Shanghai: Heritage at the Crossroads of Cultures
The Political Heritage of Textile Districts: Shanghai and Mumbai
Built Heritage volume 3, pages 62–75 (2019)
This article examines the evolution of mill districts in Shanghai and Mumbai across the 20th century as cases of political heritage—in which the socio-spatial formations of factory and neighbourhood produced new meanings of citizenship for the workers in each city. Using historical materials from the textile industry in each city, government reports, housing data, and secondary sources, this article first traces the origins of Shanghai’s textile industry in the 19th century to its connections with Bombay’s textile mills, then examines the emergence of working-class neighbourhoods as they acquired distinctive patterns of tenement housing, shopfronts, and street life. The main finding is that despite clear differences in the two cities in terms of religion, culture, and politics, the ‘mill district’ became a socio-cultural formation central to the identity and memory of generations of textile workers in Shanghai and Mumbai. A concluding section examines the similar process in each city in the 21st century in which mill compounds and neighbourhoods were converted into high-end commercial real estate and sites for consumption and leisure.
Adarkar, Neera, and Meena Menon. 2004. One Hundred Years, One Hundred Voices: The Millworkers of Girangaon: An Oral History. Calcutta: Seagull Books.
Chalana, Manish. 2012. “Of Mills and Malls: The Future of Urban Industrial Heritage in Neoliberal Mumbai.” Future Anterior 9 (1): 1–15.
Chandavarkar, Rajnarayan. 1994. The Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India: Business Strategies and the Working Classes in Bombay, 1900–1940. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Chandavarkar, Rajnarayan. 2009. History, Culture and the Indian City: Essays by Rajnarayan Chandavarkar. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Chen, Yingfang. 2007. “Kongjian yu shehui: zuowei shehui zhuyi shixian de chengshi gaizao: Shanghai penghuqu di shilie, 1949–1979” [Space and Society: Urban Transformation as Socialist Practice: The Case of Shanghai’s Slum Settlements, 1949–1979.] Paper presented at “Urban Flows-Rural Moves” Cultural Studies Research Conference, Taipei, January 6–7.
Chen, Zhilong. 2017. “Shanghai: A Window for Studying Sino-Indian Relations in the Era of Colonialism and Imperialism.” In India and China in the Colonial World, edited by Madhavi Thampi, 33–54. New York: Routledge.
Dossal, Mariam. 2010. Theater of Conflict, City of Hope: Mumbai 1660 to Present Times. New York: Oxford University Press.
Farrer, James. 2019. “Grimy Heritage: Organic Bar Streets in Shanghai and Tokyo.” Built Heritage 3 (3): 76–88.
Frazier, Mark W. 2018. “The Origins of State Capacity: Workers and Officials in Mid-20th Century Shanghai and Bombay.” In Beyond Regimes: China and India Compared, edited by Prasenjit Duara and Elizabeth J. Perry, 33–54. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Frazier, Mark W. 2019. The Power of Place: Contentious Politics in Twentieth Century Shanghai and Bombay. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Harvey, David. 2008. “The Right to the City.” New Left Review, no. 53: 23–40.
Hazareesingh, Sandip. 2007. The Colonial City and the Challenge of Modernity: Urban Hegemonies and Civic Contestations in Bombay City, 1900–1925. Hyderabad: Orient Longman.
Holston, James. 2008. Insurgent Citizenship: Disjunctions of Democracy and Modernity in Brazil. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Honig, Emily. 1986. Sisters and Strangers: Women in the Shanghai Cotton Mills, 1919–1949. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Luo, Suwen. 2011. Gaolangqiao jishi: jindai Shanghai yige mianfangzhi gongye qu de xingqi yu zhongjie [Records of Gaolangqiao: The Rise and the End of a Textile District in Modern Shanghai]. Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe.
Mahadevia, Darshini, and Harini Narayanan. 2008. “Shanghaing Mumbai: Politics of Evictions and Resistance in Slum Settlements.” In Inside the Transforming Urban Asia: Processes, Policies, and Public Actions, edited by Darshini Mahadevia, 549–589. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company.
McKinsey & Company. 2003. “Vision Mumbai: Transforming Mumbai into a World-class City: A Summary of Recommendations.” Mumbai: Bombay First and McKinsey & Company.
Morris, David Morris. 1965. The Emergence of an Industrial Labor Force in India: A Study of the Bombay Cotton Mills, 1854–1947. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Newman, Richard. 1981. Workers and Unions in Bombay, 1918–1929: A Study of Organization in the Cotton Mills. Canberra: Australian National University Monographs on South Asia.
Pearse, Arno S. 1929. The Cotton Industry of Japan and China. Manchester, England: International Federation of Master Cotton Spinners’ and Manufacturers’ Association.
Perry, Elizabeth J. 1993. Shanghai on Strike: The Politics of Chinese Labor. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Rutnagur, S. M. 1927. Bombay Industries: The Cotton Mills. Bombay: Indian Textile Journal, Ltd.
Smith, Neil. 2008. “On the Eviction of Critical Perspectives.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 32 (1): 195–197.
Smith, S.A. 2002. Like Cattle and Horses: Nationalism and Labor in Shanghai, 1895–1927. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Srivastava, Siddharth. 2005. “Mumbai Struggles to Catch Up with Shanghai.” Asia Times Online (March 16).
Upadhyay, Shashi Bhushan. 2004. Existence, Identity, and Mobilization: The Cotton Millworkers of Bombay, 1890–1919. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers.
About this article
Cite this article
Frazier, M.W. The Political Heritage of Textile Districts: Shanghai and Mumbai. Built Heritage 3, 62–75 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03545744