Books and Films by Andrew Field

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An educational weekend in Shanghai with SAS Alumni and Duke Kunshan GLS faculty

I just returned to Kunshan from a busy weekend in Shanghai. On Saturday morning, as a new member of the Board of Trustees for Shanghai American School I had the pleasure to attend an event at the Westin Hotel, where three alumni from the class of 1949--Betty Barr Wang, Carl Scovel and Teddy Heinrichsohn--gave fascinating talks about their memories of Shanghai in the 1940s.
These including Betty's 2.5 year stint in the infamous Lunghua prison camp and Carl's stay in another camp--and imparted much wisdom to the audience of mostly parents and students of SAS based on their own life experiences. 
This wonderful session was then followed by a conversation between deputy head of school Marcel Gauthier and Laura Harder, the daughter of our BOT Chair York-chi Harder, who talked about her experiences at Princeton and her current job in New York city. 
Following that, as part of our orientation program for incoming faculty I had the pleasure to lead a tour of Shanghai for faculty coming to Kunshan from Duke and elsewhere who are teaching for our GLS program. Here is a brief recap of our tour:
Saturday (French Concession tour): 
We started at the Joffre Terrace (淮海坊) on corner of Maoming (Route Cardinal Mercier) and Nanchang roads where we toured an old lilong or longtang neighborhood that was once the residence to several famous people from the 1920s-40s including Xu Guangping (Lu Xun’s wife), writer Ba Jin, and artist Xu Beihong. We then walked down Nanchang Road (Route Vallon) to Sinan Road (Rue Massenet) where we visited the former home of Sun Yat-sen and Soong Ching-ling (Song Qingling) and toured the museum. We then walked over to the Ruijin Guesthouse (formerly the Morriss Estate) and walked through the estate and back to Maoming Road, then headed to Shaoxing Road and had tea at the Old China Hand Reading Room where we saw the books by owner Deke Erh (Er Dongqiang) and Tess Johnston. We then walked over to the Tianzifang area off of Taikang Road to have dinner at an Indian restaurant named Lotus Land.
Saturday evening jazz/nightlife tour:
We visited the JZ Club, Shanghai’s top jazz club, where we caught a performance by Toby Mak, Alec Haavik (with whom we chatted) and their band Ttechmak.
We also sampled the fine cocktails at El Coctel, a bar around the corner from JZ on Yongfu Road owned by Spanish restaurant entrepreneur Willy Trullas Moreno. This is the same bar that James Farrer and I took Frank Langfitt, the NPR correspondent, who later made this report for NPR from a nighttime tour based on our book Shanghai Nightscapes.
Sunday (Huangpu River tour):
We started at Old Docks (lao matou) and took the ferry across the river to Pudong, where we walked along the riverside. One of the interesting sites we saw there was a group of Buddhists who were releasing birds from cages, while up the river a bit others were paying to have fish released into the water only to be caught by fishermen with nets to sell once again for the same purpose.
We then visited the Jinmao tower and went up to the 88th floor to catch the stunning views of the city on the fine clear-sky day (at least, clear by Shanghai standards).
We then returned to the Bund via another ferry across the Huangpu River.
Back on the Puxi side, we took this shot in front of the Gutzlaff Signal Tower on the Bund. We had lunch at Lost Heaven, a Yunnanese restaurant on Yan'an Road near the Bund. I then rejoined my own family for a viewing of the new film The Jungle Book, which was quite a thrill. Well done, John Favreau and cast!



An excellent brief review of our book Shanghai Nightscapes 

This appeared in my inbox today courtesy of the promotions manager at U Chicago Press. Nice way to start the day.



A publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries 
A division of the American Library Assocation 
Editorial Offices: 575 Main Street, Suite 300, Middletown, CT 06457-3445 
Phone: (860) 347-6933 
Fax: (860) 704-0465
March 2016 Vol. 53 No. 7


University of Chicago Press

The following review appeared in the March 2016 issue of CHOICE: 


2014-43024 CIP
Farrer, James.  Shanghai nightscapes: a nocturnal biography of a global city, by James Farrer and Andrew David Field. Chicago, 2015. 266p index afp ISBN 9780226262741, $85.00; ISBN 9780226262888 pbk, $27.50; ISBN 9780226262918 ebook, contact publisher for price. 

Coauthored by sociologist Farrer (Sophia Univ., Tokyo) and independent historian Field, who have decades of experience observing and writing in and about the metropolis, this book traces the vicissitudes of Shanghai’s nightlife industry from the early 1920s to the 2010s and provides an in-depth tour of the city’s night scenes.  The authors focus on the city’s dance halls, bars, and clubs—urban spaces that speak a global language and facilitate exchanges between Chinese and non-Chinese men and women in artistic tastes, sexual and gender norms, and a sense of cosmopolitanism beyond one’s local identity.  Through the dialogue between interwar Shanghai and its contemporary night self, the authors convincingly demonstrate the resilience of cultural and spatial memories that overcome setbacks and renew the character of the city at play.  The authors recognize that nightlife in Shanghai, as elsewhere, did not and does not serve as a haven immune to the power politics of day life.  Nuanced discussions on the hierarchies and norms that nightlife challenges, perpetuates, and produces will interest students of urban China, sexuality, cultural studies, and globalization.

--L. Ma, State University of New York at Buffalo


Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.

Music and Memory: Remembering the Dartmouth College Chamber Singers

With the 25th reunion of my class of 1991 quickly approaching this year, I find myself reminiscing about some of my Dartmouth College experiences. I like to tell people that the two best choices I made while at Dartmouth were to study Mandarin Chinese and to join the Chamber Singers. Both were completely random choices, and yet each had an enormous impact on my subsequent life. 

In spring 1989, upon returning to Dartmouth after a long stint abroad in Taiwan and China, I tried out for the Chamber Singers, an elite choral group on campus. I'd never sung before in a chorus, but I had a couple of friends who spoke highly of the experience and recommend this choir above the others, and also I found out they were planning a trip to Scandanavia which sounded greatly attractive to me. The conductor was Melinda O'Neal, and after a brief tryout she accepted me into the group. I joined that spring, and our first performance was a choral piece by Bach, "Wachet Auf Ruft Uns Die Stimme" ("Sleepers awake, the voice is calling us"). I'd grown to love Bach since reading Godel Escher Bach in high school, and performing this piece with a choral group was a marvelous experience. I was hooked.

That fall we also focused on several German choral works composed by men who lived in the 15th-16th centuries. That November we performed a concert at Dartmouth's Rollins Chapel.  Here is the list of songs we sang which as you see included a number of Russian and American works and some very modern ones by Copland and Ives. 

Dartmouth College Chamber Singers (Melinda O’Neal, Conductor)

Nov 15 1989 Concert Program:

1. 'Wohlauf, Ihr Gaste' (E. Widmann)

2. 'Ach Lieb, Ich Tu Dir Klagen' (Von Hassler)

3. 'Wach Auf' (Heinrich Finck)

4. 'Wie Wen Tut Mir Mein Scheiden' (M. Franck)

5. 'Ein Fauler Baum' (Melchior Franck)

6. 'Innsbruck, Ich Mus Dich Lassen' (H. Isaac)

7. 'Alla Riva Del Tebro' (G. Palestrina) 

8. 'Zastupnitse Userdnaya' (Chesnokov)

9. 'Svete Tickhiy' (Nikolsky)

10. 'Hvalite Gospoda Snebes' (Chesnokov)

11. 'What Wondrous Love' (William Billings)

12. 'At the River' (Aaron Copland)

13. 'All the Pretty Little Horses' (Aaron Copland) 

14. 'Long Time Ago' (Aaron Copland; Jeanne Laforgia, solo)

15. 'Lark' (Aaron Copland)

16. 'Winter' (Dominick Argento; Elizabeth Allen, solo)

17. 'Serenity' (Charles Ives; Brian Coughlin, solo)

18. 'Psalm 90' (Charles Ives)

19. 'My Lord, What a Morning' (H. Burleigh)


That winter in early January we performed our annual Feast of Song, a student-written play that included several choral pieces we'd been working on over the fall. The theme was German and the play took place in a German castle in the Renaissance era. While the play was historically accurate in some senses, it took great liberties with the storytelling. For that season I was given the role of Balthazar D'Oro, a "restless, roaming rake" and a prophetic indication of my future.

Later that winter (1990) we took our tour of Scandanavia which included Stockholm and Malmo in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark. We were guests of the St. Matthews Choir as I recall while in Stockholm, which was a wonderful experience--I believe we all stayed in the homes of members of the choir. We also guested with an all-girls choir in Malmo and did the same, which was fun. We got to perform in beautiful old churches with gorgeous acoustics.  One of my favorite memories is of us doing an impromptu performance of "Alla Riva del Tebro" in a church in Copenhagen.

In 1990-91, my final year at Dartmouth, Melinda O'Neal was off campus and a guest conductor named Carmen Tellez stepped in to do the job. She led us in a repertoire that included many Spanish pieces, and we performed that November 20 at Rollins Chapel with the Brno Madrigal Choir.

Later in spring 1991 we performed an original choral work by a New England-based composer named Ingram Marshall, and premiered his work at the Hopkins Center in May 1991. The work, "Savage Altars", was recorded in 1992 by another choir. We also performed a series of works by Benjamin Britten called "Ballad of Green Broom". 

That winter I was honored to perform the role of King Carlos V of the court of Spain in our annual Feast of Song. I believe I may have also contributed to the writing of the script for that season (others can verify or deny this). I even had my own solo during the play, a song called "L'amor donna, ch'io te porto", which was my only solo during my stint as a Chamber Singer.

How do I remember all this? As a historian, I'm trained to archive things, and I've kept records. Thus I'm happy to share with my former Chamber Singers two hi-res images I've kept of our group taken in 1989-90 as well as concert recordings for 1989 and 1990 which I've posted onto youtube and the program from the concert that Carmen Tellez conducted in Nov 20 1990 at Rollins Chapel

As for the long-term influence of being a Chamber Singer, I think anybody who knows me will recognize how important music in all its forms and styles has been to my research and personal life. The discipline and high standards that Melinda O'Neal and Carmen Tellez instilled in us have perhaps carried into other areas of my life including my research and writing and film projects as well as my own musical endeavors, although I can't say whether the latter truly lives up to the standards of the Chamber Singers. No doubt other more talented Chamber Singers have gone on to successful careers in music--and I'd love to hear from them after all these years.


Live from Tokyo, its...A podcast interview on Shanghai Nightscapes with "New Books in East Asian Studies" presenter Carla Nappi

While I was in Tokyo last month, I met up with James Farrer at Sophia University and we conducted an interview via skype with Carla Nappi. Carla has been contributing podcasts to her "New Books in East Asian Studies" podcast platform for a few years now. I did an interview for my first book with her soon after it came out in 2010. Carla does an extremely good job of preparing for the interviews by reading the book carefully and preparing a set of questions and a "driving plan" to carry the author through the interview. It produces a very meticulous interview that covers the major issues and themes of the book and runs through each chapter. This is by far the best interview that we've done on our book.

You can find the interview here as a streaming podcast, also downloadable I believe.

I recommend her podcast platform highly to other authors of books on East Asian Studies.


More talks for Shanghai Nightscapes

I'm afraid I haven't been doing a good job of keeping up with this journaling for my website. I blame this largely on Facebook, which has absorbed most of my 'blogging' efforts. It's a lot more rewarding when you get instant recognition for your posts in the form of 'likes' and comments. Harder to keep up the the blog slog when you don't get any feedback.  Nevertheless I'm still using this website as the fundamental repository for all of my writing and film projects.

This is a busy week for me. In addition to all of my duties, responsibilities, projects etc. for my current job with Duke Kunshan University, I've been asked to give two public talks in Shanghai and one public walk. The first talk happened on Wednesday morning, where I gave a talk on Shanghai nightlife in the Age of Deco based on Shanghai Nightscapes and my earlier book Shanghai's Dancing World for the Shanghai Art Deco World Congress. Then on Thursday evening I gave a tour of the Bund at night for a sizeable group of participants in the Art Deco Congress. We visited the Astor House, Peace Hotel, and Waldorf Astoria, and ended the night with a great blues band at the House of Blues and Jazz.

Tomorrow I give a talk for the Shanghai Literary Festival at 1 pm at M on the Bund in their new Glam Bar.  Thanks to Michelle Garnaut for including me in this event. This will be my third book talk for SLF in the past five years. Of course the focus will be on Shanghai Nightscapes.

Speaking of which, That's Shanghai published an interview with me and James in order to promote this talk.

Hope to see some of you there!