Karen Tei Yamashita published her novel I Hotel in 2010, five years after the physical International Hotel (I-Hotel)—a center for the Asian American movement in the1960s and 1970s—was revitalized on its original site in the Manilatown–Chinatown section of San Francisco. This essay focuses on how Yamashita reimagines China and Chinese social movements in her narrative to recover a pivotal time in US movement politics (1968–77). Under Yamashita’s pen, “China” becomes a symbolic site through which her characters reassemble historical connections and reanimate political affiliations. By dwelling over “China,” Yamashita reengages the dynamism of anti-imperial politics before China’s rise as itself a neoliberal empire. In the act of recollection, the novel reinvents context, reconfigures meaning, and reorients symbolic trajectories. She activates the intervening slash in what David Palumbo-Liu terms “Asian/America,” illuminating the mutually constitutive histories between the United States and China. In so doing, Yamashita configures minor transnational connections: she decenters ideas of the nation-state (be it the United States or China) and ruptures narratives of global capital accumulation in a neoliberal order.


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pp. 719-739
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