Making Concessions in Tianjin: From Hyper-Colonial (1860-1945) to Globalising Cityscape

Dr Maurizio Marinelli (University of Bristol)

WUN Contemporary China Center Virtual Seminar

12.Mar.2009 16.00 - 17.00
LT16, Roger Stevens Building - Leeds


Between 1860 and 1945, the Chinese port city of Tianjin became the site of up to nine foreign-controlled concessions, functioning side by side. China historian Ruth Rogaski has argued that Tianjin's distinctiveness deserves the appellation 'hyper-colony', a term which reflects Tianjin's socio-political intricacies and the multiple colonial discourses of power and space. This seminar focuses on the historical representations of the former Italian concession in Tianjin, a site which is currently renegotiating its identity between reinvention of the past (1901-1945) and property-led regeneration. I will employ the concept of heterotopia to explore 'semi-colonial', 'hyper-colonial', and 'globalising' representations of Tianjin's built form.


Dr Maurizio Marinelli is Senior Lecturer in East Asian Studies at the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Bristol. He is principal investigator of the ESRC-funded research project called "Colonialism in comparative perspective: Tianjin under nine flags, 1860-1949". His focus of interest is the study of contemporary China's social, political, and intellectual history, in particular the broad investigation of how China's relations with the rest of the world have influenced historical narratives and shaped textual/visual representations within their respective intellectual discourses. He is the author of Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror: Colonial Italy Reflects on Tianjin (1901-1947), Special issue on Global Cities, Transtext(e)s-Transcultures (Journal of Global Cultural Studies, 3, 2007) and the co-author of La Lotta contro la Corruzione in Cina: Tra Mosche e Zanzare, Tigri e Squali (The Struggle against Corruption in China: Flies, Mosquitoes, Tigers and Sharks) (Venice: Cafoscarina University Press 2006).

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