Berlin, 1873: A New Imperial Center and a Transatlantic Financial Crisis

Global Urban History

Catherine Davies, FernUniversität in Hagen

When thinking about the interrelationship between the urban and the global, stock exchanges may yield valuable insights. A quintessentially urban locale, they were often seen as institutions that brought global events home with much force and immediacy. Describing British society during the Napoleonic Wars, the narrator in William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (1847/48) observes that the City of London, work place of stock broker William Sedley, was a ‘stirring place in those days, when war was raging all over Europe, and empires were being staked … Old Sedley once or twice came home with a very grave face; and no wonder, when such news as this was agitating all the hearts and all the stocks of Europe.’

The World's Exchanges Print “The World’s Exchanges” from 1886 displaying the stock exchanges in New York, Paris, Chicago, London, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Brussels (from top left to bottom right)

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Imperial Cities as Cultural Nodes: A View from Early Twentieth-Century Tokyo

Global Urban History

Jordan Sand, Georgetown University

Kuo Hsueh-hu Festival on South St Guy Xuehu, “Festival on South Street”, 1930 [1] I recently published a collection of essays exploring the culture of the Japanese empire. It proved impossible to talk about this subject without talking about other empires, which provided the institutional models and many of the material forms for Japan’s imperial modernity. And the case of imperial Japan, which brought Western modernity to other countries in Asia and the Pacific while at the same time seeking to modernize itself based on Western models, suggested the fruitfulness of considering modern imperialism not simply in terms of a metropolitan core and colonial periphery, but as a set of networked sites of asymmetrical encounter. In this framework, imperial cities take on special importance, as places of rapid cultural change and of cultural interchange. Since the fundamental structures of colonial empires were explicitly hierarchical, culture tended to move through these networks…

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Fashioning the Colonial Metropolis: Asian Influences and Urban Identities in Colonial Mexico City

Global Urban History

Nino Vallen, Freie Universität Berlin

At the end of the seventeenth century, the Mexican artist Cristóbal de Villalpando painted the main square of Mexico City. His image of the zócalo depicts approximately 1,200 persons strolling around or standing in groups outside the metropolitan cathedral or the partially ruined viceregal palace. At the center of all this activity, Villalpando located the two markets that fill most of this public space. Gondola-like boats and carts can be seen transporting merchandise to the market in the upper part of the image, while carriages and members of the city’s merchant elite flock together in the surroundings of a recently constructed market, the Parián, that appears at the forefront of the composition.

Fig. 1 - Cristobal de Villalpando - View of the Zócalo of Mexico City (1695) Cristóbal de Villalpando’s Pinting of Mexico City’s Main Square, Late 17th Century

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