RAS Salon

Oral Histories of Treaty Port Shanghai

Speaker: Lena Scheen

Lena Scheen collected oral histories of one of Shanghai’s traditional alleyway neighborhoods. Mixing personal experiences, historical facts and urban legends, the residents tell stories of a cosmopolitan neighborhood shaped by its colonial past. In their stories, each building forms the connection point between their own life story and the history of the city and the nation. In the words of one of its residents: “All the houses in our neighborhood serve as evidence that recorded the development of Shanghai … together they tell the story of how Shanghai has become the Shanghai of today.”

Lena Scheen is Assistant Professor of Global China Studies at NYU Shanghai. Her research explores the social and cultural impact of China’s fast urbanisation, focusing on Shanghai and storytelling. Her publications include the monograph Shanghai Literary Imaginings: A City in Transformation (AUP, 2015) and the co-edited volumes Spectacle and the City: Chinese Urbanities in Popular Art and Culture (with Jeroen de Kloet, 2013) and Boredom, Shanzhai, and Digitization in the Time of Creative China (with Chow Yiu Fai and Jeroen de Kloet, 2019).

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