In an age of liberal multiculturalism, globalization, and neoliberalism, the role of the ethnic immigrant enclave has shifted from previous iterations as restricted ghetto or landing pad for socially marginalized groups. Shelley Sang-Hee Lee’s Koreatown, Los Angeles explores the creation and growth of a relatively recently established ethnic enclave, one that exists as both a geographic location and a symbolic place within a racially and ethnically diverse urban landscape. Using the histories of Korean immigration to the United States, post–World War II social and demographic changes, and L.A.’s makeover and ascent to major “global city,” Lee examines the specific story of L.A.’s Koreatown and poses questions about how ethnic spaces are developed, for whom, and at what cost.

Lee’s work shifts back and forth between macro-level structural and systemic forces and inequalities and the day-to-day lived experiences and local-level efforts of individuals who shaped Korean immigrant settlement and placemaking in...

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