Congrats HyeRan Kim-Cragg!
Dr. HyeRan Kim-Cragg has just been promoted to Full Professor at Emanuel College at Toronto. She is the first racialized person to be promoted to full professor in her school. We want to congratulate her and share this great news! We asked her some questions so you can get to know her a bit more.
HyeRan Kim-Cragg holds the inaugural Timothy Eaton Memorial Church Professorship in Preaching and serves as the Graduate Studies Director at Emmanuel College. She is the first racialized person to be promoted to full professor at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto in its almost 100-year history. Before taking the new position at her Alma Mater in 2019, Prof. Kim-Cragg held the position of the Lydia Gruchy Professor of Pastoral Studies at St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon where she taught preaching, worship, and religious education for over 10 years. She is a prolific author who has published three monographs, six co-authored books, three edited volumes and numerous articles. She is a proud Korean and proud Canadian, mother of two children and living with a fabulous partner who is a preacher and historian.
What is your field of study/work and current research?
My research is located in an interdisciplinary approach to homiletics. Such an approach is evident in my intentional and steady efforts to bring postcolonial studies into conversation with practical theology and homiletics. This is where my original contributions to the field of homiletics and practical theology lie. I was one of the first authors to write a book in practical theology from a postcolonial feminist perspective (Interdependence). I was one of the first to write a book on homiletics from a postcolonial perspective (Postcolonial Preaching). Currently, I am preparing for a monograph on “Intercultural Preaching” that focuses on the roles of preaching that are at the nexus of language and culture in addition to race and gender based on my qualitative research of interviewing 15 preachers in the United Church of Canada.
Who or what has inspired you to do this work?
My scholarship has been noted as exemplary among practical theologians for its integration of Christian practices—particularly preaching, worship and religious education—with postcolonial, feminist, and anti-racist theories to address such urgent issues of our time as colonialism, sexism, and racism. As an intersectional thinker, I have been inspired by so many feminist scholars, postcolonial scholars and anti-racist scholars around the world. There are too many to name them here. In addition to the ones who are not formally trained as theologians and theorists, I am inspired by the ones who daily live out the realm of God at the grassroot levels.
What brings you hope?
I just finished my anti-racist preaching class this term (2021 Winter) amidst the pandemic. Pedagogically it was not ideal, as students had to record their sermon by preaching to the screen or preaching in an empty sanctuary rather than preaching to and with warm bodies as a temporal and spacious event. Yet, they did brilliant work in terms of their-out-of-the-box biblical exegesis, their sharp and nuanced anti-racist and postcolonial analysis about the current world, and their concrete suggestions of actions. These students give me hope. I even had Buddhist students in this class and they did excellent work interpreting their sacred texts and reflecting upon them in light of racism, sexism and colonialism. This kind of interreligious and intercultural preaching that charts new ways of preaching by pushing the scholarly boundaries of homiletics gives me hope.
Advice for others?
During the first year of my fulltime professorship in Canada (I had 3 years of teaching in Korea prior to this), I was at an academic conference and sat with a senior scholar (feminist) to share my thought for a book. After listening, she said, “you are an original thinker. Do not squash that idea but keep pressing it, make it shine out.” What she meant was not to be intimidated by the dominant scholarships that were Eurocentric and androcentric but steadfastly articulate my idea and my knowing by critically engaging and not dismissing existing scholarships. In preaching class, I always tell my students that the goal of preaching is to find their own voice (preaching voice, vocational, racial, gender, and other identity). You cannot find your voice unless you hear other voices (community of learners) and contrast other voices (community of critics). You need a sounding board. This sounding board consists of your mentors, those who went before you. This sounding board is also your colleagues who are studying with you. Furthermore, this sounding board is the group of people who collaborate with you on a project or belong to the same academic guild. This sounding board is the members of your religious community who help you to ground and remind you of your context as well. My advice is to cultivate multiple sounding boards to help you find your voice!