ShowJacket.aspMy new book, Theological Reflections on “Gangnam Style”: A Racial, Sexual and Cultural Critique (Palgrave Macmillan) co-written with Joseph Cheah is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

This new book is the first one in the book series, “Asian Christianity in the Diaspora“(Palgrave Macmillan) for which Joseph Cheah and I are both serve as co-editors.  Special thanks to our editor Burke Gerstenschlager for his guidance, trust and encouragement.


“Are we “laughing at” or “laughing with” Psy?  Reflecting on the work and depiction of Park Jae-sang in “Gangnam Style,” Cheah and Kim capture us with this question.  Arguing persuasively that we do both, they explore how people of Asian descent have been marginalized by racial stereotypes even as they have made use of them to shape their own emerging identities.  This book will inspire any one of us who reads it to pause at the interface between cultural expectation and personal integrity, and there attend to how we view others, how they view us, and how we view ourselves.” Cynthia L. Rigby, W.C. Brown Professor of Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, USA.


“The book addresses the racially, sexually, and culturally contextualized expressions of theology by interrogating the recent popularity of Korean artist Psy’s “Gangnam Style”. The authors claim that Psy’s “success” in the U.S. is not only due to the non-threat that his “Gangnam Style” poses upon the “centralism” of the racialized white American culture but also it has as much to say about the racialized U.S. society. Cheah and Kim then explore the subject of Jung Yang Lee’s “marginality” in order to provide a fresh and insightful perspective into the previous theological discussions on “center” and “margin.” Instead of bifurcating these two terms into polar opposites, they see the interactive dynamics of the two. … The authors’ power analysis of “marginal centrality” is insightful and has not been articulated before. This concise book is a refreshingly important contribution to the current state of public theology from the perspective of Asian American theologians, a perspective that has rarely been heard before.”  Fumitaka Matsuoka, Pacific School of Religion, USA.


“Professors Grace Kim and Joseph Cheah rapidly initiate readers into the world of Asian theology by focusing their analytic power on the  phenomenon of Psy’s song “Gangnam style”, an internet sensation which may reveal more about the cultural dynamics of “being Asian” in a Western context than ” we” wanted to know.  The authors turn the video back on its consumers to reveal a conflicted yet absorbing relationship with Asian images and stereotypes.”  Michael T. McLaughlin , Associate Professor, Department of Theology, Philosophy and Religion, Saint Leo University and Past President Society of Hindu-Christian Studies.


“Grace Kim and Joseph Cheah disclose their extraordinary and amazing insights on racialized and sexualized Asian American history in light of Psy’s song “Gangnam Style.” Reading this book will open readers’ eyes and will deepen their self-identity.” Andrew Sung Park, Prof. of  Theology and Ethics at United Theological Seminary in Ohio and the author of Racial Conflict & Healing.


This is from the Palgrave Macmillan website:


When Psy’s (Park Jae-sang) music video “Gangnam Style” went viral, it achieved not only overnight global appeal, but also made the Korean sensation an unexpected pop star breaking into the mainstream American music market. The popularity of Gangnam Style in the American scene has as much to say about our racialized society as is does about the man who fashioned a rap music with an infectious dance routine. Those who oppose this view maintain that Gangnam Style has achieved an overnight global appeal in part because of its catchy tune and a dance that is easy for audiences to imitate. As we listen to his music video, do we Americans laugh at him or with him? In this book, the authors respond to this question from historical and theological perspectives, that tackle the pressing issues concerning racial stereotypes, imposed masculinity, and imitating another in order to ridicule him/her.

Table of Contents
1. Laughing at Psy
2. Laughing with Psy
3. Theology of Marginalization


Please contact us for review copies of our new book!univ of st. joe 132

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BN7A3104-MGrace Ji-Sun Kim is Visiting Researcher at Georgetown University.  She is the author of 6 books, Theological Reflections on “Gangnam Style” co-written with Joseph Cheah, Reimagining with Christian Doctrines co-edited with Jenny Daggers (Palgrave), Contemplations from the Heart (Wipf & Stock), Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Spirit (Palgrave Pivot), The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology (Palgrave Macmillan) and The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women’s Christology (Pilgrim Press). She is a co-editor with Dr. Joseph Cheah for the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, “Asian Christianity in Diaspora”.

IMG_1471Joseph Cheah is an Associate Professor of Comparative Theology, chaplain, and chair of the department of Religious Studies and Theology at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut. His academic area of specialization is Interdisciplinary Study, focusing on cultural and historical study of race and religions (namely, Buddhism and Christianity). He is the author of Race and Religion in American Buddhism published by Oxford University Press, 2011. Along with Grace Ji-Sun Kim, he is currently one of the series editors of “Asian Christianity in Diaspora” (Palgrave).