• TRANSNATIONAL SALVATION AND THE GENDERING OF HABITUS: KOREAN WOMEN PROTESTANT MISSIONARIES IN HAITI

      Rey, Terry; Levitt, Laura, 1960-; White, Sydney Davant; Hey-Colón, Rebeca L. (Temple University. Libraries, 2021)
      This dissertation critically examines both the discursive and empirical significances of recent newcomers in the Haitian religious field, namely Korean and Korean American Protestant women missionaries. This confluence of Korean and Haitian Protestantism, which first emerged in the early 1990s, is a compelling case of the diversification of contemporary transnational and even global Christianity. Protestant Christianity was implanted in Haiti and Korea at around the very same time, in the nineteenth century, by North American missionaries who were inspired to work in new national religious fields by the Second Great Awakening (1790-1840) and its evangelical fervor. In the eyes of North American missionaries, both countries were religious wildernesses waiting to truly receive and understand the Good Word. Since then, in both Korea and Haiti, westernization, Western hegemony, and Western neo-colonialization have featured strong undercurrents of North-American-derived Protestantism. However, the respective lots and religious fields of each country have been dramatically different overall largely because of national and global economic and political forces. South Korea enjoyed formidable growth both in its economy and its evangelical Christian population after the Korean War (1950-1953), resulting in Korean Christianity’s zealous participation in evangelical Protestant mission overseas, following the models of North American mission enterprises, especially toward the end of the century. Meanwhile, Haiti continued to suffer from natural disasters, political turmoil, and widespread abject poverty. Thus, overseas Haitian Protestant mission work is altogether non-existent, though internally evangelical prosetalization efforts are legion and often aggressive. Vodou and Catholicism, meanwhile, continue to captivate the majority of the Haitian masses, but Protestantism is clearly on the rise across the nation. In is into this socio-religious context that Korean Protestant missions expanded in the Caribbean nation, an expansion that has amplified especially since the tragic 2010 earthquake. Toward understanding these developments, this project investigates the influx of Korean and Korean American Protestant missionaries in contemporary Haiti and the reverberations of North American evangelicalism as channeled through and adapted by Korean missionaries. With all of these historical and contemporary contexts in mind, this dissertation more sharply focuses on a specific group of actors in the Haitian religious field, namely contemporary Korean American Protestant women missionaries. I argue that their activity suggests a new type of examples for current scholarly discourses about the relationship between gender and evangelical missions. By way of historical analyses of both Korean and Haitian Protestant Christianity and oral histories based on interviews with Korean missionaries in Haiti, this study argues that Korean evangelicalism has developed a distinctive gendered praxis that claims both continuity with and divergence from North American evangelicalism. It also shows that in both South Korea and Haiti, twentieth-century U.S. hegemony and military occupation were significant factors in propelling Protestant Christianity.