New Book by Gale Yee
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Dr. Gale A. Yee is Nancy W. King Professor of Biblical Studies emerita at Episcopal Divinity School and a long time faculty advisor of PANAAWTM. We want to congratulate her for the publication of her new book. You can order it here.
What motivated you to publish this book?
For years Kwok Pui Lan twisted my arm about collecting my essays on Asian American readings of the bible into a book. I resisted, she persisted. However, since becoming the first Asian American and the first woman of color President of the Society of Biblical Literature, the oldest professional guild of biblical studies, I did feel compelled to document this journey for future racial and ethnic biblical scholars. I had to start from scratch, since I really had no mentors or models who read the Bible with Asian American eyes.
What do you want your readers to learn from it?
I want readers to reflect on how their social locations and their various raced, gendered, and classed identities influence their interpretations of the biblical text. I was trained to produce objective, value-neutral, scientific readings of the Bible. I discovered that understanding the meaning and interpretation of the Bible is much more complicated. It involves our whole self, our gendered, raced, classed bodies, minds, emotions, and our various social, religious, political, etc. contexts.
What is your advice to younger Asian American biblical scholars?
I did not have any racial/ethnic mentors or models during my doctoral studies or in my early professional career. I did not have Wabash Workshops that gathered Asian American, Latinx, and African America doctoral students, mid-career faculty, etc. I did not have FTE or FTESEA funding. There were no CUREMP lunches at the SBL (Committee on Under-represented Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession) or Ethnic Chinese or Korean Biblical Colloquiums. No PANAAWTM (Pacific Asian North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry). However, YOU DO! Take full advantage of these resources. Get involved in the professional societies, their programs, their committees. Take full advantage of the networking that is available to you. There is a richness out there that can support you in your academic journey.
How do you keep sane in the midst of the pandemic and Western wildfires?
My retirement community was on complete lockdown. For a while, I could not leave the campus. However, I not only was able to get this book together during the pandemic but was able to write several articles and give a couple of Zoom talks. There is a group of septuagenarian and octogenarian women that I dance with every morning. I make jewelry, do yoga, and also do a lot of reading.