Cities in Motion: Urban Life and Cosmopolitanism in Southeast Asia, 1920–1940

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 19, 2016 - History - 309 pages
In the 1920s and 1930s, the port-cities of Southeast Asia were staging grounds for diverse groups of ordinary citizens to experiment with modernity, as a rising Japan and American capitalism challenged the predominance of European empires after the First World War. Both migrants and locals played a pivotal role in shaping civic culture. Moving away from a nationalist reading of the period, Su Lin Lewis explores layers of cross-cultural interaction in various spheres: the urban built environment, civic associations, print media, education, popular culture and the emergence of the modern woman. While the book focuses on Penang, Rangoon and Bangkok - three cities born amidst British expansion to the region - it explores connected experiences across Asia and in Asian intellectual enclaves in Europe. Cosmopolitan sensibilities were severely tested in the era of post-colonial nationalism, but are undergoing a resurgence in Southeast Asia's civil society and creative class today.
 

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Contents

Shwetalay cartoon c 1930s Reproduced with
1
Asian PortCities in a Turbulent Age
47
permission of the Ludu family page
57
Postcard of Weld Quay Penang Wade Collection
59
and 4 Photo essay on Rangoon from Asia magazine 1933
60
Postcard of Burmese girls on the tram in 1906 Authors collection
81
City Hall Rangoon Photograph by the author
90
Cosmopolitan Publics in Divided Societies
95
The Straits Echos Gracie Khoo
162
Cover of The Eastern Courier featuring Sun YatSen
172
Playgrounds Classrooms and Politics
181
Thai medical students at the University of Manila 1930
212
Residents of Inya Hall University of Rangoon 1936
214
Ludu family collection
220
Rangoon Student Union 1936
223
Gramophones Cinema Halls and Bobbed Hair
227

The Li Ti Miao Healing Temple Photograph by the author
105
The Muslim Free Hospital in Rangoon Photograph by the author
106
A Miniature League of Nations in The Straits Echo 1937
126
Newsprint Wires and the Reading Public
138
Bangkok Daily Mail editorial staff The British Library Board
155
Columbia record of Burmese and Indian music
233
permission from Aung Soe Min
234
Cosmopolitan Legacies
264
Index
300
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Su Lin Lewis is currently Lecturer in Modern Global History at the University of Bristol. She has taught at the University of Birmingham, the University of California, Berkeley, and at Birkbeck College, University of London. She was a Past and Present Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research in London and received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Cambridge in 2010. Dr Lewis has also worked on and managed community-driven development projects for the World Bank and for the International Organization for Migration in Southeast Asia, where she developed an interest in the history of civil society and social movements in the region.

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