The Rise of Nationalism in a Cosmopolitan Port City: The Foreign Communities of Shanghai during the First World War

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By the early 1900s, globalization and imperialism had created cosmopolitan cities such as the Chinese treaty port of Shanghai, where foreign minorities lived side by side. The outbreak of the First World War put enormous pressure on these multiethnic urban societies. By exploring how the war altered the cohabitation of Westerners in Shanghai, this article connects with current debates on the mechanisms of longdistance nationalism and cosmopolitanism as well as on the importation of conflict in diaspora communities. The many imperial diasporas of Shanghai mostly lived in the French- and British-controlled territories, where the balance of power was renegotiated during the war. Analyzing local community newspapers and diplomatic archives, this article explains why nationalism superseded the shared feeling of cosmopolitanism that prevailed before the war. The cosmopolitan tradition and political complexity clearly delayed the arrival of the war at Shanghai, but could not prevent the process. FIND FULLTEXT on UGent Repository:

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... Both utopic promises and dystopic failures seem to be entrapped in Shanghai's 'everyday cosmopolitanism' ingrained in the 1920s and 1930s (Vandamme 2018). The vintage family photos and the calendars are powerful images that connect us to the familial past, reproducing a doppelgänger resemblance to the uncanny memories of family members, as testimonies of time. ...
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Globalizations from Below uses a Constructivist International Relations approach that emphasizes the centrality of normative power to analyze and compare the four globalizations ‘from below.’ These are: (1) the counter-hegemonic globalization represented by the ‘movement of movements’ of alter-globalization transnational social activists, who try to put an end to the Neoliberal nature of the Western-centered globalization ‘from above’; (2) the non-hegemonic globalization enacted by ‘ant traders’ that are part of the transnational informal economy; (3) the partially similar Chinese-centered globalization, whose entrepreneurial migrants are strongly influenced and instrumentalized by the Chinese state; and (4) the first wave globalization ‘from below’ that paralleled (and outlived) the 1870–1914 globalization ‘from above.’ This book identifies their common features and uses them to define the concept of globalization ‘from below’ as a set of socio-economic or socio-political processes that involve large transnational flows of people, goods, and/or ideas characterized at least in part by informality. They are enacted by entrepreneurial or activistic individuals who either take advantage of the normative power of the hegemon at the origin of an international order and an associated globalization ‘from above,’ or – explicitly or implicitly – transgress, contest, and try to redefine dominant economic, legal, political, and socio-cultural norms, thus challenging the existing international order and globalization ‘from above.’ By constructing a unified theoretical framework, this book attempts to open a new field of interdisciplinary research that should take globalizations ‘from below’ out of their current scholarly marginality. This is one of the first scholarly works to collectively present more than one globalization ‘from below,’ and will be of great interest to students, scholars, and researchers of International Relations, International Political Economy, Development Studies, Economic History, Anthropology, Diaspora Studies, and Chinese Studies.
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This article critically surveys the current historiography of port cities, which have recently attracted a lot of interest, particularly from global historians of the 19th and early 20th century. The article contextualizes this body of scholarship within larger recent and older trends in the discipline. Recently, historians and other scholars have predominantly analyzed port cities as “nodal points” or “hubs” within global networks. The article argues that these perspectives project spatial patterns defined by the imaginary of globalization today into the past, failing to acknowledge how tightly interwoven globalization and urbanization were in port cities during the age of steam. However, port cities can provide concrete narrative focal points to develop empirically‐grounded global histories, and remind us of the various efforts to control, limit, or prevent unsolicited forms of mobility and entanglement in the sites where these were moored or fixed. Finally, port cities can render the labor of the urban masses visible that facilitated the making of steam age connectivity and a globality anchored in the urban space of the ports.
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