Becoming an Evangelical Worker in English: Contextualizing Institutional and Interpersonal Practices

Principal Investigator(s)/ Chercheur principal (Chercheurs principaux):

Huamei Han, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC

 


Co-Investigator(s) /Co-chercheurs :

None

 


Funding/Subvention:

SSHRC Institutional Research Grant (Amount: $5,700)

 


Duration/Durée:

2008-2010 (Status/Statut: Ongoing)

 


Contact Information/Personne contact:

Tel: 778-782-5443 E-Mail: huameihan@sfu.ca Office: Education Building 8666 SFU Burnaby

 


Background/Contexte:
This is a pilot to a project studying the complex interplays between:
language, culture, ethnicity, religion and the construction of trans-national identities among minority youths in Canada. Using an ethnographic approach, and drawing on “the ideology of the natural” that bounds language, culture and religion as an organic whole, the pilot will explore a rare case of an adult Chinese immigrant working for two English speaking Christian organizations to evangelize international students on a university campus while studying at an English- speaking seminary in Western Canada. The focus is on the evangelical worker in relation to various people in the globalized political economy that has brought professionals from the developing world to the developed.

 


Project Objectives/Objectifs du projet:

(1) The overall goal is to prepare and gain consent for a main study, which will involve following an overseas mission to China under the name of “language and culture exchange”. (2) To fill a gap in our knowledge of the work of evangelical Christians in Canada, particularly among minority groups. (3) To provide practical recommendations for English- speaking institutions, secular and religious, to include linguistic minorities at institutional and interpersonal levels.

 


Research Plan/Plan de recherche:

The project will adopt an ethnographic approach, which involves extended and regular observations, and is most suitable for exploring lived experiences and emerging phenomena. (Data Collection): Regular observations and discourse will take place with the key participant and the people he comes into contact with between August and November 2008, while paying attention to his and others actual language use. (Data Analysis): A critical discourse analysis approach will be adopted to analyze spoken and written data, which will contextualize individuals’ words and trajectories in relation to their different positions and experiences in globalization.

 


Significance/Importance:

The proposed project will build on past and on-going work within largely minority communities and extends it to largely Caucasian and English-speaking Christian institutions. The research may bring understanding to how a new trans-national Chinese ethnicity is negotiated and constructed in everyday life that sometimes transcends the usual racial, cultural, linguistic and national boundaries. The first generation adult in the case study will be working in an English-speaking religious institution, which maybe a break through given that most Chinese Immigrant Pastors preach to a predominantly Chinese audience.