By Meng Yue
Even earlier than the romanticized golden period of Shanghai within the Nineteen Thirties, the famed Asian urban was once outstanding for its strong point and East-meets-West cosmopolitanism. Meng Yue analyzes a century-long shift of urbanity from China’s heartland to its shore. through the interval among the decline of Jiangnan towns resembling Suzhou and Yangzhou and Shanghai’s early twentieth-century upward push, the overlapping cultural edges of a failing chinese language royal order and the encroachment of Western imperialists converged. at the same time appropriating and resisting enforcing forces, Shanghai opened itself to unruly, subversive practices, turning into a crucible of creativity and modernism. Calling into query traditional methods of conceptualizing modernity, colonialism, and intercultural family, Meng Yue examines such cultural practices because the paintings of the industrial press, road theater, and literary arts, and indicates that what seem to be minor cultural adjustments frequently sign the presence of bigger political and financial advancements. enticing theories of modernity and postcolonial and worldwide cultural reports, Meng Yue unearths the paradoxical interdependence among imperial and imperialist histories and the retranslation of tradition that characterised the main extraordinary results of China’s city relocation—the emergence of the overseas urban of Shanghai. Meng Yue is assistant professor of East Asian languages and literature on the collage of California, Irvine.
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Extra resources for Shanghai and the Edges of Empires
8 Expertise and specialized knowledge were no longer solely linked to social status, the professions, and speciﬁc localities;9 rather, they had come to form an independent, hybrid, and international ﬁeld of culture exceeding the limits of regional borders, schools of thought, the hierarchy of status, gender distinctions, nationalities, and languages. 10 The self-taught Jiangnan technological masters solicited by the Jiangnan Arsenal were clearly successors in spirit to the eighteenth-century cultural archetype of the chouren, even though their family genealogies could not be traced back to the Zhou dynasty.
As one of the few cities in the southern half of China that was not involved in a prolonged civil war after 1860, Shanghai became the primary refuge for those who had built the previous cultural centers and for their knowledge of mathematics and astronomy, for the philological “investigation of things” intertwined with translated scientiﬁc and technological methods, for classical and popular book cultures and publishing enterprises, for prestigious scholarship, and for countless literary and vernacular writings.
My take on retranslation, therefore, prioritizes the situational social cultural relationships built among the original translator (or the colonizer), the original receiver/listener (the colonized), the retranslator (the critic of colonialism), and the possible new audience/participants (others colonized and critics). I argue that the cultural exchange across the border of histories took place through these relationships. Whereas for Jameson and Chakrabarty a noncapitalist or subaltern history is to be uncovered via retrospective interpretation, such retranslation formed a fair amount of the cultural practices that brought about Shanghai.