From Place To Non-Place: An Architectural Tour of Chinatown
3pm, location TBA
Space extremely limited, RSVP required
In many Hollywood motion pictures, the image of Chinatown registers as a fleeting montage of gangster chasing, detective hunting, opium smoking, mahjong playing, red lantern flickering and pedestrian clamoring spectacle. Challenging this imagination, renowned historian and Chinese American studies pioneer Philip P. Choy takes the participants on an architectural journey to San Francisco’s Chinatown. By visiting a selection of the historical buildings and discussing their cultural significance, this tour investigates the political and cultural identities of the legendary site and how it weaves into the fabric of the history of San Francisco and the Pacific Rim. The tour invites participants to reflect on the concept of Chinatown as an abstract yet fictional construction, a non-place, both as a piece of indelible memory and a fantasy in the making. Choy is the author of the book “San Francisco Chinatown” (City Lights, 2012) and an Adjunct Professor at the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University.