fulbright Taiwan online journal

fulbright Taiwan online journal

Author: Yin-Han Karissa Chen 陳盈涵

Picture of Yin-Han Karissa Chen 陳盈涵
  Karissa Chen is the author of the fiction chapbook Of Birds and Lovers. Her fiction and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Gulf CoastPEN AmericanGuernicaThe Toast, and VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, among others. She was a 2015-2016 Fulbright Fellow in Taiwan, and a Kundiman and VONA/Voices Fellow. A graduate of the MFA program at Sarah Lawrence College, she currently serves as the Senior Literature Editor at Hyphen magazine and is a co-founding editor of Some Call It Ballin'. She is currently at work on a novel.

I Am Who I Think I Am: On Finding My Identity in Taiwan

    “Where are you from?” is a question almost every Asian American has grown up hearing (in addition to its ruder close cousin—“What are you?”). I’ve bristled at that question, swinging from being patient and polite—“You mean where are my parents from?”—to snarky—“New Jersey.” It’s a question that rankles because it assumes foreignness and otherness, one that, in my own country, feels unfair. In America, aren’t we almost all, in some shape or form, descended from somewhere else? And yet Asian Americans are usually the ones perpetually called out for it. There was a short period of time when I would have insisted I was American, and American only. That eventually gave way to my own sense of pride in how I saw myself—as both Asian American and Chinese American—and I decided that I alone could determine what those terms meant to me.      I came to Taiwan to do research for a novel based on the experiences of post-1949 immigrants from mainland China. As a descendant of three grandparents who came from China, and one grandparent, my maternal grandmother, who was Taiwanese, I was very interested in the stories of relocation, immigration, homesickness, and assimilation of these

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Research & Reflections

fulbright taiwan online journal