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A Hermeneutic on Dislocation as Experience

Creating a Borderland, Constructing a Hybrid Identity


Hemchand Gossai and Jung Eun Sophia Park

Dislocation, which involves moving from a familiar place to an unknown place, is a common experience in this era of globalization yet it can cause a deep sense of alienation – people feel invisible, voiceless, and anonymous. A Hermeneutic on Dislocation as Experience: Creating a Borderland, Constructing a Hybrid Identity employs socio-rhetorical criticism from a postcolonial perspective, providing a hermeneutic on the experience of dislocation from the perspective of Asian immigrant women. The author’s focus on Asian immigrant women’s spirituality is interwoven with different texts such as the story of a woman caught in adultery (Jn. 7: 53-8:11), Asian immigrant women’s stories in the novels Dictee and Crossings, and stories of Korean shamans encountered in the author’s ethnographic fieldwork.
This book suggests that people who experience dislocation can create a borderland where their own marginality gains power and voice. In that borderland, they are able to construct a hybrid identity as a result of deep engagement with one another. In particular, the author’s fieldwork on Korean shamans reveals how the shamanic ritual itself functions as a borderland, wherein the marginalized Korean shamans gain hybrid identity. A Hermeneutic on Dislocation as Experience is a valuable resource for classes in Asian studies, ethnography, cultural anthropology, biblical spirituality, women’s spirituality, and interdisciplinary courses.


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Chapter 1: Introduction 1


introduction · 1 · This project investigates the experience of dislocation, an experience that is common to Asian immigrant women in the United States. Dislocation pro- vides numerous benefits, but it also imparts much suffering due to the need for the woman to adjust her new culture. In the global context, the emer- gent new international division of labor depends heavily on the mobility of women workers. Consequently, the feminization of migration is noticeable.1 Asian women from various countries undertake immigration and, accord- ingly, experience dislocation. Dislocation, as a part of global reality, is a life-changing experience that requires much articulation and interpreta- tion. Thus there is a strong demand for an elaboration of a spirituality that is particularly suited to these dislocated women. In this study, I articulate experiences of Asian immigrant women who have undergone dislocation, envisioning a possibility of transformation of the experience, of creating a hybrid identity. 1. Avtar Brah, “Diaspora, Border and Transnational Identities,” in Feminist Postcolonial Theory: A Reader, eds. Reina Lewis and Sara Mills (New York: Routledge, 2003), 614. park_book.indd 1 10/4/11 3:33:09 PM 2 a hermeneutic on dislocation as experience The Location of this Project I situate this work in the fields of Christian spirituality and of postcolonial theory. Christian spirituality, on the one hand, allows for focus on human experiences of dislocation and seeks transformative meaning in these experi- ences. The field of postcolonial studies, on the other hand, conceptualizes dislocation theoretically, including the analysis of possible merits of disloca-...

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