If America Were Really China or How Christopher Columbus Discovered Asia

MEDIA, POPULAR CULTURE, AND THE AMERICAN CENTURY, pages 249-269, National Library of Sweden, 2010

18 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2009 Last revised: 13 Jan 2011

See all articles by Gregory B. Lee

Gregory B. Lee

City University of Hong Kong; University of Lyon 3

Date Written: November 24, 2009

Abstract

This text investigates the notion that America may well have been first “discovered” and peopled by migrants from what is now China, and concludes by wondering whether China has not become another America and whether America is now not about to become China, which in any case is another America. Between the introduction and the conclusion, the history of other imagined Americas is examined: the Americas that were not the USA (such as the French Caribbean island of Martinique and Cuba where Chinese coolies were lured and duped with contracts for America (Amérique, A-mei-li-ga), and the USA of the Chinese American which was not quite Utopia – an America from which Chinese were excluded between 1882 and WW2. The Story of Chan Chen – a scenario for a Chinese American film yet to be made – is sketched out.

Keywords: metissage, hybridity, migration, emigration, China, America, Cuba, Martinique, Chinese America, Zhu Di, Hui Shen, Christopher Columbus, Christina Garcia “Monkey Hunting”, Raphaël Confiant “Case à Chine”, Shawn Wong “Homebase”, Brian Castro Birds of Passage

JEL Classification: N11, N15, N26, N31, N32, N35

Suggested Citation

Lee, Gregory B., If America Were Really China or How Christopher Columbus Discovered Asia (November 24, 2009). MEDIA, POPULAR CULTURE, AND THE AMERICAN CENTURY, pages 249-269, National Library of Sweden, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1512542

Gregory B. Lee (Contact Author)

City University of Hong Kong ( email )

+85234428902 (Phone)

University of Lyon 3

France

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