Shaping Modern Shanghai provides a new understanding of colonialism in China through a fresh examination of Shanghai’s International Settlement. This was the site of key developments of the Republican period: economic growth, rising Chinese nationalism and Sino-Japanese conflict. Managed by the Shanghai Municipal Council (1854-1943), the International Settlement was beyond the control of the Chinese and foreign imperial governments.
Jackson defines Shanghai’s unique, hybrid form of colonial urban governance as transnational colonialism. The Council was both colonial in its structures and subject to colonial influence, especially from the British empire, yet autonomous in its activities and transnational in its personnel. This is the first in-depth study of how this unique body functioned on the local, national and international stages, revealing the Council’s impact on the daily lives of the city’s residents and its contribution to the conflicts of the period, with implications for the fields of modern Chinese and colonial history.