Here is my abstract for a talk at Limmud on April 4
Stories of Shanghai’s contemporary rise are usually accompanied by images of the illuminated skyscrapers of Pudong. Under the spell of this spectacular vision, Shanghai’s hypermodern ethos appears to reanimate the raze and replace mentality of a previous age. The ‘clean slate’ modernism of Pudong – with its echoes of the International Style – belong to a lineage of Chinese Modernity that was forged in the May Fourth Movement. In this epoch, the modern was defined against the ‘shackles of tradition,’ which were tied to an ‘older’ conception of cyclical time. This talk, which comes out of a chapter of my forthcoming book Shanghai Future: Modernity Remade delineates a notion of Shanghai futurism that is rooted, not on the clear light of progress, but rather on a darker, more occulted idea of time that was, and is, haunting the city’s modernity.