Religionized, Faithed and Raced Gender Knots: The Resilience and Challenges of Indigenous Women in Taiwan

Key information

1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
SOAS Brunei Gallery, first floor

About this event

The gap between the imagination of outsiders and the everyday life of Taiwanese indigenous women remains an unresolved topic of current research. Outsiders often depict Indigenous women as weak and needy, while many Indigenous women I met state their diverse ways of living with, yet not surrendering to, the challenges they faced.

Scholars and Taiwanese society tend to attribute the transformation of indigenous women's lives to colonization and sinicization. However, the considerable pressure Christian teachings places on Indigenous women following the mass conversions of the 1960s have seldom been examined.

As my research focuses on a particular matriarchal indigenous society, the Pangcahs in Taiwan. My presentation discusses one of the important impetuses of Christian missions in the 20th century, the missionary women’s involvement. Analyzing missionary women’s theological practices, mission strategies, and Pangcah women’s daily life from the early 20th century, I argue that although missionary women’s names were not often mentioned in the early days when the Pangcah converted, missionary women's faith practices showed a possibility of resistance to the church's patriarchal culture.

The model of missionary women, although it is trapped in religionized, faithed and raced gender roles, vaguely inspires Pangcah women to pass on their matrilineal culture in different forms.

Speaker's Biography

Ayah Demaladas

Hong, Chung-Chih, also known as Ayah Demaladas, is an indigenous female scholar from the Kasavakan community of the Pinuyumayang tribe in Taiwan. Ayah is a PhD candidate at the School of Religious Studies at McGill University with the concentration on Gender and Women’s Studies.

Her research interest is the relationships between Christianity, Indigenous traditional practices, and the life and spirituality of Indigenous women.