Andrew Field, "Shanghai's Dancing World: Cabaret Culture and Urban Politics, 1919-1954" (The Chinese University Press, 2010)


"To think of Shanghai is to think of its nightlife: the two are synonymous." From here, Andrew Field takes us on a dance across modern Chinese history, through its nightscapes and ballrooms, into the sprawls of its settlements and the pages of its pictorials. Based on a wide range of sources from architectural blueprints to oral interviews, Field's book succeeds in both showing us new sides of characters we thought we knew, and in introducing a new cast of historical actors who helped shape the rise of urban modernity in Shanghai. Picking up Shanghai's Dancing World: Cabaret Culture and Urban Politics, 1919-1954 (The Chinese University Press, 2010), readers join Field to listen to the jazz of expatriate Whitey Smith at the wedding of Chiang Kai-shek and Song Mei-ling, to learn dance hall etiquette along with "dance empresses" anointed in annual competitions, and to follow the gangsters, activists, politicians, and entrepreneurs through the Dancer's Uprising of 1948 and beyond.

Your Host

Carla Nappi

View Profile