Religion and the Korean Diaspora : the Role of Christianity and the Church for Korean Immigrants in the United States

Topics: Immigration to the United States, Korean language, United States Pages: 10 (3739 words) Published: March 21, 2007
The growth of the Korean immigrant population in the United States has undoubtedly been on the rise within the context of the past several decades. This is evidently the case as many of the major American cities now house massive Korean diasporic communities including Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Chicago (Min, 1370). The rise of these Korean communities in the United States has definite links to the history of immigration policy in the U.S. The history of Korean immigration into the United States will be an integral part to my research of Korean immigrants in the United States. Essentially, however, the Korean diaspora is at the core of my research in this paper. Initially, I will discuss different topics that generalize the notion of diaspora. That is, I will question the notions of diaspora in formulating a framework for which I can base the existence of the Korean diaspora in the United States. But at the heart of my research is more then just the immigration history of Koreans into the U.S. I ask, how does the role of the church play a crucial part in the story of the Korean diaspora and its growth in the United States? My research ultimately aims at unraveling this strong connection between the Korean diaspora in the United States and the Christian church. In other words, my paper will focus on the role religion plays in the development of the Korean diaspora in the United States.

Research shows that religion continues to be an important identity marker for new immigrants in the United States (Yang and Ebaugh, 2001). There certainly isn¡¯t an exception for Korean immigrants in the United States. Most Korean immigrants are affiliated with and actively participate in Korean Protestant churches of the century were Christians prior to immigration, and the majority of them attended immigrants reported attend church at least once a week (Min and Kim, 2005). These percentages are staggering statistics and perpetuate the major influence Christianity, particularly Protestantism, have on Korean immigrants in the United States.

The principle formation of ethnic diaspora entails a separation of group of people from its homeland. Given the context of this very rudimentary definition of diaspora, the Korean immigrants in the United States form the basis for the Korean diaspora in America. Immigration of Koreans into the United States has come more in larger waves post 1965. This hallmark year indicates the year the United States passed the Immigration Act which lifted the ¡®national origins¡¯ clause in previous immigration legislation and eliminated quotas (Yang and Ebaugh). After the passing of the Immigration Act of 1965, Koreans were able to enter the United States as long as they fulfilled one of the seven preferences included in the act.

The changes in U.S. immigration policy posed for more ethnic diversity in the U.S., particularly a wave of Korean Protestant immigrants. These immigrants not only created the foundation of the Korean diaspora in the United States post 1965 immigration policy, but constructed a road for the assimilation of new migrants through the establishment of religious institutions, primarily the Protestant church. My examination includes several accounts of the enormous influence Korean immigrants had on not only sacrifice. New York and other Korean communities in the United States have achieved a Korean population has increased in each Korean community (Min, 1992)

I¡¯ve been exposed to a plethora of material within the past ten weeks that has provided me with a general understanding to the topic of diaspora. In my studies of diaspora, I¡¯ve been exposed to several of the leading scholars in this field such as James Clifford, Robin Cohen, and Daniel and Jonathan Boyarin. My exposure to these scholars¡¯ work on diaspora and their respective topics has broadened my knowledge of the ever growing field of diasporic studies. Setting up a framework of diaspora studies is not a...
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