Recasting the Ethnic Retail Street

Analyzing Contemporary Immigrant Architecture in the United States

Authored by: Arijit Sen

The Routledge Companion to Critical Approaches to Contemporary Architecture

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138917569
eBook ISBN: 9781315688947
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter uses examples from two decades of research on South Asian retail streets in order to outline a method of interpreting contemporary immigrant architecture. I argue that immigrants creatively retain, modify, and reproduce their cultural identity and practice in the way they move through space. Using examples from Chicago this chapter shows how contemporary immigrant architecture is a dramaturgical performance of emplacement that implicates place, spatial practice, and the human body and provides immigrants an ability to straddle multiple worlds, engage diverse identities, perform polyvalent roles, and recreate myriad forms of belonging.

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