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Only use the material: Empire of the Sun (film and text)
Here’s the question:
For at least 150 years, Shanghai has been a destination for people from many other places. Some of these people eventually made their home in Shanghai. At the same time, people whose families have lived in Shanghai for generations may describe others as “outsiders.” This is not simply a distinction between “Chinese” and “foreigners.” Compare the similarities and differences between how “insiders” and “outsiders” have experienced Shanghai during the period from the mid-nineteenth century up to the Maoist period.
1. Please follow ALL the directions carefully.
2. The key to success in this assignment is the sentence: “This is not simply a distinction between “Chinese” and “foreigners.” In other words, “insider” and “outsider” are relative terms, and your paper needs to reflect that. Some Chinese might see themselves (or be seen as) outsiders compared to local Shanghainese, and some foreigners may consider themselves Shanghai “insiders,” or “locals,” at least compared to other foreigners.
3. To start, make a list of your sources (listed in “appropriate sources” in the question itself–you only need two of them), and then a list of the various groups of Chinese and foreigners who are depicted in them. Add your own notes for each about how that source depicts their relationship to Shanghai. That’s your working outline. (Hint: Empire of the Sun is a really good source, so is Shanghai Ghetto.) In terms of learning objectives, this is to develop your sensitivity to the implications of language (“insider” and “outsider” may seem like a simple binary contrast, but it isn’t) and your ability to express ideas in a nuanced way.
4. Pay attention to the TIME PERIOD: mid-nineteenth century to 1949, the date on which the Republican period ended and the Maoist period began. Your sources are all from that period, but most of them focus on World War II, and it’s OK to limit the paper to the wartime period if you want to. When you write about it, remember that you are writing about the past, not the present. In terms of learning objectives, this is to develop your historical perspective.
5. Articulate a thesis (your personal point of view) on how similar these different groups’ experience of Shanghai was, and how different it was, during the specified period. Be as specific as possible here. Obviously these different groups lived in or visited the same city, yet at the same time, each group gravitated to different parts of it and had a somewhat different “mental map” of Shanghai. Your task is to describe the “mental map” for different groups and to explain how much (or how little) those maps had in common. Choose quotations from the texts or anecdotes from the films that show something specific about the mental map.
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