Moving beyond the actual and theoretical terminus of bounded cities, this article tracks routes by which particular urban forms and ideas have traveled through cities and intersected with the shifting dynamics of the political economy in the Asia Pacific region. It provides a comparative historical reading of Chinatowns that illuminates global interconnections as manifested in urban space while at the same time providing insight into specific social, historical, and geopolitical contexts integral to the travel of Chinatown. Thus, it argues that Chinatowns should be read not in isolation but as landscapes of global urbanism that tie together discrete geopolitical entities. Over the course of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Chinatowns transformed in nature from traditional, fixed, and static to modern, innovative, and utopian in the imaginations and practices that constituted modern cities. This reading of Chinatown as dynamic urban form has two purposes. First, it illustrates political-economic platforms that produce relations among cities in a shifting global context. Second, accounting for the multidimensional travel of Chinatowns reveals how Asia has been central to geopolitical imaginations of global capitalism.
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Sujin Eom; Traveling Chinatowns: Mobility of Urban Forms and Asia in Circulation. positions 1 November 2017; 25 (4): 693–716. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-4188374
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