Kristin Helweg Hanson

Adjunct Professor, Ph.D., Emory University
Eastern and Western Philosophy and Religion, Alaska Native Studies, Women in Religion

ADM - 255
Phone: 907.786.4438

Kristin Helweg Hanson and Sheila Seetomona Randazzo

Kristin Helweg Hanson (right) has a strong interdisciplinary background.  Her key credentials for UAA are a Certificate of Women's Studies and a Ph.D. in religion, both from Emory University.  Hanson is intrigued by "lived religion" or the study of how religious systems find expression and change within particular lives, times, and places.  In her early research, Hanson used feminist ethnography to probe "lived" phenomena such as how Inupiaq cultural understandings potentially transform Protestant practices and theology.  Today her research and writing center on intersecting spiritual or moral frameworks.  She is most recently interested in Inupiaq values transmission in dialogue with classical Confucian versions of the same.  Dr. Hanson hopes to increasingly explore non-Western constructs of "self."  She also retains her earlier interests in: women as both narrated and living within specific religious/moral frameworks; Christian missionary women to Alaska; and topics related to religion and education. 

As her students quickly learn, Kristin Helweg Hanson longs for widespread “religious fluency” or (more accurately) working knowledge of religious and philosophical systems that provide enduring ethical frameworks and articulate a cosmological vision for particular or multiple societies.  She believes “religious fluency” entails basic grasp of multiple non-Western philosophies as well as Western religious systems.  She hopes this knowledge in turn nurtures commitments to fair and respectful discourse related to faith and spiritual belief.  Teaching is one of Hanson’s great passions and her favorite forum is the undergraduate classroom.

Project Updates:
Accompanied by two UAA students, Kristin Helweg Hanson had the privilege of returning to China in July 2013 to participate in workshops and presentations related to Chinese culture and cross-cultural communication in the world.  Hanson was also an invited speaker at the International Forum on Cross-Cultural Communication and Teaching Chinese Culture (Beijing, July 2013).  The Forum was sponsored by the Hanban and Beijing Foreign Studies University.This return to China in 2013 built on the invaluable experiences of two prior summers (study with Roger Ames at the Confucian Studies Summer Institute 2011 and hosting Summer Teaching Intern Chen Deming from Renmin University, 2012).  

These multiple exchanges with China and Hanson's pre-existing interest in world philosophies and religions have flowered into the upcoming UAA international Conference and Convocation event, "Living Ethically in the Global World" (to be held at UAA March 27-29, 2014).  As one of the busy co-organizers of this multi-day gathering, Kristin Helweg Hanson is excited about the quality and variety of ideas that will be offered by visiting and local scholars.   (For more details return to Philosophy page links.)

When not working on the Conference/Convocation or teaching, Kristin Helweg Hanson is polishing her forthcoming book that begins a conversation around (Seward Peninsula-Norton Sound region) Inupiaq impress on Protestant belief and practice. The book privileges under-represented insights of female Protestant Inupiat now living in Anchorage. The book also offers suggestive possibilities for how particular Inupiaq spiritual-cultural constructions might refresh or challenge hegemonic versions of Protestant practice, ritual, and thought.  Publication is anticipated in early 2015.  Additionally, Kristin Helweg Hanson is working collaboratively on an article with Chen Deming (Renmin University) and UAA student Anthony Adams regarding Alaska Native Games and Confucian Arts.  

In the attached picture, Dr. Hanson and Sheila (Tusaagvik) Seetomona Randazzo, Transition Advisor of Native Student Services at UAA, flash celebratory smiles after the 2012 publication of their article, "Survival Then, Survival Now."  (A YouTube partial presentation of their work can be found below). The YouTube clips exists thanks to substantial help from media-savvy UAA students and Alaska Native athletes).


Survival Then, Survival Now: Alaska Native Games and Urban Youth


Resonating Wisdoms: Early Confucian Dialogue with Yup'ik and Inupiaq Cultures

UAA students speaking about the resonance between early Confucianism and Yup'ik and Inupiaq cultures.

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Download MP3: Resonating Wisdoms: Early Confucian Dialogue with Yup'ik and Inupiaq Cultures

Selected Publications:

Kristin Helweg Hanson and Sheila (Tusaagvik) Seetomona Randazzo (2012). "Survival Then, Survival Now" in International Journal of Sport and Society. Vol 2 (4): 83-92.  

Associate Editor, International Journal of Sport and Society, 2011.

Kristin Helweg-Hanson (2009). "Not the Words: Hymnody, Enacted Theology, and the Lutheran Iñupiat" in Dialog: A Journal of Theology. Vol 48 (4):  348-357.

Kristin Helweg Hanson (2006). "Looking In, Looking Out: A Christian Historical Perspective" in Rukhsana Zia (ed), Globalization, Modernization and Education in Muslim Countries. In Bryan T. Peck (series editor) Education: Emerging Goals in the New Millennium, New York Nova Science Publishers, Inc.: 85-97

Kristin Helweg Hanson (2005). "Wordless Word (or) Go 'Home' and Stay 'Home': Quandaries when Conveying Content and Significance of Iñupiaq Transformation of Protestant Beliefs and Practices."  In Robert O. Van Everdingen (comp) Proceedings: 14th Inuit Studies Conference.  Calgary: The Arctic Institute of North America: 65-76. 

Selected Academic and Public Service Presentations:

(January 30, 2014) "Resonating Wisdoms: Early Confucianism in Dialogue with Yup'ik and Iñupiaq Cultures." Dr. Hanson was joined by UAA students Josephine Hishon and Brittany Burns with Dr. Phyllis Fast as Respondent.  UAA Campus Bookstore (Anchorage, Alaska)

(July 15, 2013) "Teaching Chinese Thought to Non-Chinese Students: Experiences from Alaska." International forum on Cross-Cultural Communication and Teaching Chinese Culture.  Beijing Foreign Studies University (Beijing, China)Participant in 2011 Confucian Studies Summer Institute (Nishan Birthplace of the Sage Academy, Shandong Province, China)

(March 1, 2013) "Confucianism and the Self."  OLE! (Opportunities for Lifelong Education!) at University of Alaska, Anchorage. (Anchorage, Alaska)

(January 13, 2013)  Post-performance panelist for Cyrano's Production of Freud's Last Session.  (Anchorage, Alaska)

(October 13, 2010)  with Dr. Greg Kimura and Teeka B on Hometown-Alaska. Professor Hanson primarily addressed Sheldon Jackson's historical role in the Protestant presence within Alaska. To listen to the program, please click on "Download Audio".

(March 30, 2010) "Christianity, Islam and Female Paths to Alternate Power."  UAA Campus Bookstore (Anchorage, Alaska).

(October 23, 2009) Interview. "On Campus: Teachers, Students See Philosophical Inquiry Fading" in Catholic Star herald Supplement on Higher Education. 

(June 13, 2008) "Colliding Identities." Interdisciplinary Conference ("Immortality, Physicalism, and Death of God") sponsored by Society for Indian Philosophy & Religion and University of Alaska, Anchorage (Anchorage, Alaska)  Also served as Co-Coordinator of the Conference.