Feminism, Family, and Confucianism in Asian America
CRG Thursday Forum: March 22, 2012
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Family Sacrifices: Chinese American Neo-Confucianism
Prof. Russell Jeung, San Francisco State University
This paper explores the worldviews and moral frameworks of non-religious Chinese Americans, with a particular focus on Confucian values. Through in-depth interviews of 20 Chinese Americans, this research explores the decline of Chinese popular religious practice among the 2nd generation and the rise of a secular worldview among them. At the same time, they do not discard all of the practices and values of Chinese popular religion. Rather, they selectively maintain Confucian values of filial piety, reciprocity, and mutual responsibility which provide them ultimate meaning. Through the discourse and rituals of family sacrifice, they construct identities and a sense of belonging that function much like religion. However, I argue that these Chinese Americans are not very Confucian in philosophy, but more simply Confucian in very narrow domains.