In the early 20th 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 a hundred years later, 'Chinatowns' still exist in most capital cities but their meaning and role have been transformed.
This talk will show that as a consequence of globalisation, 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. This is exemplified by the globalisation of the idea of 'Chinatown' itself, as cities around the world are struggling to exploit their competitive advantage vis-à-vis the emerging Chinese superpower.
Distinguished Professor Ien Ang is a Professor of Cultural Studies and the founding Director of the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, until the end of 2014. She is one of the leaders in cultural studies worldwide, with interdisciplinary work spanning many areas of the humanities and social sciences. Her books, including Watching Dallas, Desperately Seeking the Audience and On Not Speaking Chinese, are recognised as classics in the field and her work has been translated into many languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Turkish, German, Korean, and Spanish. Her most recent book, co-edited with E Lally and K Anderson, is The Art of Engagement: Culture, Collaboration, Innovation (University of Western Australia Press, 2011). She is also a member of the advisory board of the ACGS.