Calendar of Events

Spring 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010
Jeffrey Wasserstrom (History, UC-Irvine)
"Shanghai and the History of the Future," a lecture
3:30 pm Curtin Hall 118
Co-sponsored by UWM Department of History

Professor Wasserstrom's talk will look at how, in the course of the last two centuries, Shanghai has gone from being seen as a city that belongs to a country stuck in the past, to being seen as a place with modern and traditional sections, to being seen as a place that is futuristic. Themes will include the role that clocks played in symbolizing the modernity of the city's foreign-run districts during the treaty-port era (1843-1943), the way that slow or fast modes of transportation have represented backwardness and progress within the metropolis, and the different kinds of relationships Shanghai has had to science fiction, that most futuristic of genres, over the years, from the time of Jules Verne to the current era of cyberpunk. The meaning of the 2010 World Expo that opens in Shanghai on May 1, when countdown clocks around the city strike zero, will also be discussed.

Recommended background reading for the lecture:

Foreign Policy, A.T. Kearney, and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, "The 2008 Global Cities Index," Foreign Policy (November/December 2008).

Jeff Wasserstrom, "Red Shanghai, Blue Shanghai," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 50-2-08, December 8, 2008.

Linda Long-Van Brocklyn, March 2009 eHistory review of Max Page, The City's End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears, and Premonitions of New York's Destruction (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).

The Center is hosting an informal, "brown bag" lunch with Jeffrey Wasserstrom on Friday, February 26 at noon in Curtin 939. As a starting point for the lunch-hour discussion, we will look at a short piece, “Ideas without Borders,” that Wasserstrom wrote on the challenges of doing “big think” intellectual history in the era of the global turn. Reservations to the lunch are not required.

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