Alien Capital: Asian Racialization and the Logic of Settler Colonial Capitalism
Unnatural Landscapes: Romantic Anticapitalism and Alien Degeneracy
Chapter 2 builds on the first chapter’s focus on the abstract dimension of capitalist social relations—personified by Chinese labor—by turning its attention to the concrete dimension of capitalist social relations personified in artistic depictions of the settler landscape. Turning to the photographs of Tseng Kwong Chi and Jin-me Yoon, the chapter argues that their photographic citations of 1920s- and 1930s-era landscape art parody its investment in whiteness during a heightened period of Asian immigrant restriction. Disidentifying with the settler romanticization of the landscape, Tseng’s and Yoon’s photographs expose the politics of white masculinity projected onto representations of nature and in idealizations of Indigeneity. Further developing the theme of perversity associated with abstract labor in the first chapter, their photographs highlight how Asian bodies denote a degenerative, antinatural force associated with the abstract dimension of romantic anticapitalism’s antinomical social universe.