A weekend getaway in Niseko, and catching up with Dartmouth alumni Cliff Bernstein and others in the Asia Pacific regionRead More
Some memories and reflections on my years of swimming competitively in high school in the 1980s and on the best coach I’ve ever had, Jeff Johnson (1945-2019)Read More
In a previous entry on this website, I posted some maps of Shanghai’s leisure and entertainment quarters that I made while researching my doctoral dissertation on Shanghai’s Jazz Age dance industry in the 1920s-1940s. As usual, I posted the entry on Facebook, and I gave a shoutout to Christian Henriot, letting him know that he had been a big influence on my research in those days. He responded to let me know that he is now working on a HUGE mapping project, mapping out Shanghai’s entertainment world over a century of its development. This project came out of another project, which our colleague at East China Normal University, Professor Jiang Jin, was working on with a group of her students. Dr. Henriot describes how this project came about and what its implications might be in a talk he gave at Stanford University in 2018. A video of the talk is posted on his website ankeqiang.org.
In a nutshell, Dr. Jiang’s students transcribed advertisements of entertainment and performances published in four newspapers between the late 19th century and mid-20th century, including the Shenbao, China’s foremost newspaper in that era. Dr. Henriot has taken this info and with the aid of students he created a database and a set of maps to map out the entertainment world of Shanghai over a century of its development. It’s a fascinating project with great potential to enhance our understanding of the cultural and social history of our fair city.
Dr. Henriot also developed another website called virtualshanghai.net, which is a repository of thousands of digital images and maps of Shanghai as well as other information on the city’s history. He has also published numerous academic papers and books on the city’s history, with subjects ranging from the history of prostitution to governance, wartime refugees, and deaths in Shanghai. I know of no other historian of Shanghai writing in the English (and French) language, who is so prolific and who uses such a wealth of data culled in newspapers and archives to research and interpret the history of Shanghai.
I was so impressed by Dr. Henriot’s latest project that I shared the video of his talk yesterday in my class on Shanghai history. I hope we can get the chance to invite Dr. Henriot to come to Duke Kunshan University to deliver this talk in person next time he is in Shanghai!
In the days of early jazz (1920s-1930s), Shanghai was a popular theme for jazz orchestras in the United States. Here are some examples.Read More
New Year’s holiday greetings and a night visit to the Old Town, the Bund, and Nanjing RoadRead More
Some reflections on the challenge of changing from a quantity-obsessed nation to one more focused on quality—quality of products, quality of life, quality of education etc.—while also having to deal with increased inequality in Chinese society. Partly inspired by our new book Polarized Cities.Read More
Ten most popular blogs on shanghai sojourns by popular voteRead More
I just completed Thoreau’s bio on the last day of 2018. One of the many revelations I gained from reading this wonderful biography Henry David Thoreau: A Life by Laura Dassow Walls (2017) is what an amazing scientist he was and how keen were his powers of observation and analysis of the natural world. I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise—after all, this is the man who famously spent a year or more living in a cabin in the woods on the edge of Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. And yet I’d been used to thinking of him more as a political philosopher and “transcendendalist” than a scientist.Read More
I promised myself that by year’s end I'd finish the massive bio of Brahms by Jan Swafford (Johannes Brahms, a Biography, Vintage Books, 1997), which I've been reading all year with great enjoyment. It's been slow going, since it’s such a huge compendium of knowledge and information about the life and times of Johannes Brahms and his many friends, colleagues, and relations over a long lifetime of music-making. Also, every time Swafford goes into an analysis of the music Brahms was composing during different periods of his life, which is often, I find myself stopping to listen to the works he's describing.Read More
An account of a recent trip to Luang Prabang in Laos where I attended a conference on service learning, mixed cement in a remote mountain village, and toured the temples of this UNESCO World Heritage site.Read More
Some tips for urban travelers who want to get the most of the city they are visiting, from a Shanghai flaneur in Barcelona (kinda like an Englishman in New York)Read More
A recounting of a week long trip to Barcelona for the first time, told by a Shanghai flaneur in the second person.Read More
As the director of our new study abroad office at Duke Kunshan University, it was my honor and privilege to participate in the CIEE annual conference held this year from November 7-10 in Barcelona. It was also a great pleasure to visit this wonderful city for the first time (which I will write up in another entry to follow). The focus of the CIEE conference was on “educating global citizens in the digital age” and the conference included many insightful presentations and panels on a wide range of topics relating to the central theme.Read More
Some musings on where Asia begins and ends, where is the center and what are the peripheries, and where does Southeast Asia fit in? With some reflections on my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur and SingaporeRead More
Recounting the Duke Kunshan Cultural Crossroads Festival of August 2018Read More
Occasionally a friend posts something online that is too good not to include in my blog roll. In this case, it's my former colleague in the UNSW School of History, Dr. Geoff Nathan, who posted a long piece on Facebook today listing his top 50 sci-fi films.Read More
A review of the Radiohead and Thomas Dolby concert events in the Boston area in August 2018, along with some notes on the progress of my jazz and blues doc.Read More
Some notes on the man who taught us to love 80s synth musicRead More
Notes from a conference trip to Tokyo and catching up with old friends in Nishiogi and KamakuraRead More
A supreme indulgence: my childhood through the soundtrack of The BeatlesRead More