This lecture was recorded on April 28, 2023, as part of the 2023 Asian American Theology Conference “Multiple Belongings in Transpacific Christianities: Christian Faith and Asian Migration to the US.” Find out more about the conference here: https://pts.events/events/aat-2023-mbtc/. Introduction by Dr. David Chao of Princeton Theological Seminary.
Abstract: Using ethnographic and interview data, this presentation explains Taiwanese ethnic identity formation in the United States and its endurance in the Taiwanese Christian and greater immigrant community. I argue that formative homeland events during periods of peak migration define and carve out ethnic boundaries, creating a time capsule-like effect for immigrants. For Taiwanese immigrants to the United States, peak migration between the 1960s and 1980s meant that dominant martial law era ethnic boundaries were transplanted from Taiwan to the wider community of “Sinophone” or sinetic language-speaking Christians. Today, the time capsule effect persists, and those ethnic boundaries continue to shape social relations within the same transnational Taiwanese Christian networks.