Collaborative Colonial Power
The Making of the Hong Kong Chinese
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU
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Most past research on Hong Kong has been generally aimed to inform a diverse audience about the place and its people. Beginning in the 1950s, the aim of scholars and journalists who came to Hong Kong was to study China, which had not yet opened its doors to fieldwork by outsiders. Accordingly, the relevance of Hong Kong was limited to its status as a society adjacent to mainland China. After the opening of China, research on Hong Kong shifted focus towards colonial legitimacy and the return of sovereignty.
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This book represents a development of research initially undertaken toward my PhD dissertation in Cultural Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney (2002). I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Professor Stephen Muecke for his academic supervision and intellectual guidance over the years. Without his friendship and assistance this study could not have been completed. I would also like to thank Professor Meaghan Morris, who has read drafts of this ...
Introduction: Coloniality and Hong Kong Chineseness
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British imperialist forces captured Hong Kong in 1842 and ruled the place as both a free port and a colony until recently. However, in both popular and academic discourses, people have almost forgotten Hong Kong’s status as a colonial entity. Liberal-modernist historiographies of Hong Kong usually tell a romanticized story about the growth of Hong Kong, characterizing it as a utopia of laissez-faire economics — a narrative that, highly sympathetic to ...
I - Collaboration and Institutions
1 - Social Fabric of a Collaborative Colonialism
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A Victorian saying went like this: by acquiring Hong Kong, Great Britain had cut a notch in the body of China as a woodsman cuts a notch in a great oak he is presently going to fell. As a “notch,” Hong Kong, seized by the British navy in the First Opium War (1840–1842), has possessed a value that can never be measured in terms of territorial conquest. The British sought a place where they could establish an independent commercial and military base free ...
2 - Cultural Coloniality: The English Language and Schooling
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Poet and educationalist Chris Searle once wrote that “the English language has been a monumental force and institution of oppression and rabid exploitation throughout the 400 years of imperialist history… It was made to scorn the languages it sought to replace, and told the colonized peoples that mimicry of its primacy among languages was a necessary badge of their social mobility as well as their continued humiliation and subjection… The English ...
3 - Pedagogy of Imperialism: Indirect Rule and HKU
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Late-nineteenth-century Hong Kong witnessed the rapid development of its English-language education. But it was also a period when many other British colonies cried out in alarm about crises in their English-language education systems. Valentine Chirol (1910), for example, reports how Macaulay’s famous Minute on Indian Education in 1835 inaugurated a highly successful system of English-language education (especially during its first three decades) ...
II - Hong Kong In-Betweens
4 - Double Identity of the Colonial Intelligentsia: Ho Kai
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Postcolonial studies have dispensed much ink on the ambivalent state that colonial rule perhaps left to the colonized people in the “contact zone.” Frantz Fanon’s famous “black skin–white masks” metaphor reflects his effort to capture the miserable split identity of the colonized: he asserts that colonial authority is so overwhelmingly dominant that it works whenever colonized subjects try to mimic the colonizer’s culture. Homi Bhabha, in contrast, argues ...
5 - Chinese Cultural Nationalism and Southern Localism
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In contrast to the one-China conception in dominance now, regionalism was indeed a key theme of early Republican Chinese politics, as there was no stable central Chinese government until Chiang Kai-shek led the Northern Expedition in 1926. The lingering regional rivalries were partly a continuation of the late- Qing situation. The southern provinces, largely out of reach of Qing imperial control, could be used by various forces as testing grounds for new projects ...
6 - Cultural Cold War and the Diasporic Nation
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Global politics after World War II included the decolonization of many former colonies; yet, at the same time, the global politics of this time ushered in the Cold War, which lasted for the next half century. Many former colonies fell into the categories of either developing nations or underdeveloped nations and found their independence in a world deeply divided. This state of affairs meant not so much that the former colonies would embark on autonomous development as ...
III - Lingering Colonialism
7 - Indigenizing Colonial Power and the Return to China
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It is nowadays a commonplace to characterize the 1970s as a monumental break for Hong Kong. While many praise the economic take-off, quite some others point to the cultural and social transformation that happened then. The rise of political activisms and radicalisms among the university students is often referred to as an important cause of those profound changes, which gave rise to the new political outlook of the postwar’s generation of locally born Hong ...
8 - Northbound Colonialism: Reinventing Hong Kong Chinese
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Hong Kong’s colonial subjection to the Western powers in the past has not denied the space for Chinese national identity of most of its citizens to grow and transform. The co-evolution of colonialism and Chinese nationalism, the strong continuity between nationalist and colonial governmentality, etc., have almost made themselves indistinguishable from each other in many ways. Critical scholarships, couched in all too simple binary opposite terms are, therefore, ...
Conclusion: Re-theorizing Colonial Power
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As early as 1953, John Gallagher and Ronald Robinson (1953) in the article “The imperialism of free trade” criticized the classical, including Marxist, theories of imperialism for their Eurocentricity which seeks explanation for the rise of colonial empires in terms of circumstances in Europe only. Almost twenty years later, Robinson elaborated such criticism in a paper presented at a seminar on imperialism at Oxford. In that paper entitled “Non-European foundations of ...
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Page Count: 276
Publication Year: 2009
Series Title: Hong Kong Culture and Society