Moveable Feasts: Street Food in the 21st Century City (Public Lecture: Jan 23; and Workshop: Jan 24), Sophia U.

David H. Slater's picture

Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture Global Food Project presents two events with

Dr. Anna Greenspan

Moveable Feasts: Street Food in the 21st Century City (Public Lecture)
January 23rd18:30-20:00
Room 301, 3F, Building 10, Sophia University

Shanghai’s emergence as a future metropolis threatens a vital aspect of its culinary culture. The snacks (xiao chi 小吃) that are sold from the small shops and mobile stands of the city’s streets and alleyways - dumplings steamed in wooden baskets, nighttime barbeques, carts selling stir-fried noodles - are all disappearing. Shanghai’s officials and urban planners seem to subscribe to the dominant modernist narrative, which contends that development demands that the informality of street vending be replaced by the regulated order of chain stores and shopping malls. In Shanghai progress is often equated with ‘cleaning up the streets’.

This talk aims to challenge this view, arguing that street food, street markets, street culture and street life are an integral part of the liveliness and livability of the 21st century city. It does so by presenting an ongoing project in the digital humanities that uses deep mapping and digital storytelling to investigate Shanghai’s shifting street food landscape and transforming culinary neighborhoods. 

Deep Mapping Shanghai’s Culinary Neighborhoods (Workshop)
January 24th16:30-18:00 
Room 301, 3F, Building 10, Sophia University

This workshop focuses on the ideas and practices of deep mapping. It is based on two ongoing projects: one on street food and the other a comparative study of the spatial transformation of two of Shanghai’s culinary neighborhoods in very different stages of urban gentrification. The workshop will discuss the processes of data collection (both quantitative and qualitative), demonstrate attempts at digital storytelling and include a section on the particular challenges of mapping practices in China. Two tools - carto.db ( and fulcrum ( will be introduced in detail.

The workshop will present how these mapping projects fit into a larger collaborative interdisciplinary research project entitled City Food: Lessons from People on the Move that involves scholars, librarians, museums and advocacy groups from cities across Asia, Australia and North America. City Food aims to build on an online platform that will include tools and resources for both teaching and research. 

Finally, the workshop will discuss some ongoing issues including how to incorporate a temporal component into the mapping practice, the possibility of using locative games and augmented reality and the capacity to use maps as a multimedia platform. Relevant tools will be introduced within this context.

Anna Greenspan is Assistant Professor of Global Contemporary Media at NYU Shanghai. She holds a PhD in Continental philosophy from Warwick University, UK. While at Warwick, Anna was a founding member of the cybernetic culture research unit (ccru).  Her current work focuses on the interconnections between urban China and contemporary media. Research interests include street markets and the informal economy, wireless waves, Chinese modernity and the philosophy of technology. Anna’s most recent book is entitled Shanghai Future: Modernity Remade (Oxford University Press: 2014). She runs a digital humanities project on street food ( and is the cofounder of the Shanghai Studies Society ( and Hacked Matter ( Anna’s personal website can be found at

These events are coordinated by James FARRER (FLA) for ICC Global Food Project.

Institute of Comparative Culture, Sophia University 
7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku, 
Tokyo 102-8554, JAPAN 
+81-(0)3-3238-4082 (Tel)