Shanghai photographs: new release

Date November 18, 2013 |

New set of 26 photographs on everyday life, especially peddlers, in 1933-35 Shanghai from Herbert Paul Heft, a German businessman employed at the Glathe & Witt Company from 24 May 1933 to 31 May 1935.  The collection focuses on food peddlers, but it also presents a few rare views of the Shanghai countryside

New release of Shanghai photographs

Date November 13, 2013 |

Virtual Shanghai just released a new set of 17 beautiful pictures of the Shanghai Bund and commercial streets (1936-37). These pictures were taken  by Claude Berruyer, a mechanic with the French Navy during his two-year cruise in East Asia on the Lamotte Piquet crusier. Berruyer  arrived in Shanghai on 12 August 1937, two days before the beginning of the three-month long battle between the Chinese and the Japanese armies, and he was witness to the violence of the fight (more to come in a new release).

A short biography of Claude Berruyer and related photographs

Wenhuibao Interview

Date July 24, 2013 |

On 13 July 2013, The Wenhuibao (文汇报) published  a long interview with Christian Henriot (安克强) by journalist Siwen Ren (任 思 蕴) on historical research on Shanghai, digital technologies and the use of GIS in history. The interview (in Chinese), entitled “地理 信息 系统 是 关涉到 想象力 的 技术” (GIS is a technology that relates to the imagination) was published in the “Wenhui Scholars” (文汇 学 人) section of the newspaper . The Wenhuibao  was established in 1938. Along with several other titles, the Wenhui Press Group is currently the largest press group in China. It has the largest circulation in the Shanghai region.

Research Award of the Humboldt Foundation

Date May 23, 2013 |

Christian Henriot has been awarded one of the prestigious Research Awards (Forschungspreis) of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany).

“The award is granted in recognition of a researcher’s entire achievements to date to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.”

The Research Award was applied for by the University of Heidelberg on behalf of Christian Henriot, with the sponsorship of Prof. Barbara Mittler (Institute for Sinology). The Award is due to start in the fall of 2013.

This distinction and the planned stay of Christian Henriot in Heidelberg in 2013-2014 will strengthen the long-standing collaboration between the Lyons Institute of East Asian Studies (IAO) and the Institute for Sinology at the University of Heidelberg, in particular in the field of digital humanities jointly promoted by Prof. Christian Henriot and Barbara Mittler.


XXIth Century Shanghai: an IPRAUS–ENA-PB Project

Date February 20, 2013 |

The Virtual Shanghai platform is now home to a new project on contemporary Shanghai — 21th century Shanghai – by the Ecole nationale d’architecture-Paris-Belleville (ENA-PB) and one of its research centers IPRAUS. The management of the project is placed under the responsibility of Bernadette Laurencin, architect & associate faculty member at ENA-PB. It is based on a long-term collaboration with Tongji University in the field of graduate student training in architecture.

The materials made available on the Virtual Shanghai platform  appear separately under “IPRAUS collection” for the maps and the photographs. On Live Maps there is now a new GIS web interface that provides access to the various layers of mapping prepared by the team members. The Live interactive map covers various territorial scales: from the Yangzi Delta to the analysis of suburban cities. We plan to enrich this first publication with work produced in the course of  teaching and research, especially  a Franco-Chinese lexicon that will include descriptive vocabularies of urban sites, new detailed drawings of  new towns and other pictures to support our arguments.

This research program – AGE – Large Scale Architecture, 2007 – came from the initiative to produce spatial data on Shanghai  to tell the story of the metropolis. We selected eight qualifiers :  Water, VegetationMobilityQuality of spatial configuration, Quality of spatial practices, Heritage, Scale, and Density. We invite you to explore this new set of resources.

Please note that this section is proposed in French as it is part of both a research and training program at ENA-PB.




Shanghai Municipal Reports and Minutes on line

Date January 31, 2013 |

BN-IAO has just released is the second installment of  documents digitized in Shanghai with the collaboration of the Institute of History of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. This installment includes two essential sets, the Municipal Reports of the Shanghai Municipal Council and the Minutes of its meetings.

The current collection of Reports is not complete. It covers the years 1892-1908, 1924-1936 and 1938-1943. With the help of a British scholar, BN-IAO was able to gather a group of Reports for the period 1859-1864 and 1879. BN-IAO will supplement gradually as new copies are to be scanned.

The collection of Minutes covers the entire period of existence of the Shanghai Municipal Council from 1854 to 1943. They were established from the archives held at the Shanghai Municipal Archives.

This collection, along with the Municipal Reports of the French Concession (see previous post) and the Shanghai Political and Economic Reports produced by the UK National Archives  (14 vol., Internal consultation only) form the largest collection of  primary sources  on the foreign municipal administrations in Shanghai  before 1943, as well as on  the economic and social history of the city.

The annual reports of the Municipal Council of the French Concession on line

Date January 24, 2013 |

As part of a collaboration between the Institut d’Asie Orientale and the Institute of History (历史研究所) of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (上海社会科学院), the Virtual Shanghai Project is making available a set of annual reports (Compte rendu de la gestion) of the French Municipal Council (Commission d’administration municipale) of the former French Concession in Shanghai. The Institute of History generously made available its collection of Compte rendu de la gestion for this major digitizing operation and to share it with the worldwide community of scholars.

The current set does not include all the years during which the French Concession existed in Shanghai, but we hope to supplement our collection as we find additional issues available for digitizing. The set of Compte rendu de la gestion currently includes the following years: 1910-1926, 1929, 1932-1936, 1939-1940. All the files are available in text-searchable format.

The collection of Compte rendu de la gestion is available in BN-IAO, the digital library of the Institut d’Asie Orientale, in the Periodical section.

Shanghai industries in 1947

Date November 20, 2012 |

In the course of a two-year project on “Cities in turmoil”, an attempt to examine everyday life in times of acute change through the use of GIS, Christian Henriot (安克強) has examined the transformation of Shanghai industries during the Civil War period. The study is based on a unique survey of some 10,000 factories and workshops produced in October 1947 and related materials in the daily and specialized press.

The preliminary findings of this study are available available in two forms. The paper presented at the Lyon workshop (7-9 November 2012) is posted on the Virtual Shanghai platform in the “Papers” section. It includes a good number of maps and photographs.The paper presents first a historical narrative on the state of industries during the Civil War. It then proceeds to draw up a portrait of industries through a  statistical approach. Finally, it addresses the issue of the spatial patterns of industries in the city. The use of GIS offers the possibility to locate factories and workshops accurately in the urban fabric. It established the reality of a strongly industrialized city, with three main concentration areas. Yet it also reveal the widespread distribution of industrial concerns throughout the city, endowing Shanghai with an economic structure apparently very similar to the large European cities of the first industrial revolution.

While the paper makes use of a few maps,  as part of the analytical work performed through GIS, Isabelle Durand, the GIS specialist at IAO, has produced a much larger set of maps that dissect each industrial sector and provide a view of their spatial distribution. In most cases, maps represent the distribution of the factories in three ways: location, capital, and workforce. A few more specialized maps present a comparison of various industrial branches in 1940 and 1947, though for only one territory, that of the International Settlement. Finally, GIS is used to explore possible linkages between industrial sectors, between the location f industries and other parameters (transportation, rivers, housing). The whole set of maps can be found under Map ID 1741-1777.

Land use in Shanghai, 1932-2012

Date November 16, 2012 |

The Virtual Shanghai team has produced a new set of maps based on data processed and integrated into our GIS. This is the result of a short-term project conducted by Tan Junmin, a GIS graduate student from the University of Strasbourg, as part of his internship at the Institut d’Asie Orientale. Tan Junmin processed a series of maps (1932-2012), as well as aerial photographs (1927, 1939, 2001) which served as the documentary basis for his survey of the transformation of land use in the Shanghai Municipality/region over the last 80 years.

Most maps indicate only the street network, which provides only a vague indication of the actual built-up area. In his work, Tan Junmin selected maps from the Virtual Shanghai collection that provided a clear view of the built-up area. He confronted these maps with aerial photographs taken at three different dates. One of the daunting challenges was the georectifying of the 1927 image that covered not just the urban area, but also large track of rural land. Tan Junmin also made a systematic record of all towns and villages all around Shanghai based on the detailed Japanese army maps of 1932 (see Maps ID 217-218-219-220-221-222-223-224). This unique database of historical rural settlements provided the basis for a study of the process of urban expansion and absorption of these villages into the expanding urban fabric.

A major output of this study was the production of a set of five maps on land use and urban expansion for 1973, 1982, 1997, 2003, and 2012. This set of maps establishes the prodigious expansion of the built-up area between 1982 and 1997 during the first phase of the reforms. Since 1997, the urban expansion has continued to reach out, albeit at a slower pace. The second output was a study of the fate of towns and villages as they met the unfolding urban expansion. In two maps, Tan Junmin has established the distribution of all human settlements in the countryside around Shanghai in 1932. Then by contrasting this distribution pattern with the expansion of the built-up area, he produced a map that displays the process of disappearance of these settlements up to 2012.


Date November 2, 2012 |

The Institut d’Asie Orientale is hosting the second workshop on historical GIS and Chinese urban studies in Lyon on 7-9 November 2012. The workshop will take place at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon in the Research Building. Participants will explore the issue of “Cities in turmoil” in the Republican period (1912-49) in China through an attempt to implement GIS in the exploration and processng of historical sources. It is part of a two-year joint research project funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation with the Institute of Modern Chinese History (Academia Sinica) in Taiwan. The co-conveners of the workshop are Prof. Wu Jen-shu (吳仁恕) and Prof. Christian Henriot (安克強). The working languages will be English and Chinese.

L’Institut d’Asie Orientale organise le second workshop sur les SIG historiques et l’histoire urbaine chinoise les 7-9 novembre 2012. Le colloque aura lieu à l’Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon dans le bâtiment Recherche. Les participants vont explorer les enjeux des “Villes en crise” à l’époque républicaine (1912-1949) en Chine à travers une tentative d’appliquer les SIG à l’exploration et au traitement des données historiques. Ce workshop s’inscrit dans une projet de recherche conjoint de deux ans, financé par la Fondation Chiang Ching-kuo, avec l’Institut d’Histoire Moderne de l’Academia Sinica à Taiwan. Les co-organisateurs sont les professeurs Wu Jen-shu et Christian Henriot. Les langues de travail seront l’anglais et le chinois.

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