Browse Exhibits (2 total)
Asa Whitney created some maps in the late 1840s to aid his campaign to build the first transcontinental railroad across North America. I found them while researching American ideas about trade with China during the era of manifest destiny. They provide an example of how Americans saw their nation’s development as bound up with global trade – specifically trade with Asia.
This exhibit makes The Chinese Colony in Peru accessible to readers and also provides a reading of the album as a snapshot of atranslocalCantonese Peruvian ecumene. Thistranslocal reading suggests ways of conceptualizing the history of Asians in the Americas and ways of engaging with questions of traffics, territories and modes of belonging (i.e. citizenship) that do not default into methodological nationalism. Rather, it suggests a way to take the social, cultural and geographic complexity of migrant worlds as both the point of departure and the end goal in the conceptualization of those histories. By shifting the analytic lens away from a focus on the album’s narrative of integration, traces of this translocal world become more visible. When read critically as a snapshot of a bigger Cantonese Peruvian ecumene, the album offers a glimpse into the social, physical and imagined geographical contours of this particular translocal migrant world that is all too easily eclipsed by the consolidation of bordered and settler nation states during the long 19th century.
Ana María Candela