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The new Asian city: Three-dimensional fictions of space and urban form

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The new Asian city: Three-dimensional fictions of space and urban form


littérature, film, forme urbaine, espace urbain, Asie, Asia, culture urbaine, paysage urbain, ville coloniale, croissance urbaine, built environment, cadre bâti, Watson Jini Kim


Abstract from the publisher:
Under Jini Kim Watson’s scrutiny, the Asian Tiger metropolises of Seoul, Taipei, and Singapore reveal a surprising residue of the colonial environment. Drawing on a wide array of literary, filmic, and political works, and juxtaposing close readings of the built environment, Watson demonstrates how processes of migration and construction in the hypergrowth urbanscapes of the Pacific Rim crystallize the psychic and political dramas of their colonized past and globalized present.

Tracing the way newly constructed spaces—including expressways, high-rises, factory zones, and department stores—become figured within cultural texts, The New Asian City explores how urban transformations were rationalized, perceived, and fictionalized. Watson shows how literature, film, and poetry have described and challenged contemporary Asian metropolises, especially around the formation of gendered and laboring subjects in these new spaces. She suggests that by embracing the postwar growth-at-any-cost imperative, they have buttressed the nationalist enterprise along neocolonial lines.

The New Asian City provides an innovative approach to how we might better understand the gleaming metropolises of the Pacific Rim. In doing so, it demonstrates how reading cultural production in conjunction with built environments can enrich our knowledge of the lived consequences of rapid economic and urban development.
Jini Kim Watson is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at New York University.


Jini Kim Watson


University of Minnesota Press


November 2011