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DHAsia Presents | Moveable Feasts: Street Food in the 21st Century City, by Anna Greenspan

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 challenges 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.
During her residency at Stanford, Professor Greenspan will also lead a registration-required, hands-on DHAsia workshop. The registration link can be found here.
DHAsia gratefully acknowledges support for Prof. Greenspan's workshop from the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA), the Center for Interdisciplinary Digital Research, the Confucius Institute, the Center for East Asian Studies, and other partners.
About the Speaker
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



Tuesday, February 28, 2017. 04:15 PM


CESTA, Wallenberg Hall, 4th Floor


Stanford University Libraries, Program in Modern Thought and Literature, Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA), History Department, Center for East Asian Studies




Free and open to the public.