Chinatowns and the rise of China

Ien Ang, Director Institute for Culture and Society, Distinguished Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Western Sydney, spoke as part of the Global China: New Approaches lecture series. 

In the early 20th century, Chinatowns in the West were ghettos for Chinese immigrants who were marginalized and considered ‘other’ by the dominant society. In western eyes, these areas were the no-go zones of the Oriental other. Now more than a hundred years later, ‘Chinatowns’ still exist in most capital cities but their meaning and role has been transformed. As a consequence of globalization, rapid Asian (including Chinese) migration and the geopolitical shift in power towards China, Chinatowns are now, more often than not, transnational hubs for economic and cultural exchange and flow, which may prefigure the changing global cultural relations in the 21st century.

Ien Ang is the author of Watching Dallas. Soap Opera and the Melodramatic Imagination (1985); Living Room Wars: Rethinking Media Audiences for a Postmodern World (1996); On Not Speaking Chinese: Living Between Asia and the West (2001); The SBS Story: the Challenge of Cultural Diversity (2008).

The lecture series is funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.