City Between Empires: Nationalism, Colonialism and Identity in Hong Kong, 1841-Present

As one of the last remnants of the British Empire, Hong Kong is an enigmatic space, a city caught between empires. Its history has been rocked and shaken by the tumult of nearby mainland China, and its development inextricably tied to its connections with the global network of British colonies, belonging to both but distinct from either. Hong Kong’s unique place in the world, a global city with a very strong local identity, makes it an ideal place to explore global themes: Nationalism, colonialism, empire, and the construction of identity.

This class focuses on how historians write history. To develop these methodological skills, we will be critically analyzing a wide variety of historical sources; the primary readings should occupy much of your attention. By the end of this class, students will learn to think about Hong Kong’s place in the modern world, while also thinking about approaching historical themes through a variety of mediums, including film, art, statistical data, census and political cartoons.