The temporality of Los Angeles' Mongolian landscapes
Chima Michael Anyadike-Danes
(The University of Sheffield)
Paper short abstract:
What are the consequences of Los Angeles’ settler-colonial history for its Mongolian immigrants' attempts to construct a home for themselves? This presentation explores how Mongolians attempt to weave themselves into the landscape through activities and events. And how they often go unacknowledged.
Paper long abstract:
Los Angeles' Koreatown is extremely densely populated, with more than 100,000 people, from places as varied as Bangladesh, Nicaragua, and the Mexico, residing within its few square kilometers. The majority of the city's Mongolians dwell in this multicultural, multilingual, and multiethnic landscape. While they have done so since the late 1990s their presence is rarely acknowledged. My presentation explores this phenomena, analyzing it through the lens of settler colonial studies literature on presence and elimination. This perspective offers insight into what I regard as Los Angeles' enduring way of seeing. A form of vision that equates physical presence with particular types of landscape management. Specifically, the economic development of an area through culturally specific businesses. The city's Mongolians, despite their desire to create a 'Little Mongolia', tend not to engage in these sorts of activities but that does not mean that their presence does not diversify the landscape. Instead, drawing on bodies of anthropological and geographical literature that has been influenced by the Heideggerian notion of dwelling, I contend that Mongolians are constantly (re-)creating a Mongolian presence in Koreatown's landscape through the tasks they undertake. However, the impressions that their activities leave are subject to persistent erasure. Finally, I suggest that this fleeting quality is enhanced by the variety of other populations, with their own projects, who are also constantly acting to remake and claim Koreatown.
Materializing exile: production of difference and diversity in the city