The City Seminar - Migrant Women Walking Down the Cheap Road: Modernization and Being Fashionable in Shanghai

January 5, 2018 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
749 Kaneff Tower
Kaneff Tower
North York, ON M3J 2S5

Dr. Penn Tsz Ting Ip

 This paper examines how new definitions of the “Chinese modern woman” affect the lives of rural-urban migrant women, with a focus on the way these women are interpellated as modern and fashionable. With a focus on the Qipulu Clothing Wholesale Market in Shanghai, also known as the “Cheap Road,” the paper analyzes how its spatial organization and commercial strategies allow rural migrant women a sense of being “modern,” and explores narratives from these migrants, focusing on their consumer experience to scrutinize how they transform themselves in response to the globalizing cityscape. This paper argues that the Cheap Road is organized spatially and commercially to sell rural women access to the images of “being modern” and of the Chinese Dream. Finally, this study suggests that by developing their fashion style through shopping, these women become the “Chinese modern rural woman” who must find a point where their identities as migrant women and Shanghai women meet.

Penn Tsz Ting IP is a PhD researcher at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam and member of the SSHRC Partnership grant “Urbanization, Gender and the global south”. Her research interests include migration studies, post-colonialism, globalization, affect theory, and queer studies. Penn’s PhD project is supported by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) under the funded project “Creating the ‘New’ Asian Woman: Entanglements of Urban Space, Cultural Encounters and Gendered Identities in Shanghai and Delhi” (SINGLE Project Nr: 586).

Friday January 5, 2018
12:30 – 2pm
749 Kaneff Tower
Everyone is welcome.