Vol. 16, no. 1 (2020), “I Don’t Want to Hear Your Language!” White Social Imagination and the Demography of Roman Corinth – Ekaputra Tupamahu

“I Don’t Want to Hear Your Language!” White Social Imagination and the Demography of Roman Corinth – Ekaputra Tupamahu

Abstract

This article aims to deconstruct the hidden pervasive whiteness in biblical scholarship and to propose another way to reimagine the linguistic dynamic of Roman Corinth from an Asian American perspective. It highlights the legal and historical interconnectedness of whiteness and the dominance of English. English is a critical marker of whiteness in the United States. In this context, immigrants are expected to conform to and assimilate themselves with whiteness by performing English. This particular racialized context has influenced and resulted in a scholarly historical reconstruction of immigrants in Roman Corinth as “Greek speaking im/migrants.” Immigrants can come from many different places but their linguistic identity has to be placed, subjected, and categorized under the dominant tongue: English in America or Greek in Corinth. Such a position consequently erases the rich linguistic experience of both Corinthian and contemporary immigrants. A white historical reconstruction, however, should not be the end of story. This article proposes another possibility of reimagining the rich linguistic experience of Corinthian immigrants by grounding such imagination in the Asian American experience and by looking at Josephus and tongue(s) speakers in the Corinthian church.

Key Words

Whiteness, Roman Corinth, immigration, politics of language, tongues, Josephus, Asian American.

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