‘White’ Undesirables: Socio-cultural Hierarchies and Racial Anxiety in Early-twentieth-century Shanghai

Thomas Montrose Larkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Social status in early-twentieth-century Shanghai hinged on varied markers. Wealth, race, and public conduct each affected social and cultural mobility in complex ways. This paper considers how these themes helped entrench social hierarchies by focusing on non-elite foreigners who occupied racially and socially ambiguous positions in Shanghai. Using the media representation of a murder as a point of access, this paper explores who these non-elites were and what they meant to the society they lived in, arguing that liminality such as theirs induced deep-seated elite anxiety over the stability of Western privilege and white prestige in colonial and semi-colonial environments.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalCultural and Social History
Early online date16 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Class
  • Empire
  • Shanghai

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