After years of research — in archives, attics, and interviews with descendants of some of Hong Kong’s first families — an inescapable conclusion is that without the Armenians, Parsis, Jews, Portuguese and above all the Eurasians, this place would not have worked. So real was this community of people from around the world that it was their sacrifice – of Eurasian soldiers during World War Two, of Portuguese, Chinese and other agents behind the lines, of Bohra traders protecting western bankers, Parsi women feeding all comers – that laid the groundwork for post-war Hong Kong.
Those who have read the book include Ian Buruma who wrote: ‘As a history of Hong Kong, not just as a British colony, or an exotic Chinese enclave, but as a cosmopolitan city of many creeds and races, Asian and European, Vaudine England’s book is unsurpassed. Her take on the so-called Eurasians, who have played such a large part in Hong Kong’s history, is fresh and essential to a better understanding of this unique place’.
Vaudine England has decades of journalism around Southeast Asia and social history book production in Hong Kong behind her. Now relocated out of Hong Kong to Amsterdam, she is a late-career PhD candidate at LIAS, deciphering whether Hong Kong was an Asian or a Chinese place.
Limin Teh is a lecturer in Modern Chinese History at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, specializing in social history of twentieth-century China, urban history, history of work, Japanese imperialism, and co-evolution of states and markets. Her current research focuses on geopolitics, mining labor, and empire.
Chiara Formichi is an associate professor of World Religions at the Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University. She specializes in Islam as a lived religion and as a political ideology in twentieth-century Indonesia and Southeast Asia more broadly. Another area of interest is Muslim minorities in greater southeastern Asia, including Malaya, Burma and Hong Kong.
Tom Hoogervorst is a senior researcher at KITLV and adjunct professor at the Department of Indonesian at the State University of Malang (UM). He is interested in the histories and languages of Southeast Asia, in particular Indonesia.
This seminar is a hybrid event and will be held in the conference room of KITLV (room 1.68) and online via Zoom, on Thursday 8 June, from 15.30 – 17.00 PM (CET).
If you want to join this seminar on location, please register via: [email protected].
If you wish to join this webinar online, please register here.
Cover of the book Fortune’s Bazaar: The Making of Hong Kong.