IIPC Debate 23 September

IIPC Debate #85
Fri Sep 23, 12-2 pm, Janus Hall (Kaivokatu 12, Turku)
IIPC Visiting Professor Justin O’Connor (Monash University): Shanghai: Images of Modernity

Shanghai is where the word ’modern’ made landfall in China. It was the Paris of the East, with the gas and electricity, the sewers, roads and Boulevards a la Haussmann. It was the publishing capital, the film capital, the recorded music capital of China, as well as the pulsating heart of both western and Chinese capital in China. But what is this ‘modern’ represented by Shanghai? How does it sit in terms of the broader narratives and conflicts around the impact of the West on the Middle Kingdom from the Opium Wars onward? I ask this question from the perspective of post-1978, when China yet again embarked on a process of catch-up with the West, facing similar questions of how an indigenous history and culture could accommodate the forces emanating from the West and at what price. Shanghai’s role as ‘most western city’ has been deployed as a key part of the Chinese government’s response to this question. In this paper I try to understand that response in the light of Shanghai’s complex, multilayered accumulation of images of modernity.

Justin O’Connor is Professor of Communications and Cultural Economy at Monash University. He is also visiting Professor in the School of Media and Design, Shanghai Jiaotong University, where he jointly runs a Global Cultural Economy research hub. He heads the new MFJ research unit Culture Media Economy , is program leader for the Master of Cultural Economy, and a member of the Asian Cultural and Media Studies Research Cluster.

He is part of the UNESCO ‘Expert Facility’, supporting the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity, a board member of Renew Australia and convenes the Global Cultural Economy Network.

Until 2012 he was Professor in the Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia and visiting Chair, Department of Humanities, Shanghai Jiaotong University. From 2006-8 he was Professor of Cultural Industries at the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, University of Leeds, and between 1995 and 2006 he was Director of Manchester Institute for Popular Culture at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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