This project is a summary of my research paper “Chinese Diaspora: Cultural Translation as Rewriting and the Overuse of Cultural Signifiers in Chinatown”, in which I argue that Chinatown is a staging of cultural translation that forms a diasporic Chinese community.
The overly concentrated symbols, signifiers and imagery create a fragmented landscape that flattens and abstracts a culture, in order to provide an entry point for intercultural interaction and communication between different ethnicities.
Rew Chow writes that “this fragmenting or partitioning of the indigenous culture in the form of a residual object, on display for a haughty anthropological gaze, is quite typical of post-European imperialist systems of knowledge production of the past few hundred years.” Chinatown is, perhaps, a grand picture on display for the western gaze. However, it is not a case in which the indigenous people are excluded from the cultural production and only static residue remains. In fact, people in diaspora are able to participate, translate, and rewrite a dynamic culture of their own, a cultural identity that lives happily in the border space.