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Chinatown Opera Theater in North America$
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Nancy Yunhwa Rao

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040566

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040566.001.0001

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Shaping Forces, Networks, and Local Influences

Shaping Forces, Networks, and Local Influences

(p.21) Chapter 1 Shaping Forces, Networks, and Local Influences
Chinatown Opera Theater in North America

Nancy Yunhwa Rao

University of Illinois Press

This chapter surveys the historical context of the 1920s renaissance of Chinese opera theaters in the United States, including social, economic, cultural, and political forces of nation-states that helped shape the Chinese theater network linking China, the United States, Canada, and Cuba. It represents an important shift of the discourse of American musical history from the traditional focus of Atlantic World to that of the Pacific, presenting Chinatown theaters of North America as products of complex transnational forces. It also considers the symbolic significance of language and the impact of transnational network. The chapter therefore challenges the traditional characterization of the Chinese theater community as recalcitrant, demonstrating the many ways in which Chinese and Chinese American performers, owners, and patrons were active participants in the cultural milieu of North America in this period.

Keywords:   transpacific, immigrant community, Chinese migration, yellowface, Canadian American, Cuban American, network, Pacific coast, literacy, polycentricity

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