On the Nature of Cultural Exchange

I actually got to write an email today that went like this:

Have you ever heard of the term transnationalism? Its the idea that when
people migrate between countries, they don’t simply go in one
direction. Rather, people, products, money, ideas, and culture are
constantly moving back and forth across borders. Anime is a very
simple example of this. The US, in the early twentieth century, was a
world innovator in animation. Mickey mouse was hot stuff. Those
animated movies were distributed widely around the world, including in
Japan. Japan was so entranced with the idea that they started making
animated films, anime. When Japan rose as an economic power, they
exported not just physical goods, but also anime, which took ahold in
the us, and influenced cartoons here. We can even see a new cycle
starting as Japanese tv channels start making shows about American
superheroes like iron man. And thats transnationalism.

The example isn’t great, but I wanted something that clearly illustrated the idea that people, money, and ideas exist with ties to multiple places. Another good example is transnational communities. A country like China or the Philippines might have communities where it’s common for part of the family to be overseas in the US and part of the family to remain in the country. Those families have very strong ties, then, to multiple countries and move between them with varying degrees of ease.


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