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Research Seminars



Christian Henriot
Aix-Marseille University Mapping the Space-Time of Commercial Entertainment in Shanghai (1907-1967)


10 Dec 2018

4:30 p.m.
4.34 Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus



Commercial entertainment (opera, cinema, dancing, etc.) constitutes a major facet of urban life. In the late imperial and republican eras, Shanghai played a central role in the rise of modern forms of entertainment and their diffusion to the whole country. The city was the cradle of Chinese cinema, spoken drama, symphonic music, etc. Entertainment facilities multiplied and relentlessly rejuvenated leisure through a bewildering range of entertainment genres. This presentation examines the evolution of entertainment in Shanghai through advertisements in four major newspapers over six decades. It is based on the constitution of a unique database that traces tens of thousands of shows and performances, day and night, throughout the city and its entertainment facilities. This approach supports the view of marching toward a new form of data-rich cultural history.


Christian Henriot is Professor of modern Chinese history at Aix-Marseille University, a former Junior (1994-1999) and Senior Research Fellow at the Institut Universitaire de France (2007-2012), and the recipient of a Humboldt Research Award (2013). He is the author and editor of many books on modern Chinese history, including Prostitution and Sexuality in Shanghai. A Social History, 1849-1949 (Cambridge UP, 2001), In the Shadow of the Rising Sun. Shanghai under Japanese Occupation (Cambridge UP, 2004) and Visualizing China (Brill, 2012), Scythe and the city. A social history of death in Shanghai (1865-1965) (Stanford UP, 2016) and The population of Shanghai (1865-1953). A source book (Brill, 2018). Henriot is also the creator of a digital research and resource platform on Shanghai history (


All are welcome. No registration is required.