 months in Hamburg (2017), and 2 months in Hong Kong (2018). The flux of leaving, longing, and returning home keeps me aware of where my roots are.
2. Xiaolongbao (小笼包), literally means “little cage steamed bun”, a special Shanghai dim-sum. It’s an art to eat xiaolongbao properly, with the thin wrap, the filling, and the soup inside the “cage” all in one bite! And a native Shanghainese can definitely master this art!
3. In 1938, the great novelist Thomas Mann fled Nazi Germany and settled first in Princeton, where he finished his brilliant novel Lotte in Weimar. His famous declaration, “Where I am is German culture!” showed his resistance to a “higher nationalism”. In 2021, the renowned Chinese historian Yu Ying-shi (余英时) died in Princeton, where he spent 34 years teaching, writing, and thinking. His manifesto “Where I Am is China” should be a reflection of Thomas Mann, as well as an utterance of his attitude towards totalitarianism. This coming year in Princeton might also help me as a short flee on one hand, and on the other hand offer me a chance to contemplate my relationship with what I call home, and to reorientate myself as a Chinese Christian scholar.
4. I plan to do comparative research about three female Jewish German poetesses, Nelly Sachs, Rose Ausländer, and Hilde Domin, who all lived in exile (Stockholm, New York, and the Dominican Republic) in the era of Nazi rule. I am going to explore how the mixed elements of Christianity and Judaism gave their poetry a special quality of religiosity and spirituality, especially how Jewish mythology and mysticism (particularly Kabbalah) influenced their postwar poetology as a whole. Parallelly, I am planning to finish the translation of an anthology of Nelly Sachs from German to Chinese.
1. I am from Tabasco state, México. I have lived in Mexico City, Texas. Mississippi, as well My home is in Tabasco state México
2. Rice, black beans, and Tacos !!
3. I am at the OMSC program for 10 months doing research
4. I am doing research on the Phenomenology of religion and Theological education.
1. I am from Burma. I was born in the hilltop town of Thangtlang, western Burma, and moved to Hakha, the state capital of Chin State, in 1997.
In 2002, I, then, moved to Yangon, the then capital of the union of Burma. I moved to Mandalay, the second-largest city in Burma in 2005. I, then, moved to Princeton, NJ, in 2008. I returned to Mandalay in 2010. I moved to St. Paul, MN, in 2011. I will return to Mandalay in 2017. I, then, moved to Yangon in 2019. Then, I went back to St. Paul, MN, in 2022. Finally, I came back to Princeton, NJ, in 2023. I lived in St. Paul longer than any other place, so St. Paul is almost like my home.
2. The food I love most is Shan noodles.
3. I will reconnect with my old friends and connect with new friends.
4. When at OMSC, I will write two book chapters, review two books, and write at least one journal article. Thanks!