Thriving on its long-term collective memory of possessing futurity, the mega city of Shanghai on the Eastern seaboard of China is once more jockeying for the position as Asia’s foremost modern place. An essential part of the regeneration of contemporary Shanghai has been the return, not only of foreign direct investment, but of Westerners to the city since the 1990s. Contributing to current debates about the globality and mediatization of memories, this book critically interrogates Shanghai’s spectacular resurrection into an emergent world center from the vantage point of how Western elites (tourists, expatriates and travel bloggers) partake in the production of New Shanghai. Through performances of memory, Westerners consume the regenerative nostalgia of the city by projecting futures past onto Shanghai. These mediatized memory practices become essential for the city and exemplify how the authoritarian party-state and the municipal government are currently theming the city by situating memories of globalization past and visions for globalization future in a coherent narrative and sensory-emotive realm of experience.
This book demonstrates the particular and complex ways in which Shanghai’s memory compulsion, as experienced by as well as catered to Westerners, feeds into both its hyper-modernization and into apocalyptic hauntings of the same.