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A Hermeneutic on Dislocation as Experience

Creating a Borderland, Constructing a Hybrid Identity

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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 5: Conclusion 113

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conclusion · 5 · In this study I have endeavored to construct an Asian women’s biblical spiritu- ality, investigating a transformative meaning of dislocation as experience. The process has involved several steps. First, I read two Asian immigrant-women’s autobiographical novels as a way to explore the experience of dislocation, focusing on the shaping of self-identity. Second, I investigated a Korean sha- manic ritual community as an example of borderland where the ordinary dislo- cated person may experience empowerment and transformation. And finally, I interpreted the Gospel of John 7: 53–8: 11 in light of the Korean shamanic community. Specifically, I developed a spirituality for FBA (Foreign Born American) first–generation immigrant Asian women, focusing on the way of creating a hybrid identity. FBA refers to an individual who lives in between cultures, struggling for survival in a new location and culture. Asian American theo- logian Peter Phan explains the conditions of the “betwixt-and-between situ- ation” as follows: Spatially it is to dwell at the periphery or at the boundaries, without a permanent resi- dence. Politically, it means not residing at the centers of power of the two intersecting worlds but occupying the precarious and narrow margins where the two dominant groups-those of the homeland and the host country-meet, and consequently being park_book.indd 113 10/4/11 3:33:14 PM 114 a hermeneutic on dislocation as experience deprived of the opportunities to wield power in matters of public interest. Socially, to be betwixt and between is to be part of a minority,...

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