Reckoning and Reimagining: Envisioning a Faithful Presence in the Liberal Arts

May 26-27, 2021

Reckoning and Reimagining: Envisioning a Faithful Presence in the Liberal Arts was a two-day virtual conference funded by the Lilly Fellows Programs and hosted by Azusa Pacific University. A diverse, interdisciplinary group of Christian scholars, clergy, religious leaders, and students offered insights, theory, and research for reimagining the liberal arts, and a robust response to the global enduring impacts of COVID-19 related to health, justice, politics, and the economy.

Keynote Speakers

  • Jane Hong, PhD

    Associate Professor, Occidental College

    Jane Hong is associate professor of history at Occidental College. She earned a PhD in history from Harvard University and is the author of Opening the Gates to Asia: A Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion (UNC Press, 2019). Her current project considers how post-1965 Asian immigration changed U.S. evangelical institutions and politics. The book, under contract with Oxford University Press, connects two historical developments rarely considered together: the rise of the Religious Right and the demographic transformations of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act.

  • Willie James Jennings, PhD

    Associate Professor, Yale University

    Willie James Jennings is associate professor of systematic theology and Africana studies at Yale University Divinity School. Jennings is the author of The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (Yale University Press, 2010), and is the recipient of the 2015 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his groundbreaking work on race and Christianity. His recent commentary on the Book of Acts (Westminster John Knox Press, 2017) won the Reference Book of the Year Award from The Academy of Parish Clergy. He is also the author of After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging (Eerdmans, 2020), which won the 2020 Book of the Year Award from Publisher’s Weekly. He is now working on a book on the doctrine of creation, tentatively titled Reframing the World. He and his wife, Rev. Joanne L. Browne Jennings, have two wonderful daughters, Njeri and Safiya.

All Conference Sessions

View more videos from the 2021 Lilly Conference on the conference’s YouTube channel.

Conference Themes

  • Health care: How does scholarship help us understand medical, social, and psychological challenges for creating a more equitable health system?
  • Economics: How does Christian scholarship address the support of the human and economic flourishing of communities trying to rebuild?
  • Anti-racism: How can we work to address a legacy of racist policies and practices in our country, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Socio-politics: How might we better understand the complex and diverse ways in which Christians in the U.S. navigate social and political action?

About the Lilly Regional Conference and Collaboration Grant or Lilly Fellows Program

The National Network addresses issues of common interest to institutions in church-related higher education. The 98 members of the Network represent a diversity of denominational traditions, institutional types, and geographical locations. Through their collaborative efforts, they explore and discuss the relationship of Christianity to the academic vocation, and strengthen the religious nature of church-related institutions through a variety of activities and publications.

For more information about the 2021 Lilly Regional Conference, email