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Contested Urban Spaces in Chinese Metropolises

Lupe [1]
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 from 18:00 – 21:00  
TU Berlin, Hauptgebäude, Straße des 17. Juni 135, Raum H 0111

About the presentations

“The Violence of Urban Development in Post-Mao China”  

Qin SHAO (College of New Jersey, USA, fellow-in-residence at Re:Work, Humboldt University)

China's rapid urbanization and imposing skyscrapers have symbolized its rise as an economic powerhouse of the world. But little is known about the violent nature of China's urban development. This lecture focuses on domicide--the deliberate destruction of home against the will of its dwellers that has taken place all over Chinese cities--and points out that such violence is sanctioned by the Chinese state. Based on years of field research in Shanghai, the lecture also presents compelling images of actually cases of domicide and its impact on urban residents.


“Citizens Go Gangnam Style – Contested Redevelopment in a South China Metropolis”                      

Bettina GRANSOW (Freie Universität Berlin)

Redevelopment projects in densely populated Chinese cities are not only resulting in the physical restructuring of urban space, but they are interventions into the everyday life of local residents, families and communities. Particularly in neighbourhoods with historical flair and culturally significant architecture personal and collective memories are closely interconnected with the history of the place. Based on participatory observation, interviews with local residents and media documentation this presentation introduces the social impacts during the implementation of a redevelopment project in a neighbourhood of a South China Metropolis with many cultural and historical sites.  The lecture further introduces examples of citizens’ activism unfolding in reaction to the redevelopment intervention including a gangnam style video clip.


About the speakers

Qin SHAO is currently a fellow-in-residence at Re:Work, Humboldt University, Berlin, and professor of history at The College of New Jersey, USA. She is the author of Shanghai Gone: Domicide and Defiance in a Chinese Megacity (Rowman& Littlefield, 2013), and Culturing Modernity: The Nantong Model, 1890-1930 (Stanford University Press, 2004).

She has published with international scholarly outlets on topics that include ancient Chinese statecraft, China’s early modernization effort, and the Post-Mao reform. Shao is working on a new project about displacement and change of life course in Chinese society.


Bettina GRANSOW is teaching at the East Asian Institute and Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science at Freie Universität Berlin. Her research focus is on contemporary Chinese society and social issues, including internal migration (voluntary and involuntary) and mega city development; civil society and civil society organisations in China; social risk analysis and social assessment in investment projects. Recent publications include Contested Urbanization in China: Exploring Informal Spaces of Migrants-in-the-city, in: Harvard Asia Quarterly, Vol. XIV, No.1&2, Spring/Summer 2012, pp.12-24; Migrants and Health in China. Berliner China-Hefte Vol. 38, 2010 (co-edited with Zhou Daming), Münster: Lit Verlag and Social Assessment Manual for Investment Projects in China - Turning Risks Into Opportunities (co-edited with Susanna Price, Beijing: China Planning Press 2007.

When & Where?

Wednesday May 29th,
18:00 – 21:00,
TU Berlin,
Room H 0111


  • Qin Shao - Housing Matters: Resident Protesters in Urban China (Youtube) [2]
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