International Workshop 'Migrations between the West and the East: Normalizing the Periphery date:2-5 April 2006
Like many other cosmopolitan cities, Washington D.C. has a Chinatown, a site of leisure and consumption, based on the commodification and marketing of ethno-cultural diversity. The successful transformation of an ethnic precinct into a tourist attraction depends on supportive economic and social infrastructure as well as on the flourishing of small-businesses, commodifying ethnic features. For sure, this Chinatown does not represent the nodal point of a vibrant community. On the contrary, it is artificially kept alive by city planners and a handful of self-appointed Chinese spokespersons through its inclusion in D.C.’s regulatory structures that strongly support and promote ethnic theming.