[URBANTH-L]BOOK: Meng Yue, "Shanghai and the Edges of Empires"

Benito Vergara bvergara at sfsu.edu
Sat Jul 22 15:48:42 EDT 2006


Meng Yue

University of Minnesota Press | 336 pages | 2006

ISBN 0-8166-4412-8 | hardcover | $75.00

ISBN 0-8166-4413-6 | paperback | $25.00


A highly innovative investigation into Shanghai's rise from peripheral port
to urban center.


Even before the romanticized golden era of Shanghai in the 1930s, the famed
Asian city was remarkable for its uniqueness and East-meets-West
cosmopolitanism. Meng Yue analyzes a century-long shift of urbanity from
China's heartland to its shore. During the period between the decline of
Jiangnan cities such as Suzhou and Yangzhou and Shanghai's early
twentieth-century rise, the overlapping cultural edges of a failing Chinese
royal order and the encroachment of Western imperialists converged.
Simultaneously appropriating and resisting imposing forces, Shanghai opened
itself to unruly, subversive practices, becoming a crucible of creativity
and modernism.


Calling into question conventional ways of conceptualizing modernity,
colonialism, and intercultural relations, Meng Yue examines such cultural
practices as the work of the commercial press, street theater, and literary
arts, and shows that what appear to be minor cultural changes often signal
the presence of larger political and economic developments. Engaging
theories of modernity and postcolonial and global cultural studies, Meng Yue
reveals the paradoxical interdependence between imperial and imperialist
histories and the retranslation of culture that characterized the most
notable result of China's urban relocation-the emergence of the
international city of Shanghai.


Meng Yue is assistant professor of East Asian languages and literature at
the University of California, Irvine.


"Never before has the Jianan area, with Shanghai as its emergent center,
been shown in such multifaceted splendor. A weighty tome and a magnificent
achievement in Chinese and comparative cultural history." -Leo Ou-fan Lee


For more information, visit the book's webpage:



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