Shanghai (上海), literally meaning "above sea", is a world-class metropolis and the largest in China in terms of population. Originally a fishing and market town in the central east coast of China, it has grown in importance to become a "global city," according to UCI history Prof. Jeffrey Wasserstrom (Item 2).
Founded as a municipality 700 years ago, Shanghai gained its international identity and flourished as a hub between the East and the West during two significant time periods. The first period, known as Old Shanghai, dates from 1846 to 1945. Shanghai was then a free treaty port witnessing the establishment of international settlements (Item 1) as a result of Qing government's failure in the Opium War against British and the subsequent publicity about the city in world media (Item 4). The second period, representing New Shanghai, began in 1990.The national government launched the Pudong New District (Item 1) and opened it to foreign investors in an effort to reclaim the city's past glory.
Two sophisticated phenomenon -- cosmopolitanism and glocalization -- came about during these two periods. During its first internationalization period, Shanghai gained its cosmopolitan fame through the intermixture of global and local residents with diverse social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. This intersection of cultures is reflected in the mixture of multinational architectures (Items 6 & 7) and the coexistence of modern and traditional styles (Item 9).
At the same time, cosmopolitanism does not mean pure harmony without any tension. As UCI Comparative Literature Prof. Ackbar Abbas (Item 5) points out, foreign influences on Shanghai have been mingled with nationalism and local reality via "negotiation" and "appropriation" through which Shanghai has become the most westernized city in China after Hong Kong, but still the "Pearl of the East".
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