Seen and Unseen


in Hygienic Modernity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780520240018
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930605 | DOI:
Seen and Unseen

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This chapter investigates modernity's impulse to hide and separate functions of life in order to create a hygienic urban environment. The tension and ambiguity in Tianjin's hygienic status, represented by the Dark Drifters, was preserved exactly because of the multiple political divisions of the city. By the 1920s, the British Settlement seemed to have erased many of the explicit signs of racial distinction from their regulations. Hygienic modernity in the British Settlement mandated the setting of boundaries in stone and concrete. Soon the residents of the British Settlement discovered that having their own municipal water supply did not produce the desired effect of freeing them from interaction with and dependence upon Chinese. The central public health concern for the concession became the management of waste water and excreta. Post-1900, Tianjin became a showcase for European and Japanese imperial ambitions in East Asia.

Keywords: weisheng; Dark Drifters; British Settlement; hygienic modernity; public health; Tianjin; water supply

Chapter.  12010 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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