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In a few decades after its forcible opening as a Treaty Port in 1842, Shanghai emerged as Asia’s greatest port. It quickly grew to an international city that played a defining in China role as a catalyst for cultural, social, and economic change. After 1937, however, war, civil war, and revolution put the brakes on Shanghai’s advance. After the late 1980’s, Shanghai reemerged as one of the world’s leading centers of trade and a meeting place of civilizations. Today the city is the linchpin of the economy of the Yangtze River basin and China’s foremost gateway to the world. Using historical, literary, and documentary materials this course will reflect on the evolution of Shanghai and the role it played as a catalyst for change in various eras.

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