‘New Departures in Chinese London: Conceptualising Ethnicities and Urban Space in a Mobile World’
Caroline Knowles (Goldsmiths: University of London)
7 Priory Road: G1
On 10th April 2017 the first UK to China export train pulled out of the newly constructed London Gateway port. The departing freight train connects London and the Chinese city of Yiwu with 7,500 miles of rail track that makes part of the China-Europe rail corridor, a fast-growing network of railway connections and a poster child of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The departure of the train signals the need for another departure – a departure from imagining that Chinese London is a clearly marked neighbourhood in Soho’s Chinatown, or that it is inscribed in bodies and businesses that bear its iconic markers. A departure in how to think about the ways in which (Chinese) ethnicities, migrations and other circulations co-composes cities on the scale suggested by the infrastructure developments implicated in the BRI’s route through London and its emerging consequences. This lecture sketches in some of the realities on the ground when it comes to the emerging cartographies of Chinese London and suggests updating the ways in which we conceptualise the connections between cities and ethnicities on the move.
Seminars will take place at 5 pm in 7 Priory Road: G1, and will be followed by a drinks reception.