Publication Date

Spring 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Charlotte Sunseri


Child-rearing, Ethnogenesis, Identity, Immigration, Silicon Valley, Taiwan

Subject Areas

Cultural anthropology; Asian American studies; American history


This thesis explores the transformative effects of immigration from the 1960s through the 2010s among women from Taiwan living in the County of Santa Clara. The study focused on three substantive areas: (1) early life experiences and factors leading to immigration; (2) shifts in social identities after leaving Taiwan (e.g., political, national, and ethnic self-concepts in various contexts); and (3) practices of child-rearing. Several methodological tools were employed during the data collection phase of the research process, including interviews, surveys, and participant observations. The findings of this study suggested a dynamic process of change in which informants adapted to, were affected by, and influenced their new milieus to varying degrees. Although a number of patterns were evident in the broader experiences of participants, the actual decisions (e.g., how to raise children) and individual changes (e.g., the choice of ethnic identification) were often unique. These findings add to the body of scholarly knowledge concerning the lived experiences of Taiwanese Americans and their distinct challenges, but they also suggest the need to extend theoretical discussions related to transnationalism, ethnogenesis, and parallel dual frame of reference for a clearer understanding of immigrant experiences in a rapidly changing American suburbia.