Chinatowns and the rise of China

Listen to the seminar here.

In the early twentieth century, Chinatowns in the West were ghettos for Chinese immigrants who were marginalised and considered ‘other’ by the dominant society. In western eyes, these areas were the no-go zones of the Oriental other. Now, more than one hundred years later, traditional Chinatowns still exist in some cities but their meaning and role has been transformed, while in other cities entirely new Chinatowns have emerged. This paper discusses how Chinatowns today are increasingly contested sites where older diasporic understandings of Chineseness are unsettled by newer, neoliberal ones, dominated by the pull of China’s newly found economic might. In particular, the so-called ‘rise of China’ has spawned a globalisation of the idea of ‘Chinatown’ itself, with its actual uptake in urban development projects the world over, or backlash against it, determined by varying perceptions of China’s global ascendancy as an amalgam of ‘threat’ and ‘opportunity’.

This event is co-organised with the Centre for Heritage and Musuem Studies, ANU

About the speaker

IEN ANG (FAHA) is a Distinguished Professor of Cultural Studies at Western Sydney University and was the founding Director of the university’s Institute for Culture and Society. Her wideranging interdisciplinary work deals broadly with patterns of cultural flow and exchange in our globalised world, focusing on issues such as the formation of audiences and publics; the cultural politics of identity and difference; migration, ethnicity and multiculturalism in Australia and Asia, especially related to Chinese diasporas; and issues of representation in contemporary cultural institutions.

Before the seminar

All attendees are invited to join us in the CIW Tea House from 3.30pm for an informal discussion with the guest speaker before the seminar.

The ANU China Seminar Series is supported by the China Institute and the Australian Centre on China in the World at The Australian National University’s College of Asia & the Pacific.


Ien Ang

Dates & times

Thursday, 21 March 2019

4.00pm - 5.30pm


Seminar Rooms, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU

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