Professor Kwok Pui Lan Receives 2015 Gutenberg Research Award

Kwok Pui Lan receives Gutenberg Research Award

Dr. Kwok Pui Lan, William F. Cole Professor of Christian Theology and Spirituality at Episcopal Divinity School, was awarded the 2015 Gutenberg Research Award on May 4, 2015, in Mainz, Germany. The Gutenberg Research Award, given by the Gutenberg Research College (GRC) of the Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) of Mainz, is granted to distinguished international researchers whose work has had an impact beyond narrow disciplinary boundaries. The Gutenberg Research Award also comes with prize money of EUR 10,000. Also a recipient of the 2015 award was Japanese polymer chemist Dr. Kazunori Kataoka, considered the world's leading expert in the field of polymer-based nano-carriers for use in cancer therapy.

"Today we honor two research personalities from very different research fields, who have both vastly extended theoretical research in their field and contributed to the practical application of their insights," said Professor Matthias Neubert, director of the GRC and head of the Theoretical High Energy Physics group at Mainz University, at the awards ceremony.

Dr. Kwok is one of the leading representatives of post-colonial feminist theology, who actively advocates the renewal of Christianity and the promotion of inter-religious dialogue. Her work represents a paradigm shift in the historiography of Christian mission. Instead of looking at the spread of Christianity as a movement promoted by the "white man" she includes the history of local Christianities in her research. She has also set new standards in interreligious hermeneutics by demonstrating that in Asia the Bible can only be read in the context of the holy scriptures of other religions. Based on her interdisciplinary approach that integrates feminist and post-colonial theories, Kwok is also highly regarded outside theological circles.

Kwok Pui Lan, born in 1952 in the then British colony of Hong Kong, received her education first at the Chinese University in Hong Kong and at the South East Asia Graduate School of Theology. She was awarded a ThD by Harvard University and holds honorary doctorates from universities in the Netherlands and Sweden. The wide recognition she enjoys was shown in her election as president of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) in 2011, the largest and most influential professional organization for religious studies and theology. Kwok has won several awards for her academic work and for her teaching activities, including the prestigious American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The GRC noted that by granting Kwok with the Gutenberg Research Award, it sends "a clear signal to German academic theology to be more open to intercultural issues," and also links "an internationally recognized Christian intellectual to Mainz, one who prominently speaks out in public debate."

Press release and photo courtesy of Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. Read full press release.

Photo (L-R): GRC Director Professor Matthias Neubert, Kwok Pui Lan, and Johannes Gutenberg University President Professor Georg Krausch.