Publication Date

March 1, 2002

Perspectives Section


The Urban History Association awarded Hanchao Lu, professor in the School of History, Technology, and Society at Georgia Tech, its 2001 award for scholarly distinction for the best book in non-North American urban history for Beyond the Neon Lights: Everyday Shanghai in the Early Twentieth Century . (University of California Press: Berkeley, 1999)

The American Historical Review described Beyond the Neon Lights as “A detailed, enlightening, and wonderfully readable account of daily life in early twentieth-century China’s greatest city. His account will be consulted and quoted for many years by those dealing with the realities of daily life in Chinese cities.”

"I hope this work and its recognition in the scholarly community can contribute to the prominence of our studies of social sciences and the humanities at Georgia Tech," said Lu. The School of History, Technology and Society is in Ivan Allen College, Georgia Tech's liberal arts college.

The award committee for the Urban History Association praised Lu's book about Shanghai: "Hanchao Lu's well-organized, vivid book deals with an analytical problem fundamental to urban studies since Max Weber: the balance between capitalism, Western influence, and regional history and culture in the molding of modern urban life in different parts of the non-western world. Lu constructs an engaging narrative of how the native residents and rural migrants of China's largest city, Shanghai, the so-called "little urbanites" lived and made a living during the high point of the city's industrial and commercial influence and of the Western colonial presence there. Beyond the Neon Lights draws upon an impressive range of sources, from literature and folklore to surveys of seven neighborhoods full of long-time residents. . . . In stressing ways that Shanghai’s people wove their lives from a variety of Chinese and Western influences, Lu challenges the traditional characterization of this city as mainly a bridgehead into China for Western capitalism and modernity. “

Lu is a historian of Asia specializing in the history of labor, industrialization, and urbanization in China.

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