Sean MetzgerDec 16, 2022
The Chinese Atlantic
Seascapes and the Theatricality of Globalization
Indiana University Press 2020
In The Chinese Atlantic: Seascapes and the Theatricality of Globalization (Indiana University Press, 2020), Sean Metzger proposes a new analytical frame through which to understand discourses of globalization: the so-called Chinese Atlantic. Elaborating on and complicating various Atlantic discourses (among them Paul Gilroy’s “Black Atlantic”), Metzger follows the flows of Chinese labor and capital throughout the Atlantic world, examining various media and aesthetic practices, among them documentary film, public art, and tai chi. As the title implies, Metzger’s book combines multiple disciplinary approaches, including, of course art history and performance studies, to chart the theatricality of seascapes across multiple Atlantic locales. To borrow one of Metzger’s own conceptual metaphors, the book “incorporates” histories and aesthetic genealogies from the Caribbean to the coasts of England and South Africa to propose new modes of apprehending globalization as it constituted through the movement of Chinese people and imaginaries across the ocean. Metzger’s book has been awarded both the 2022 Association for Asian American Studies Book Award for Humanities & Cultural Studies: Interdisciplinary/Media Studies and the 2021 John W. Frick Award from the American Theatre and Drama Society for best book on theater and performance of/in the Americas. Join us for our conversation about the place of the Chinese Atlantic in Asian and Asian American studies.
Julia Keblinska is a member of the Global Arts and Humanities Society of Fellows at the Ohio State University specializing in Chinese media history and comparative socialisms.