"Realization of the Promised Land": Christian Narratives in American Identity Formation Focusing on Filipino and Korean Americans
- Lee, Sooyoung
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.30, pp. 53-87
- American National Identity; Asian American; Religious Narratives; American Immigration; Filipino Americans; Korean Americans
- This article examines Protestant narratives of Filipino and Korean Americans with regard to their American national identity formation. The focus of this article is to find out how they have reinterpreted their ethnic backgrounds and immigrant experiences within the framework of the Biblical exodus story as ways of promoting their American identities based on America's historically inherited concept of God's chosen people. Their reinterpretation situates them in the status of God's chosen people who had been called to America which they believe is the Promised Land and who are on their sacred journey into the realization of the Promised Land. I selected these two groups because they have made up new immigrant groups in America since the late twentieth century and their pre-immigrant exposure to unilateral American influences caused the formation of their idealized perceptions of America. This tendency motivated them to leave their homeland for obtaining better social status and living conditions. These historical backgrounds have influenced the understanding of their post-immigrant lives in America. I made the cases of Protestant narratives of two influential theologians, Eleazar Fernandi and Dong-Sun Lim, to demonstrate how Christian symbols such as Canaan and Exodus are used to interpret their transnational immigration and to sanctify the process of their achievement of American Dream. Furthermore, their applications of the Biblical stories in making sense of their immigrant lives reflect their wishes to become central groups in mainstream American society as well as be part of American destiny as a global superpower, rather than to remain as marginal groups.
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