Jordan Lynton Cox

Associate Director of Research at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity

Curriculum vitae

Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity

The Ohio State University

Diasporic Identities in the Age of Rising China: Tracing Contestations of China’s Presence in the Caribbean

While much of the research on Chinese development initiatives in the Global South focuses on macro-economic transactions between China, multinational companies, and investment-receiving states, it has not appropriately explored how these engagements take shape in nations with postcolonial Chinese diasporic populations on the ground. In this way, these projects do not account for the historical South-South exchanges (or intimacies, as Lisa Lowe calls them) that have been engendered by colonialism in these contexts (Lowe 2015). Additionally, current frameworks for research on race and diaspora often fail to account for the unique context of post-emancipation Chinese migration into the Caribbean. This is especially true in the Caribbean, where Chinese identity is often obscured by small population size and local nationalisms grounded in blackness and Pan-African thought (Carnegie 1996). Building upon the work of anthropologists, geographers and postcolonial scholars of color who have written on the pervasiveness of colonial logics in the Global South, my dissertation provides a more thoroughly historicized framework to contextualize and examine the spatial, cultural, political and economic contestations that occur as a result of more expansive Chinese investment throughout the African diaspora.
In this dissertation, I argue that the remnants of colonial racist logics still bind the political, economic, spatial, and emotional mobility of Black and Asian bodies in the diaspora.  Thus, despite the conceptual, racial, and material realities that availed by China’s investment in the region these constraints continue to guide and determine modern relationships between Black Jamaicans, Chinese Jamaicans, and newer Chinese migrants Tracing the development of the Chinese Jamaican community from the 19th century to the present, I compile and examine a historical record of Sino-Jamaican intimacies as a lens to explore how colonially mediated ideas of Chinese identity in Jamaica are reconstituted in the contestations fostered by the extension of the People's Republic of China’s (PRC) Belt and Road Initiative into Jamaica and the broader Caribbean. 

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