The transformation of Shanghai into a global city has wiped out whole neighbourhoods, and driven millions of Shanghainese away from the urban core. Over two decades, both the historic urban Shanghai and its newly built contrasting city centre have turned into a manifestation of the “China Dream” with a built environment closely resembling other global cities. The transformed city has also experienced influx of millions of internal migrants, and state language policies mandating the usage of the national language instead of the vernacular in all spheres of public life. Developmental policies of China’s economic reform era produced a new urban middle class which is more education-level and income based, than birthplace or political-affiliation based, as in the Maoist era. Situated at the intersection of phenomenological concepts of place and non-place, individuals’ place-bound identity, and tropes of language ideology, based on field research in 2013 and 2017, this research focuses on how these Chinese urbanites internalize and navigate the transformed urban geographical and sociolinguistic landscape and position themselves in it.
About the Speakers
Dr. Fang Xu is an urban sociologist with expertise in language, cultural identity, and public policies in urban China. Her other research interests are urban studies, consumption, nationalism, and migration. She holds the position of Continuing Lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Studies program at University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of the book, Silencing Shanghai: Language and Identity in Urban China, which was published in 2021.
About the Chair
Dr. Anand P. Krishnan is a Fellow at the Centre of Excellence for Himalayan Studies, Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence, Delhi National Capital Region, and a Visiting Associate Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi. His research interests are labour relations in China and India, labour and supply chains in the Global South, state-society relations, and labour's interface with urban questions in East and South Asia. He was a Visiting Faculty at the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru. In the past, he has also been a Non-Resident Fellow at the India China Institute, The New School, New York City (under their China-India Scholar Leaders Initiative), and a Visiting Fellow, at the Harvard-Yenching Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
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