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Immigration and National Identities in Latin America$
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Nicola Foote and Michael Goebel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060002

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060002.001.0001

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In Search of Legitimacy

In Search of Legitimacy

Chinese Immigrants and Latin American Nation Building

(p.182) 7 In Search of Legitimacy
Immigration and National Identities in Latin America

Kathleen López

University Press of Florida

This essay demonstrates the centrality of Chinese immigration to the process of nation-building in Latin America from the late nineteenth century through World War II. It offers a comparative analysis of the Chinese in Cuba, Peru, and Mexico to understand how and why their experiences diverged according to local political context, economic climate, and geographical settlement. Each country became a setting of anti-Chinese discrimination, policies, and violence, accompanied by public debate on the suitability of the Chinese for national inclusion. The actions of Chinese migrants in defense of their claims to citizenship and belonging also subtly shaped the rhetoric of nation-building. As Chinese became part of the fabric of these nations, they continually challenged discrimination and maintained their own ideas about inclusion in Latin American societies as well as Chinese diasporic communities.

Keywords:   Chinese diaspora, Chinese immigrants, Latin America, Chinese in Cuba, Peru, and Mexico, national inclusion, anti-Chinese discrimination

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