James Farrer and Andrew D. Field
A Nocturnal Biography of a Global City
University of Chicago Press 2015
New Books Network December 30, 2015 Carla Nappi
James Farrer and Andrew D. Field bring their respective areas of sociological and historical expertise to a new study of cosmopolitan nightlife in modern Shanghai. The fruit of two decades of collaborative work, the co-authored Shanghai Nightscapes: A Nocturnal Biography of a Global City (University of Chicago Press, 2015) explores continuity and change over a century of singing, dancing, drinking, playing, and otherwise cavorting in Shanghai’s twentieth century and beyond. The book focuses on the ways that urban nightlife transformed alongside major historical, political, and social changes from the 1920s through the 1990s, but also traces its major threads through later developments in the twenty-first century. Its pages take readers into the cabarets and dance halls of Jazz Age Shanghai in the 1930s and 1930s, secret at-home dance parties, dancing and drinking clubs where revelers first experienced Hong Kong-style DJs or new forms of social drinking, jazz clubs, and nightlife transzones that were crucibles of social change. It’s a fascinating study of modern China, and its urban cultures.