My name is Melissa Inouye.
My name is Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye. I’m a fourth-generation Chinese-Japanese American. My Chinese great-grandfather came to the US from Guangdong province as a “paper son” and established himself as a farmer in Utah, where he was known as “the Celery King” and according to family legend pioneered the use of rubber bands to bunch produce together for sale. My Japanese grandparents were native-born Americans in California who met and married in the Buddhist Sunday School in the government-run prison camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming. I was born into the LDS Costa Mesa First Ward in Southern California and left for college from this ward. I served an LDS mission in Taiwan before starting my PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, also at Harvard. I now teach at the University of Auckland.
Most of my [short] adult life has been spent outside of the United States and on the Mormon peripheries. I have four kids ages 10, 8, 6, and 4. My major research field is the history of Christianity in China. I come to Mormonism from a global Christianity perspective. I am particularly interested in the intersection of miraculous discourse with global modernity. My “scholarly agenda” is to raise Mormonism’s profile in academic conversations about religion and global modernity. The LDS Church’s extreme administrative centralization makes it such an intriguing case study for the parallel global processes of heterogeneity and homogeneity.