about my PhD project

On The Way Home: Nation, Place and Identity Among Christian Migrants

My project will examine the hypothesis that faith impacts the migration experience.

By ‘the migration experience’ I refer to a range of features, such as: motives for departure; the way settlement is experienced and interpreted; the ways in which relationships are maintained between the sending country and the migrant; the way places in the new host country are lived in and ascribed meaning; and the way migrant faith communities interact with each other and with the community of settlement (including established faith communities).

I will investigate the interplay between Christian identity and national identity in constructing a sense of place among migrants in a new host country. Specifically, I will conduct research among migrant Christians examining their local, international and transnational connections with people and places that have, for them, spiritual significance. I intend to conduct research with migrant churches focussing on the way ideas about nation, place and theology impact their faith communities and their interactions with other faith communities in a new host country.

The objective of this research is to better understand how to encourage uses of place that build on the strengths and commonalities we share in diverse communities to create a more inclusive society, and how to acknowledge and celebrate difference in while remaining in community. That is, to understand how to live grounded lives that do not seek to ignore difference (either by pretending it doesn’t exist, or demanding that it be erased) but to acknowledge it and strive creatively towards shared community.

Download my full project proposal HERE.


2 responses to “about my PhD project

  1. interesting topic.

    My eyes go to numbers first, so, from the project proposal:

    36% of persons born in Asia claimed Christian affiliation (ABS 2006).

    the question immediately came to my mind was: did they ‘become’ Christian after their arrival? Coz I was not a Christian before I came to Aus, however, I was not born in Asia, that is another story.

    Having been hanging around few Chinese churches, immigration has been a factor in their conversion for many. It certain was one for me and my bro.

    any section/subsection that begins with ‘academic’ has been only skimmed over.

  2. Natalie Swann

    Leo – I’ve been wondering about what the effect of conversion before/after arrival makes, too. I wonder whether for some, going to church (and maybe even becoming a Christian) at least starts as part of an effort to ‘become Australian’ or at least ‘experience Australia’… I’m looking forward to being able to talk with people about it once I’ve got ethics approval for fieldwork.

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