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Old China Hand Gazette

LECTURES

SCENE-SETTER LECTURES

A HUNDRED YEARS OF SHANGHAI’S EXPAT HISTORY IN A HUNDRED MINUTES (OR LESS)

Tess' talk, as the title implies, is a zip through the history of the Western presence in Shanghai, from 1842 to 1949. Early on Shanghai became a city of Western emigrants, and Tess gives a short anecdotal history of each wave of foreigners who came to Shanghai, explains their contributions to the growth of the city, and what they left behind for posterity. Reviewers say: “She is lively, engaging, often irreverent, and leaves her audience gasping for breath after her lively romp through a century of Shanghai's colorful history.” (This can be followed by a walking tour of several varied locations. Contact Tess by e-mail here).

 A HUNDRED YEARS OF SHANGHAI’S JEWISH HISTORY IN A HUNDRED MINUTES (OR LESS)


It also follows Shanghai’s Western emigrants in chronological order, but focuses on the Jewish presence. Her narrative starts with the Sephardic businessmen of the 19th century, moves through the 1933-1941 inflow into Shanghai of Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe, and ends in 1950 when most of the Jewish refugees had again traveled on to other countries. Her talk is lively, anecdotal, and includes extensive information on the 1943-45 Japanese-created “Designated Area for Stateless Refugees” – better known as the Jewish Ghetto.

THE GOOD OLD DAYS IN A "NEW" SHANGHAI

Tess tells what it was like to live in a city that had just emerged from a chaotic decade: an overcrowded and drab cityscape of no cars, no luxuries, of rationing and restraint, but one with its old Western architecture intact -- and absolutely wonderful. Expanded by readings from her recent memoir, PERMANENTLY TEMPORARY - From Berlin to Shanghai in Half a Century, Tess regales her listeners with tales of "baseball-bat" chickens and Snickers-eating rats, and other stories, both funny and sad, from her Shanghai sojourn from 1981 to the present.

FOR ART DECO FANS

Tess also has a Powerpoint presentation, preceded by a brief introductory lecture on Shanghai’s expat history, entitled SHANGHAI ART DECO. These are images from Tess's and Deke’s latest joint book by the same title, and the presentation received rave reviews at the World Congress of Art Deco in Melbourne ten years ago (and subsequently at Art Deco Societies in Seattle, Chicago and New York City).

TOURS

Tess plans to return to Shanghai every spring for the International Literary Festival and will again be leading some tours.
Tess Johnston, June 2016. All Rights Reserved.