Janet Hoskins

Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award

Professor of Anthropology and Religion
USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

BOOK: The Divine Eye and the Diaspora: Vietnamese Syncretism Becomes Transpacific Caodaism (University of Hawaii Press, 2015)

Based on more than a decade of ethnographic research, Janet Hoskins’ groundbreaking book, The Divine Eye and the Diaspora: Vietnamese Syncretism Becomes Transpacific Caodaism, provides a highly engaging narrative for the founding, dispersion, and re-articulation of Caodaism—a new Vietnamese syncretic religious movement that incorporates elements of Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and western religions, as well as European cultural and literary figures, in its doctrine of universal spirituality. In addition to the rich ethnographic data and careful analysis, her innovative approach in the “paired biographies” connecting founders and overseas leaders of the Caodai movement provides refreshing reinterpretations for syncretism and diaspora.

Professor Hoskins’ book contributes substantially to the fields of anthropology, diaspora studies, postcolonial studies, and comparative religious studies, and sheds new light on the highly complex intersections between religion and modernity, nationalism and religious globalism, and transnational movement and identity production. Her original analysis, which has received rave reviews, challenges ethnocentric assumptions in the study of religious movements.

The Divine Eye and the Diaspora joins Professor Hoskins’ accomplished body of work, which encompasses seven books, three documentary films, and countless articles and book chapters that have helped define the emerging field of transpacific studies. A past president of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion, she has received the Benda Prize for Southeast Asian studies from the Association for Asian Studies. She has also been honored with funding from the National Science Foundation, the Getty Research Institute, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For her creative and meticulous chronicle of religious synthesis in an evolving historical context, Phi Kappa Phi is pleased to present its Faculty Recognition Award to Janet Hoskins.