New Geographies of China and Latin America: Introduction to the Special Issue

Abstract / Resumen / Resumo

This special issue of the Journal of Latin American Geographypresents a collection of articles that broaden and deepen the scope of geographic literature on China and Latin America in light of contemporary change in China and the Americas. Latin America is not simply a neutral site that is ‘impacted’ by China, nor China by Latin America; rather, the articles in this collection query the forms of agency exercised by multiple actors constituting China-LAC/LAC-China relations in diverse locations and sectors. In the present global political conjuncture where social and environmental justice, international cooperation, government transparency, corporate accountability norms, and human rights are under siege, it is especially important for scholars to advance understandings of the dynamic and multi-scalar processes that shape the future of Latin America in broader regional and global perspectives, including in relation to China. Toward that end, the articles in this collection explore specific dimensions of the geographies of China-LAC relations, delving into themes as diverse as migration and ethnic politics, local and transnational food justice movements, infrastructure construction, the seafood trade, defense partnerships and outer space cooperation. These investigations employ an array of methodological approaches to advance grounded empirical work on actually occurring spatial practices. In this introduction to the special issue, we briefly review some major trends in the literature on the geography of LAC–China research, discuss contemporary developments, and put forth questions for further inquiry.