Using the English verb shanghai as a pun, this essay analyzes the ways in which Taiwanese were induced into an undesirable situation during the course of Taiwan's recent interactions with China. As Shanghai (re)emerges as a global city, we have witnessed a “Shanghai fever” in Taiwan since 2000 that is rather different than the so-called mainland fever of the previous period. Men and women of various backgrounds—entrepreneurs and professionals, students, preschool children and their moms, shopkeepers, outlaws and flaneurs—swarmed to Shanghai, some voluntarily and some not, only to find themselves in an awkward situation in which their presence was both ubiquitous and invisible. Moreover, globalization and nationalization jointly brought about a predicament in which the state, corporations, individuals, and Taiwanese society collectively were all shanghaied in one way or another. These shanghai(ed) experiences added up to a bizarre and paradoxical mixture of romanticized business ventures, pursuits of better personal lives, ambiguous citizenships, and conflicting nation-building projects, all imbued with a somewhat nostalgic projection of, along with deep anxieties about, Taiwan's future as well as self-identity.
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Horng-luen Wang; How Are Taiwanese Shanghaied?. positions 1 May 2009; 17 (2): 321–346. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-2009-005
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