2022 Conrad Wright Lecture

Dr. Melissa Borja

Dr. Melissa Borja is currently an assistant professor in the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan, where she is a core faculty member in the Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies Program. She earned a PhD and MPhil in history from Columbia University, in addition to an MA in history from the University of Chicago and an AB in history from Harvard University. Before teaching at the University of Michigan, Dr. Borja was a faculty member in the Department of History at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. She has been awarded the ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, Charlotte Newcombe Fellowship, Shawn Fellowship, Evelyn Walker Fellowship, Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, and Foreign Language and Area Studies Grant. Her research has been supported by the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life; the Immigration History Research Center; the Center for the Study of World Religion; and the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History.

She researches migration, religion, politics, race, and ethnicity in the United States and the Pacific World, with special attention to how Asian American religious beliefs and practices have developed in the context of pluralism, migration, and the modern American state. Her book, Follow the New Way: Hmong Refugee Resettlement and Practice of American Religious Pluralism (under contract, Harvard University Press) draws on oral history and archival research to investigate the religious dimensions of American refugee care—how governments have expanded capacity through partnerships with religious organizations and how refugee policies have shaped the religious lives of refugees. Animating her work is a deep fascination with how new religious diversity has complicated old practices of governance and, in turn, how Americans have attempted to govern new religious diversity.

Lecture Topic

Immigration, Religious Diversity, and the Limits of Pluralism


Program Information

To attend the Conrad Wright Lecture, you must register for in-person or virtual attendance at the Portland General Assembly.

  • When: June 22, 2022, 9:00 – 10:30 am (PDT)
  • Registration:
  • Where: UUA General Assembly, Portland, Oregon.
  • Program: Immigration, Religious Diversity, and the Limits of Pluralism. Introduction by Dr. Nicole Kirk.