China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

4 - Cityscape in Change: Early Shanghai Urbanization and Mapmaking, 1850s-1920s

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Kadamba, Lower Ground Floor

This paper explores the interrelation between a transforming city and its cartographic representations in the late Qing and early Republican transition. After opening as a treaty port in 1843, Shanghai became a territory consisted of three demarcated sections. From the 1870s onward, with the rapid economic and geographical expansion, the foreign Settlements came to dominate the name of “Shanghai” in the literary and visual depictions. Instead of falling into complete obscurity; however, the Chinese city played an important role in Shanghai’s urban development until the late 1920s. From the perspectives of administration and institution, the Chinese city had been actively engaged in architectural and urban renovation during the last Imperial decades. This paper examines the early urban transformation of Shanghai during the late nineteenth-and-early twentieth centuries, and in this process how the Chinese city had been marginalized to the “Other” in contemporary and scholarly discourse. Taking the city maps as an example, I will elucidate how the transformation had been perceived and projected onto maps and mapmaking. The mapmaking, which involved with the Ming and Qing Chinese cartographic tradition, the influence of European and Japanese cartography, and the prosperity of modern publication, had become a space where different political and cultural visions of Shanghai were contested.

Xi Zhang

University of Chicago, United States

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