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7. Conclusion

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Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


This chapter summarizes how the book has examined several examples in this repertoire and archive of Chineseness in Chile, particularly in the twenty-first century, that question essentialist, stereotypical, and racist ideas about Chineseness as the Chilean “Other.” These examples approach and expose Chineseness as a speculative space and signifier that is in continuous construction and negotiation. We discuss unique challenges that the ethnic Chinese face in seeking recognition and inclusion in Chile, and call for a postmigrant perspective in the current processes of rethinking the country’s history and reimagining the nation.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-83966-6_7
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Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    While the feminist movements on Latin America can be analyzed relatively independently from United States or Europe-based movements—such as the 2019 protest performance by Chilean group Las Tesis that was performed by diverse women worldwide in various languages, and the South American protest against femicide #NiUnaMenos—this cannot be said for anti-racist movements.

  2. 2.

    We have also contributed to these discussions (see Chan, 2018; Chan & Montt Strabucchi, 2020; Montt Strabucchi, 2021).

  3. 3.

    These Afro-descendant migrants are stigmatized and associated with low-paid and informal work, where Haitians are stereotyped for selling Chilean chocolates on public transport and in the street, alongside cleaning and construction work, Colombians are associated with sex work and illicit drugs (Stang & Solano Cohen, 2017).

  4. 4.

    Beatrice Glow’s work reflects on circulation and smell along similar lines. Her exhibit “Aromérica Parfomeur” at the Sala de Arte Mall Plaza Vespucio del Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Chile, that explored how plants and smells shaped world history by connecting the founding myths of the Americas to the search for spices (see Glow, 2018).

  5. 5.

    For example, the Chilean sociologist Jorge Larraín (2019) has stated that if national identity is defined as “a permanent historical process of construction and reconstruction of the ‘imagined community’ that is the nation, then the changes that have occurred in its constituent elements do not necessarily imply that the national identity has been lost, but rather that it has changed, that it is being constructed. And in this historical process the presence of the ‘others’, and among them, of the immigrants, has had and will continue to have a crucial role.”

  6. 6.

    Apart from historical and archival work we have cited on the history of ethnic Chinese in Chile, there has been more calls to investigate the archaeological remains of such “coolies.” For example, according to Juan Brüggen (1939), the Pabellón de Pica guanera was one of the most important guano mines of Northern Chile. In his account, before the Iquique earthquake (he probably refers to the May 1877 earthquake) there were more than 4000 workers, mostly ethnic Chinese (1939, p. 22). He also mentions other guaneras in Northern Chile, probably also with Chinese workers: Huachín, Lautaro, Pta. Arenas and Paquica (1939, p. 43). On youtube, there are videos available on the Paquica and Pica mining sites (see, and See also Galaz-Mandakovic (2021).

  7. 7.

    The Chilean historian Rafael Sagredo similarly argues that “the appreciation of plurality and the acceptance of difference is, perhaps, the primary transformation experienced by the country in the transition from the twentieth to the twenty-first century” (Sagredo, 2014, p. 282). This is nonetheless a “slow and structural change that at times is difficult to observe, but one that is overwhelming and that manifests itself in multiple forms” (Sagredo, 2014, p. 282). We agree with him that such a transformation is perhaps inevitable, already in motion, which “necessitates a new way to write [and create] a history of Chile, one in which its subjects are from more diverse conditions and situations,” where “the masses, the consumer, the citizen, the sexual or racial minority, the so-called civil society, are also protagonists, as is the case in the reality that we live in” (Sagredo, 2014, p. 282).


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Correspondence to Maria Montt Strabucchi .

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Montt Strabucchi, M., Chan, C., Ríos, M.E. (2022). 7. Conclusion. In: Chineseness in Chile. Studies of the Americas. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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