The Spaces

The exhibit deconstructs The Chinese Colony in Peru by highlighting a series of spaces that appear in its pages, which together constitute some of the central social, physical and imagined geographic contours of a translocal Cantonese Peruvian ecumene. As revealed by the album, this ecumene was global in scope, in the sense that Cantonese in Peru maintained ties to places across the world, but also in the sense that they lived lives that shaped and were shaped by world-making historical processes. The album does not provide an all-encompassing map of this Cantonese Peruvian ecumene nor of a broader Chinese diasporic world during the early 20th century. It is simply a snapshot of that world crafted by a select group of Cantonese political and economic elite men for a Spanish-speaking and Lima-centered Peruvian political elite male readership. Nonetheless, the spaces that appear in the album offer possibilities for thinking further about the translocal histories of Asians in the Americas and questions of traffic, territory and belonging beyond the nation, the transnational and even the transpacific.