Excavating China's Collective Unconscious: Some Good Contemporary Chinese Art Shows at Shanghai's Moganshan Art District

JJ's show opened on Sept 6 and I was there to witness his performance piece called "water".  This involved the projection of several historical photos of famous Chinese political figures, including of course Chairman Mao, on a blank wall while JJ used water and a large brush to paint images on the wall.  These images faded along with the projections and were then written over or juxtaposed with each other to form a watery impression of recent Chinese history.  He used water as a motif throughout the performance, painting waves and also projecting images of waves on the wall along with the historic figures.  

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Old Shanghai Revisited: Touring the Bund and the Shanghai History Museum with my NYU Shanghai History Class

Last Friday I took my Modern Chinese History students on their first field trip in Shanghai.  Originally I meant to start at the Astor House Hotel just north of the Garden Bridge.  Yet when we reached the Bund, I made a sudden change in plans and took them to the new Waldorf Astoria instead.  We ended up going on an unplanned tour of the Waldorf Astoria, Shanghai's newest elite hotel.  Guided by a young 20-year old Chinese hotel clerk, we toured the hotel, taking in the ballroom, library, several fancy restaurants, and the famous Long Bar.  Sometimes the best part of these field trips is what happens outside your plans.

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Strolling Through China's Revolutionary History: A Walk in Shanghai's French Concession

The other day I had the pleasure to lead a tour of the Heart of the French Concession for a group of around 40 people who comprised the German-Chinese Graduate School of Global Politics in Shanghai.  I was expecting a group of Germans and was surprised when the great majority of students in the group were PRC Chinese.  I had not given a tour of the Concession to a Chinese audience before.  Would they be as interested in the history of this quarter? 

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Resurrecting the Ghosts of Old Shanghai: The Execution of Mayor Chen

As readers of this blog and my book know, I have dedicated a good part of my career to resurrecting the ghosts of Old Shanghai. I'm a grave digger of sorts, an archeologist of urban history, whose job is to recover and reconstruct stories and times that have passed into collective oblivion. One story that I have chosen to focus on in future research is the tale of 陳公博 Chen Gongbo. Anybody who knows Republican Era history well ought to be familiar with this ghost of Shanghai's past. Chen Gongbo started his political career as a founding member of the CCP and was at the First Congress honored by the museum located ironically in the heart of Xintiandi, the city's leading entertainment and nightlife complex. Who better to embrace this contradiction than Chen Gongbo himself? Patriot, playboy, poet, romantic, revolutionary, and ultimately arch traitor, Chen personally embodied the many contradictory and conflicting impulses of Republican Era China.
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Mao on Maoming Road: A Tour of the Chairman's Old Shanghai Haunts

Yesterday I brought two groups of NYU students out on separate field trips which converged at the famous Old Jianjiang Hotel. This hotel is famous for hosting high level parties and delegations of officials from China and abroad. Mao used to stay there during his visits to Shanghai. It is also the place where Nixon and Kissinger and their team met with Zhou Enlai and other top officials to sign the Shanghai Communique. The hotel is located on Maoming South Road. A few blocks north of the hotel is a historic house and museum dedicated to the memory of Chairman Mao.
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Shanghai has Sprung: Walking through Historic Parks, Remembering Lu Xun and Waltzing with Mao

I thought Saturday was a busy day, and it was (see my previous blog for details), but Tuesday was just as big.  Fortunately I was feeling much better, and the weather was fantastic.  Spring has finally come to Shanghai and it was time to get out and see the flowers blooming in the parks and gardens of this great city.  

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Shanghai's Dancing World favorably reviewed in the American Historical Review

I was very pleased to receive a message today from my publisher with a PDF file of a highly favorable and attentive review of Shanghai's Dancing World.  The review was published in the most recent issue of the American Historical Review.  Please click here to download the PDF file of the review.  The reviewer is Xiaoqun Xu of Christopher Newport University.  

有朋自遠方來 不亦樂乎: Receiving honored guests from Tokyo and Harvard, resurrecting the ghost of Zhang Ailing, and exploring rooftops on the Shanghai Bund

Confucius says, "Isn't it wonderful to receive old friends from afar?" The past few days have been filled with visits from old friends and colleagues from abroad.  First James Farrer, my colleague and dear friend, and my co-conspirator in the writing of our new book Shanghai Nightscapes, who teaches sociology at Sophia University, and his wife Gracia, who also teaches sociology at Waseda University, and their daughter Sage flew over here from Tokyo where they live and work.

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Dartmouth in Beijing Presents: Preserving the Hutongs of Beijing

 Last fall, at the end of the Dartmouth in Beijing FSP program, my students delivered several outstanding presentations on the history and contemporary society of Beijing.  I am putting these online so that others may benefit from them.  The file size is a problem, since these are all nearly one-hour presentations, so I've compressed this one in mp4 form, hence the fairly low quality.  If anybody has an idea for doing it better, let me know.  This presentation is about the Hutong neighborhoods of Beijing and what is and can be done to preserve them.

Frederic Wakeman, _Policing Shanghai_/ A Review

 Here's my next installment:  a review I wrote back in grad school (with slight revisions for this site) on what I consider to be one of the best studies of pre-Liberation Shanghai done by any scholar.  Fred Wakeman sadly passed away not long ago.  An homage, long overdue, to this outstanding historian and person is in the works.

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