Body, Society, and Nation: The Creation of Public Health and Urban Culture in Shanghai (Book Review)

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

Summer 2020


In the late Qing and Republican periods (1842-1949), Shanghai became a testing ground for a variety of schemes to adapt European public health measures in order to transform the industrializing urban environment and the health of Chinese individuals. Shanghai was a city divided: two separate foreign districts governed by foreign laws, the old walled Chinese-controlled city, and expansive Chinese-controlled areas beyond all three districts. As European ideas about hygiene evolved from miasmas to microbes, the authorities of the foreign-controlled concessions increasingly thought of the Chinese districts as reservoirs of sickness threatening resident Europeans.


Book review of Body, society, and nation: The creation of public health and urban cultures in Shanghai by Chieko Nakajima.