This study applies a depth symbolic approach with hermeneutic methodology to examine the psychological legacy of the historical Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943) and its impact on the psyche of the Chinese American. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first and only American legislation that ever prohibited a group of immigrants from entering America solely on the basis of race. The voice of the Chinese American was silenced and the shadow cast on their psyche was long lasting. Through the analysis of two autobiographies and six poems written by the Chinese Americans that directly experienced and bore witness to the exclusion era, this study explores the identity formation, self-definition, self-expression, coping patterns, and models of functioning of the Chinese American. Hidden and forgotten themes and contents in the Chinese American psyche are also uncovered. This research employs an exploratory method of analysis by interweaving personal narratives, cultural symbolism, and mythical images with historical, political, and social events. The emic “bottom up” perspective taken in this study intends to obtain knowledge directly from the experience of a minority group to inform and broaden the theoretical foundation of depth psychology with a diverse and multicultural scope. The study concludes that the unique psychic representation of the Chinese American emerges at the interface of their inner and outer realities. The findings reflect on the pioneer and defiant characteristics of the Chinese American, and their repressed aggression and incomplete mourning over loss.
|Commitee:||Brewster, Fanny, Wong, Grace|
|School:||Pacifica Graduate Institute|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 78/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Asian American Studies, Social psychology, Psychology|
|Keywords:||Chinese American psyche, Chinese Exclusion Act, Diversity, Ethnic unconscious, Multiculturalism|
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