Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Delhi Branch Office



Lecture: 'Spaces of Exclusion, Inclusion, and Encounter in Old and New Shanghai' by Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, Tuesday October 19, 7pm
Siddharta Hall, Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

In his talk on colonial cities, Prof. Wasserstrom will discuss Shanhai’s globalization from the viewpoint of entertainment and leisure venues, thereby exploring the various meanings of global encounters which these spaces have encouraged, barred or regulated over the course of the city’s rich history.
The presentation will explore the bracketing off of different sorts of spaces in three periods of Shanghai's history: the treaty-port era (1840s-1940s), the "Post-Mao but Pre-McDonald's" interregnum (my term for the 1980s), and the first two decades of what I refer to as the city's era of "reglobalization" (1990-2010). More specifically, I'm curious about the degree to which Chinese and non-Chinese residents of and visitors to the city were kept apart and able to interact in different locales during those three periods, and will focus on places such as parks, cafes, hotels, restaurants, department stores, universities, and entertainment venues. Over the course of the treaty-port era, segregation rooted in nationality seemed to give way to forms of segregation having more to do with class (the great example being the Public Garden going from having entry rules that referred to nationality to ones that simply referred to the need to pay a fee to get in), and something similar happened between the 1980s (when there were banquet rooms and the like reserved for "foreign guests") and the present (when how much you can afford to pay for a drink is a more significant variable in determining your uses of some bars, for example, than where you were born). There are surely interesting comparative questions that this will raise in an Indian context (e.g., how does Shanghai's quasi-colonial past as a divided city make its experience similar to or different than that of urban centers in formerly colonized parts of South Asia), but I won't take an explicitly comparative approach--except in the sense of comparing eras.


About the speaker:

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. A specialist in contemporary China, he is editor of the Journal of Asian Studies and author of four books, the most recent of which is China in the 21st Century: What everyone needs to know (Oxford, 2010).

Posted on 11 Oct 2010
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