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Wandering Geographies: Aesthetic Practice along China's Belt and Road Initiative 

Journal Cover
Cover artwork: Otobong Nkanga, In Pursuit of Bling - The Transformation
Christina Yuen Zi Chung and Sasha Su-Ling Welland, "Wandering Geographies: Aesthetic Practice along China's Belt and Road Initiative," Feminist Studies 47.2 (2021): 372-417.

Narratives about China in relation to the Global North or South are always already unstable. Moving beyond an area studies framework, this essay turns instead toward minor transnational connections at the edges of the China Dream. The artworks it assembles exhibit how the concepts of North, South, and/or nation are themselves geographies that wander, geographies that are performative and performed, embodied and abstracted. Through an unruly selection of artists—Patty Chang, Samuel Fosso, He Kunlin, Elvis Yip Kin Bon, Joyce Lung Yuet Ching, Otobong Nkanga, Xing Danwen, Wu Mali, Mika Rottenberg, and Thảo Nguyên Phan—who work in disparate locations along China’s Belt and Road Initiative, we argue that their aesthetic attention to the materiality and movement of bodies, things, resources, and ways of seeing gives form to hidden histories of gendered labor, care work, environmental extraction, diaspora, and displacement. These artists and their works unmoor taken-for-granted notions of China, North, and South, cautioning us against using these terms as shorthand in feminist analyses of China’s global reach.

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