“Enclave” when used in the context of Asian American studies is shorthand for “ethnic enclave.” The enclave as such is, broadly, a geographically distinct cluster point for a racial or ethnic group. The enclave’s political and economic structures become associated with ethnicity. In some cases, they can be accurately characterized as indigenous to, or at least historically embedded within, an ethnic group. In other cases, political and economic practices that look ethnicity based are adaptations with no inherent relationship to race and culture.

Vis-à-vis Asian America, places that are categorized as “enclaves” are known as Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Little Saigon, Manilatown, Little India, and so forth. Each of these enclaves has a distinct history as well as varying, ever-changing systems of social, cultural, political, and economic organization. Even within a monoethnic rubric, enclaves are heterogeneous. For instance, “Chinatown” is an umbrella term for many different spaces, the most iconic …

This essay may be found on page 71 of the printed volume.

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