Talk: A Day at the Races: Shanghai, 1941

Please join us for Professor James Carter’s discussion of photograph and its uses in studying modern Chinese history. Professor Carter will provide the keynote address of our postgraduate workshop, ‘Snapshots in Time: Photography and History in Modern China’, which is co-organised by the University of Bristol History Department and the Historical Photographs of China Project. A wine reception will follow the talk.

Cover of Shanghai by Ellen Thornbeck, illustrated by Friedrich Schiff (Shanghai, 1940)

Cover of Shanghai by Ellen Thorbeck, illustrated by Friedrich Schiff (Shanghai, 1940)

In the autumn of 1941, the Shanghai Race Club hosted what would be the last Champions’ Day before Japanese armies occupied the International Settlement. The scene was a study in contradiction: the Race Club limited membership to ‘whites only’, yet welcomed Chinese owners who had been displaced by the war; the race track was a potent symbol of European power, yet most of those in attendance were Chinese; the races were at the peak of their popularity just as the curtain was about to ring down. Using photographs of that day enables historians to piece together an understanding of the unique society that always existed on the edges of empires, never more precariously than during the Lonely Island period of 1937-1941.

James Carter is a professor of history at Saint Joseph’s University, where he works on the interactions between China and the West during the modern period. His research moves away from state-to- state relations to focus on the everyday actions of individuals. His most recent monograph, Heart of Buddha, Heart of China, investigates the life Tanxu, a Buddhist monk, to explore some of the most turbulent periods of twentieth-century China. Professor Carter is currently working on a history of Shanghai on the eve of the Second World War as seen through the last Champion’s race (12 November 1941) at the Shanghai Race Club.

Time: Thursday, 23 June, 4PM – 5.30PM

Location: University of Bristol, 43 Woodland Rd, Reception Room

For more details contact the workshop organiser: Dr Sabrina Fairchild

This entry was posted in Talk and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.