Institute for Advanced Study in Asian Cultures and Theologies (IASACT)



Institute for Advanced Study in Asian Cultures and Theologies (IASACT) is a four-week residential program that provides space and time for scholars to deepen their understanding of theologies and traditions. Participants undertake research and writing in the broad area of Asian cultures and theologies and complete a working paper while in residence. Starting from 2015, IASACT is organized by the Divinity School of Chung Chi College, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and funded by the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia. Since 2004, 271 scholars from 131 institutions in 19 countries have benefited from the time IASACT affords for reflection, interaction and network-building.

More information about the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia.


  • IASACT has been a forum for research, writing and exchange of ideas on cultures and religions in Asia. More than 250 scholars participated in the Institute for the previous years as individual researchers. IASACT has been conducted online via Zoom between 2020, 2021 and 2022 because of the pandemic but resumed to a residential program in the summer of 2023.

  • IASACT 2024 recognizes the value of interdisciplinary engagement as a basis for exploring the full range of questions about the theme.


  • IASACT 2024 foregrounds the importance and significance of researching, writing, and reflecting on spaces. Space is central to human existence. Space underscores the location of human communities within the intricate, complex, and interconnected relationships that shape their lived experiences. In their liminality, human communities occupy in-between spaces grounded in physical reality. At the same time, they occupy imagined spaces between a precarious existence and true flourishing. Spaces are sites of social and political relations that both engender and attenuate power in its varied forms. They can reveal and conceal meaning. They can manifest the everyday and capture the remarkable. Spaces are also co-generative of ethnic, class, religious, theological, gender and sexual identities, and thus lend form to distinct embodiments. Spaces are locations that create and foster knowledge, codes, signs and ideologies which are both beneficial and detrimental to human existence. In this regard, spaces often become synonymous with distinctive places. Reflections on spaces also highlight ecological niches and areas where non-human communities abound alongside their human counterparts. In many Asian expressions of culture, humans and the more-than-humans are deeply embedded in the highly complex networks of body spaces that make up the earth.

  • Accordingly, we invite anyone with research, professional, or practical interest in the theme to contribute to exploring the role of Asian cultures, religions, and spiritualities on critical issues of the politics, poetics, and performances of spaces. Research could offer empirical data (interviews, media analysis, contextual analysis, and creative approaches) or theoretical analysis. Possible subthemes, far from being exhaustive, are as follows:

  • •    The poetics of space
    •    The politics and power of space
    •    Theoretical frameworks of space in the humanities
    •    Sacred and holy spaces
    •    Speculative spaces in architecture, science fiction, and other fantasy literature 
    •    The intersections of speculative, religious, and aesthetic spaces
    •    Spaces of resistance in the everyday lives of people
    •    Educational spaces
    •    Movable spaces and shifting identities due to migration
    •    Gendered, sexual and sexed Spaces

  • Click HERE for the pamphlet of IASACT 2024 for more information.


14 June - 13 July 2024


Selected scholars must be available for all activities taken taking place in Hong Kong:
•    Opening & Orientation
•    Brief Presentations of proposals
•    Full presentation of research
•    Regular individual meetings with the assigned mentor
•    Submission of a final paper before departure
•    Mini-conference or special lectures


  • A mid-term presentation on the research progress (framework, methodology, plans, difficulties, and findings or tentative conclusion)
  • Written commentaries on at least two other research projects upon their presentation
  • A research paper offering empirical data (interviews, media analysis, contextual analysis) or theoretical analysis


"The Poetics, Politics, and Performances of Spaces"


  • Sponsor airfare, while giving special consideration to those with financial difficulties or special needs. Participants are expected to shoulder his/her own airfares and related travel costs, including but not limited to insurance and local transportation. Travel subsidies might be provided to those with demonstrated financial needs
  • Cover room and meal expenses of all scholars
  • Provide a stipend of US$1000 to cover basic costs related to research and writing


  • A mentor will be assigned to provide ongoing academic advice for research and publishing throughout the program
  • Additional advice by relevant resource persons may be arranged where available
  • Online and physical access to the University Library System of the Chinese University of Hong Kong will be available


Priority will be given to emerging scholars of Asian descent who:
•    are working in Asia
•    have a professional affiliation with an Asian higher education institution
•    are early to mid-career faculty or researchers; (i.e. those who have completed a postgraduate degree within 5 years)

       •    are those currently involved in postgraduate programs (but not in their final semester)
•    have already started their research and are seeking advice and support to develop the research to an advanced stage
•    possess spoken and written English proficiency


Prof. Lap Yan KUNG

IASACT Dean & Mentor

Adjunct Associate Professor
Divinity School of Chung Chi College
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Prof. Jeane Peracullo

Professor and Chair
Department of Philosophy 
De La Salle University in Manila

Dr. Joseph N. Goh

Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies, 
School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia



Applications must be submitted online and should include the following attachments:

  • an updated CV (not exceeding two pages)
  • a project abstract with objectives and description of no more than 1,500 words, not including footnotes and bibliography
  • a brief outline of the expected output (not exceeding two pages)
  • a recommendation letter from the affiliated institution

Please register via HERE. Deadline of registration is 25 March 2024 (Monday). 

Flyer of IASACT 2024 can be accessed via HERE.


QUEST: Studies on Religion & Culture in Asia is a publication from the Divinity School of Chung Chi College, the Chinese University of Hong Kong for the IASACT program. Scholars of IASACT submit a paper to QUEST which is a peer-reviewed journal, and aims to be a “Gold” open access journal. It publishes research and book review articles that may span the full spectrum of religious studies, cultural studies, theological studies, and interdisciplinary studies on the cultures and religions in Asia.