history culture combines the approaches of anthropology and history to look at popular cultural traditions and cultural interpretations of historical experience. It examines the records and narrative descriptions of past matter, encompassing the continuum of events (occurring in succession and leading from the past to the present and even into the future) pertaining to a culture.
Cultural history records and interprets past events involving human beings through the social, cultural, and political milieu of or relating to the arts and manners that a group favors. Jacob Burckhardt (1818–1897) helped found cultural history as a discipline. Cultural history studies and interprets the record of human societies by denoting the various distinctive ways of living built up by a group of people under consideration. Cultural history involves the aggregate of past cultural activity, such as ceremony, class in practices, and the interaction with locales.Cultural history overlaps in its approaches with the French movements of histoire des mentalités (Philippe Poirrier, 2004) and the so-called new history, and in the U.S. it is closely associated with the field of American studies. As originally conceived and practiced by 19th Century Swiss historian Jakob Burckhardt with regard to the Italian Renaissance, cultural history was oriented to the study of a particular historical period in its entirety, with regard not only for its painting, sculpture and architecture, but for the economic basis underpinning society, and the social institutions of its daily life as well. Echoes of Burkhardt’s approach in the 20th century can be seen in Johan Huizinga’s The Waning of the Middle Ages (1919).
Most often the focus is on phenomena shared by non-elite groups in a society, such as: carnival, festival, and public rituals; performance traditions of tale, epic, and other verbal forms; cultural evolutions in human relations (ideas, sciences, arts, techniques); and cultural expressions of social movements such as nationalism. Also examines main historical concepts as power, ideology, class, culture, cultural identity, attitude, race, perception and new historical methods as narration of body. Many studies consider adaptations of traditional culture to mass media (television, radio, newspapers, magazines, posters, etc.), from print to film and, now, to the Internet (culture of capitalism). Its modern approaches come from art history, Annales, Marxist school, microhistory and new cultural history.
Common theoretical touchstones for recent cultural history have included: Jürgen Habermas’s formulation of the public sphere in The Structural Transformation of the Bourgeois Public Sphere; Clifford Geertz’s notion of ‘thick description’ (expounded in, for example, The Interpretation of Cultures); and the idea of memory as a cultural-historical category, as discussed in Paul Connerton’s How Societies Remember.
Shanghai’s best museums
Stranded in Jiading district, the shanghai museums – spacious, sinuous and bright – is a delight to visit, despite the awkward location. Displays have the best combination of English- and Chinese-language descriptions of any museum in the city. There’s a wealth of information, starting with the development of the wheel all the way up to the aerodynamics and fuel efficiency of modern cars. If that sounds dry, there are 75 different models of car to ogle across three floors. Even those who aren’t petrol-heads will find it hard to resist the beauty of many of the motors in the museum’s collection. Each car gleams as if it just rolled off the production line.
But it’s not all eye candy. Visitors can get hands-on with the signs on the second floor; many are touchscreens that allow you to compare different models of car. Other monitors allow you to view information contemporary with the creation of cars. For 1960s models, for instance, you can read about the Vietnam War or listen to Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech or watch clips of movies. There’s also a section with headphones that allows you to listen to a variety of popular Chinese songs from across the 20th century. The third floor is even more interactive, with Scalextric and various games to play. Sadly, not everything on this floor is always in working order, but that doesn’t devalue the overall excellent experience.
showcased through interactive panels (in English and Chinese) and video clips (with English subtitles). Opened in 2013, it took Shanghai Film Group, the investor, five years to build and cost around 1 billion RMB.
Most space is given to film distribution (including scale models of the city’s first cinemas) and the history of Shanghai’s major studios. A wide range of props and vintage equipment, such as a 35mm multichannel sound reproducer from 1986, are showcased on the third floor. It all makes for an impressively modern history museum.
Must-see The first floor’s interactive studios where visitors can take part in part in the post production process. Our favourite section is the ability to recreate movie sound effects, which happen to be artificially created by the sorts of daily items you’d least expect.
Once marooned near Dishui Lake in southern Pudong, the China Maritime Museum is thankfully now much more accessible since the opening of Line 16.This towering museum is filled with model boats, historical shipping relics and even a pirate-themed 4D cinema. The main route through the museum takes you past the major nautical developments in China throughout history, from models of early rafts up to examples of the clothing warn by modern day deep-sea explorers. A spectacular recreation of one of famous Chinese explorer Zheng He’s ships is the centrepiece of the museum and a significant portion of space is given over to He and his seafaring voyages.
The more ‘interactive’ elements include learning how to tie naval knots, a welding computer game and clambering aboard the central model wooden boat. The 4D cinema, with its badly dubbed slapstick pirate film, feels a bit tacked on and is best skipped.