SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

Travels with Lao She: from Beijing to Britain, Manhattan to Mars

Professor Jeff Wasserstrom (University of California at Irvine), Professor Robert Bickers (University of Bristol)

Date: 2 June 2016Time: 12:00 PM

Finishes: 2 June 2016Time: 2:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G51a

Type of Event: Seminar

Lao She - Mr Ma and son


Lao She is now usually remembered for the novel known in the West as Rickshaw or Rickshaw Boy, but he was much more than a talented crafter of realistic stories about Beijing, the city where he was born and where he died a tragic death during the Cultural Revolution.  He was a globetrotting figure who taught in London, was feted in New York, and wrote everything from a science fiction story set on Mars to a darkly hued comedy of manners novel, Er Ma (Mr. Ma and Son), which features two cross cultural romances and skewers Yellow Peril fears and Fu Manchu fiction.  These two talks, both by contributors to The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China, which will be published just as the event takes place, will put the author into comparative and historical perspective, touching on events ranging from the Boxer Uprising to the Japanese invasions of the 1930s, while exploring issues such as shifting British views of China and Chinese immigrants in the early 1900s.


Professor Robert Bickers is the author of, among other books, The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, 1832-1914 (2011) and Getting Stuck in for Shanghai: Putting the Kibosh on the Kaiser from the Bund (2014).

Professor Jeffrey Wassersrtrom's most recent books are, as author, Eight Juxtapositions: China through Imperfect Analogies from Mark Twain to Manchukuo, and, as editor, The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China, both 2016 publications.

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

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