Undergraduate and graduate programmes offered by the University iuav of Venice:

Laura De Giorgi



Laura De Giorgi (Ph.D) is Associate Professor in History of Modern and Contemporary China at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Her researches focus on communication and propaganda in modern and contemporary China and the history of Sino-Italian relations in the Twentieth-Century. Among her most recent publications: Lontane, vicine. Cina e Italia nel Novecento, Roma, 2011 (with Guido Samarani), La Via dell'Oppio. Europa e Cina nel periodo dei trattati ineguali, Genova, Il Portolano, 2013; “Rethinking the distance, reframing the exotic: Italian tales of Shanghai through the Republican and early Maoist eras”, in Italy's Encounters with Modern China. Imperial Dreams, Strategic Ambitions, edited by Maurizio Marinelli and Giovanni Andornino, New York, Palgrave McMillan, 2014, pp. 67-88.





From aliens to neighbours: foreigners in Shanghai society

From a historical perspective and a contemporary one as well, the distinctive feature of Shanghai’s image as “the” international metropolis of China is foreign presence. If after in 1949-1950 the foreign presence in the city was strictly limited for almost forty years as a consequence of the Chinese Communist Party’s economic strategy and political and ideological attitude towards the world, from 1978 the “open door” policy has reversed the case. In the last thirty years Shanghai has seen an increasing flow of foreigners coming from Asia, the West and all the world to work and live in the city. Currently, “expatriates” living in Shanghai are more or less just 1% of the overall population of the Shanghai area. At any rate, Shanghai hosts the greatest foreign community among Chinese urban centers, with the exception of Hong Kong. If the most numerous communities are Asian (Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean), Western presence is also quite significant. Foreigners in Shanghai have stimulated the attention of some Western researchers interested in exploring their experience of the metropolis, also in relation to its colonial past and memory. But their lifestyle and their relations with local society are also a topic of an increasing attention of Shanghai local media, as actors of the making of Shanghai’s self-portrait as a global metropolis. Moreover, local authorities have been engaged in managing this increasing foreign presence in the city and the complex relationship between expats and local community in the framework of an unresolved tension between segregation and integration. Drawing from academic and media sources, this paper offers a short investigation of foreignerscontradictory place in Shanghai society, considered as a mirror of the many challenges that a new social and cultural pluralism is placing to urban government in China.





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