Asian American women, christianity, Embracing the Other, feminist theology, hybridity, postcolonialism
My new article, “Hybridity, Postcolonialism, and Asian American Women” is now published in the May 2016 issue of the journal Feminist Theology.
Below is the beginning excerpt of the Article.
Postcolonialism has made an impact in today’s world as it affects one’s understanding of self, the other and community. Colonialism has had devastating consequences on many people around the globe. It has created a sense of alienation, dislocation, exile and subordination for many women. Due to colonialism, globalization and migration, many women are living in other places than their birth places. Asian American women are not exempt from the affects of colonialism and they are experiencing the affect of being the other and the foreigner. In light of postcolonial studies, it may be important and helpful to discuss hybridity as a way of understanding identity in an ever changing world.
Alienation, Asian American women, other, Postcolonialism, subordination, Hybridity
Religions are famous for making distinctions between ‘us’ and ‘them’. These distinctions usually embed a value judgment, such as Christians versus pagans or Muslims versus infidels, where the non-privileged class is viewed as impure, unworthy and somehow less human.2 Christianity and other religions intentionally or unintentionally build these walls to divide individuals and groups of people. The division of people into categories due to religious heritage, background, and belief appears throughout religious histories.
One of the most famous examples might be the now illegal caste system of four Varnas and the untouchables in India. However, when a government categorizes people as pure and impure it will often result in a society of social classes, as occurred in the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine in the United States before the Civil Rights movements.
Not only is there division between people of different religious heritages, there are also differences and separations within the same religions as adherents pit themselves against each other according to orthodoxy and heterodoxy. For example, virtually all contemporary Christian churches divide the people between the clergy and the laity.3
Catholics make this distinction especially rigid in theology and in practice. Our human practice of dividing people, especially as a means of applying a label to them, is a dated convention. We find it in the Manichean distinction between the elect and ‘auditors’. This may be a harmless way to identify groups. But the practice of religions drawing distinctions may all too easily turn toxic and tragic. In such instances, religion ceases to be good for society and people; it becomes destructive, degrading, and manipulative. The value of religion needs to be examined and established to understand the actual dynamic of its internal relationships as well as extra-relationships.
**For rest of the article visit Feminist Theology.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim is an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion. She is the author of Embracing the Other;Making Peace with the Earth;Here I Am;Christian Doctrines for Global Gender Justiceco-edited with Jenny Daggers;Theological Reflections on “Gangnam Style”co-written with Joseph Cheah;Reimagining with Christian Doctrinesco-edited with Jenny Daggers;Contemplations from the Heart;Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Spirit;The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other; and The Grace of Sophia. She is a co-editor with Dr. Joseph Cheah for the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, “Asian Christianity in Diaspora”.
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