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Taiwan Catholic Consciousness: Postcolonial Effects on Catholics' Perceived Identities and Perceptions of Chinese-Language Media Bias
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There is a need for greater understanding of Eastern religious development. Whereas Western studies tend to focus on individual religious development, Eastern development requires a look at citizenry. This study asks, How do colonial associations with the Catholic Church impact Catholic identity in Taiwan? In late 2018, the Vatican chose to formally recognize China, which allowed it more control of the Catholic Church in China. This decision strained already tenuous relations between China and Taiwan, because previously the Vatican only recognized Taiwan. News media reports that Taiwan Catholics felt divided over this issue (Yu & Wang, 2018), which is not surprising given Taiwan's history of colonizations. This interdisciplinary study seeks to redress a bias in Western scholarship that tends to perpetuate Eurocentrism, by emphasizing Asia-based histories and ideas (Kim, 2010). Method: I traveled to Taiwan to meet local collaborators from Fu Jen Catholic University and the Catholic Archdiocese of Taipei. Qualitative pre-test interviews assessed issues most salient to Taiwan Catholic locals and whether questions seeking to ask attitudes toward these issues translate correctly. I used a quantitative survey in traditional Mandarin Chinese to measure to what extent Taiwan Catholics' personal identities as Taiwanese and Catholics correlate with attitudes toward the Beijing-Vatican deal. I developed these instruments by examining surveys used to measure attitudes toward cultural items considered introduced by outside powers (Lai, 2005) and by consulting experts. Finally, with consideration for how religious and postcolonial biases may influence people's perceptions of media, this study will provide empirical insight on theoretical arguments of postcolonialism (Hartnett, Keränen, & Conley, 2017). By examining attitudes of Taiwanese Catholics towards news media, this study aims to explore that, for Eastern cultures, religious development requires context of citizenry.