Events & Seminars

HUMA MPhil Thesis Presentation
Experiencing Colonial Modernity: Mainland Travellers in Hong Kong, 1919-37 體驗殖民現代性: 中國大陸遊客在香港(1919-37)(Friday 17 May 2019)



This thesis investigates the mainland Chinese travellers’ observations, perceptions, and interpretation about Hong Kong, as a modern city developed under the British colonial rule, from a nationalistic perspective in the 1920-30s. Since the 1990s, scholars of Hong Kong cultural studies have started to study Chinese nationalistic imagination about the city of Hong Kong. Most of the discussions raised by these scholars were about how those visiting mainland Chinese intellectuals criticized Hong Kong’s various features which were, in their understanding, contradicting with the Chinese national interests and ethnic identity (e.g. that the Hong Kong Chinese never felt themselves belonging to China). They did not pay much attention to how those mainland Chinese intellectuals observed and engaged with the modern features of colonial Hong Kong. Moreover, those historical materials to which they referred are mostly from a book published in the early-1980s that complied of some forty pieces of Chinese intellectuals’ writings written between the 1920s and 1941, and the views of these mainlander about Hong Kong were largely negative. By utilizing a wider source or evidence, many of them have not been cited before, this thesis elaborates diversified experiences of mainland travellers in Hong Kong. It argues that Hong Kong’s modern features not only brought the mainland travellers sensational stimulation, but also took Hong Kong as their learning target in terms of civic culture, business operation, etc.; the viewpoints and attitudes of mainland travellers’ towards Hong Kong were more complicated than what many scholars have suggested in the past. Furthermore, travelogues sometimes contained incorrect information about Hong Kong and travellers also wrote with cultural or political bias. By referring to historical materials of Hong Kong, this thesis reviews these mainland traveller’ writings to see how much of those writings about Hong Kong are factually correct.






May 17, 2019 (Friday)
3:00 pm
Room 3301, Academic Building (Lift 2)