Monday, May 8, 2023
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
In Peru, the South American country that has one of the oldest and largest populations of diasporic Chinese, the word chifa references both Chinese Peruvian food and the restaurants that serve it. While chifa was disdained as "working-class" food in the late 19th century, the influx of Chinese merchants in the early 20th century transformed the chifa foodscape by creating fine dining restaurants tailored to the Peruvian elite. This rebranding of chifa helped redefine Chinese belonging in Peru. More recently, with the rise of China in the global political economy, another shift has taken place. In the hands of internationally renowned Peruvian Chef Gastón Acurio, Chifa has become the key site through which Peru is reworking its national and geopolitical orientations, one that is pivoting away from Europe and turning squarely towards Asia, or more precisely, "global China." This talk examines the culinary and social development of chifa to trace the assemblage of migratory movements, racial projects, geopolitical dynamics, and capitalist imperatives that continually shape and reshape notions of Chineseness and its value in national and global contexts.
Lok Siu is Chair of the Asian American Research Center and Professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. Her publications include Memories of a Future Home：Diasporic Citizenship of Chinese in Panama （2005）and three coedited volumes: Asian Diasporas：New Formations, New Conceptions （2007）; Gendered Citizenships：Transnational Perspectives on knowledge Production, Political Activism, and Culture （2009）; and Chinese Diaspora：Its Development in Global Perspective （2021）. Her articles appear in various book anthologies and journals, including Anthropological Quarterly, Amerasia, the Journal for Asian American Studies, and Social Text. Her monograph, Worlding Chino Latino：Cultural Intimacies in Food, Art, and Politics, is forthcoming with Duke University Press. She is currently completing a special issue in the Journal for the Study of Chinese Overseas. As a public scholar, she has appeared in and contributed to various national media, including CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CBS, WNYC, and VOX.com.
Sponsor（s）: Center for Chinese Studies