Theory Making 2 #The Affects in Flushing

Cultural assimilation has long been the main theme for America. The culture of America could be considered a mixture culture as Columbus and his groups brought European traditions to interact with the native Americans since the beginning. While for the recent days, this tradition seem to be expanded and altered as the culture assimilation is gradually transferred to multiculturalism. According to John Miller in his book The Unmaking of American: how multiculturalism has undermined the assimilation ethic, “Today, we face a significant threat to Americas tradition of assimilation. The United States today in general is hesitate to Americanization of their immigrants and afraid to take the risk in overriding others culture.” Instead of insisting in holding one culture and speaking English, America increasingly start to welcome the existence of other cultures and other languages. New York city, besides famous for its Empire Building and the State of Liberty, is a huge melting pot famous for its diversity and multiculturalism. With the increasing development of economy and the expansion of immigration programs, New York attracts people from all over the world to come and share its countless opportunities and enjoy its energetic environment. The city affects the lifestyles, emotions and the identities of the immigrants. While at the same time, those immigrants interacted with New York city and gradually built up certain unique districts and communities that affect the city.


The emerging population and distinctive status of immigrants in Flushing in New York can be attributed to this “energetic” dimension of affect. As Teresa Brenna wrote in The Transmission of Affect, “affects have an energetic dimension. Transmission of affect means, that we are not self-contained in terms of our energies. There is no secure distinction between the “individual” and the “environment”. Our emotions, behaviors and consciousness are constantly affected by the environment while we are constantly change the environment and unconsciously affect the others. Immigrants are gradually affect by the English environment and the energetic vibe of New York. In Flushing, immigrants, mainly from China, automatically get used to read and apply daily communication in English. They walk fast and talk loudly, just like others in New York. On the other side, the presence of those immigrants also affect the whole atmosphere of New York in Flushing district.It is is more likely to be called a “Chinese district” in New York instead of a “Chinese American” district. The affect of Flushing, as described by Brenna, is “a vehicle connecting individuals to one another and the environment, and for that matter connecting the mind or cognition to bodily processes”. Immigrants start to form their distinctive Chinese American communities in Flushing that is different from everywhere else. Instead of identifying themselves as Chinese American, they are more likely to present themselves as Chinese living in America. They bond with each other for their common cherish memory for China. Immigrants affect and construct the whole atmosphere of Flushing in New York.


As clarified by Brain Massumi in the Autonomy of Affect, the effectiveness of affect is evaluated by its “intensity” and “quality”, especially the “matter of factness” for intensity and “emotion” for quality. Flushing obviously make effort in maximize its affect through these two aspects. Walking down the streets in Flushing, I was overwhelmed by the Chinese characters, Chinese restaurants and the lasting festival vibe of the Chinese Spring festival with those red lanterns hang on the walls. The real Chinese environment and culture seem to perfectly copy and  move to the Flushing district. Sometimes I feel hard to believe I am still in New York as Chinese and Chinese environment are all around. Many street scenes also invoke me the memory of home in my child age that children is attracted by cheap Chinese barbecues on the street while their parents just dragged their children away from those barbecues because they think they are unhealthy. The smoke and smell of those barbecues expand and flow in the air just as the lasting emotions and memories the immigrants hold and cherished for China in Flushing. It is an immigrants’ version of China. It is home in another continent. 



~ by kaiqicai on February 20, 2017.

5 Responses to “Theory Making 2 #The Affects in Flushing”

  1. Best in Show! Your analysis of both texts are on point, and the interaction between your text and your images is quite affective (slow clap). I felt drawn to this piece and I want to read more.

  2. Best in Show. The aesthetics and articulation both work perfectly in sync in your blog. You use pictures and readings to explain the affect and that is best.

  3. I’m awarding this with best for engagement and style. I loved the aesthetic of your blog post, your use of photoshop went really well with your description of the lively culture that exists in Flushing.

  4. 2.Thinking

    I think you used the readings really well, and that is seen especially through your use of pictures

  5. Thinking: Your post is structured really well! Logic is clear; easy to read overall; integrated the dense concepts into the Flushing cultural assimilation nicely.

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