By Samuel Y. Liang
This e-book argues that modernity first arrived in overdue nineteenth-century Shanghai through a brand new spatial configuration. This city’s colonial capitalist improvement ruptured the normal configuration of self-contained families, cities, and usual landscapes in a continual unfold, generating a brand new set of fragmented in addition to fluid areas. during this method, chinese language sojourners actively appropriated new suggestions and expertise instead of passively responding to Western impacts. Liang maps the spatial and fabric lifestyles of those temporary humans and reconstructs a cultural geography that spreads from the inner to the neighbourhood and public areas. during this publication the writer: discusses the courtesan condominium as a? surrogate domestic and analyzes its enterprise, gender, and fabric configurations; examines a brand new kind of residential neighbourhood and exhibits how its cutting edge spatial preparations reworked the conventional social order and hierarchy; surveys quite a number public areas and highlights the mythic perceptions of business marvels, the variations of colonial spatial kinds, the emergence of an city public, and the spatial fluidity among elites and lots more and plenty. via studying contemporaneous literary and visible assets, the publication charts a hybrid sleek improvement that stands unlike the positivist belief of contemporary development. As such will probably be a provocative learn for students of chinese language cultural and architectural heritage.
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Additional info for Mapping Modernity in Shanghai: Space, Gender, and Visual Culture in the Sojourners' City, 1853-98 (Asia's Transformations)
A typical elite household was always a self-contained space, literally enclosed by high windowless walls; a complex of doorways, courtyards, halls, rooms, and gardens constituted a communal space of the extended family, a “hall shared by five generations” (wudai tongtang). Here the liturgical rituals of birth, maturation, marriage, and death were performed, rivaling the ceremonies of any “public” worship. These rituals were sacred. Originally only the imperial or aristocratic family was entitled to practice them to demonstrate its political strength and noble standing.
It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere” (Marx and Engels 1976: 487). But Marx is too concerned with the temporal narrative to give due attention to this complex spatial strategy of capitalism. Instead, he oversimplifies the spatial dimension of capitalism in order to fit it into his totalizing historicism. His center–periphery model of capital accumulation suggests that capital first centered in one place (England or Europe) and diffused outwards to encompass the rest of the world (Harvey 2000: 32).
4 This organic layout of rural and urban areas would be disrupted by the artificial order of the modern metropolis; thus Shanghai soon became distinct from the rest of China. If modernity in China can indeed be understood as the disruption of the organic social and physical landscape and the fragmentation of the self-contained spaces, were these transformations solely a result of Western influence? The European capitalist expansion surely played a key role in creating semicolonial enclaves distinct from the hinterland and a new urban order whose legible layout reflected industrial and technological efficiency.