Past and Present: the Shifting Hong Kong Identity

Florence Mok's picture
May 26, 2017
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, History Education, Linguistics, Political History / Studies, Social History / Studies

Marking the 20th year anniversary of  Hong Kong’s transfer of sovereignty from Britain to China, York is organizing a timely inter-disciplinary symposium in 2017 about one of the most debated topics, the changing Hong Kong identity.

Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. Since the handover in 1997, there has been a rapid surge in localism. In 2014, there was the Umbrella Revolution, when hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people participated in protests regarding the Hong Kong constitution.

Localism intensified a clash of values between Chinese and Hong Kong identities. A stronger Hong Kong identity developed, especially among younger generation. The change of identity has affected many aspects of Hong Kong society, for instance, language attitudes, policy-making, political mobilizations, tourism and academia. However, most existing work only focuses on identity change after 1997. A longer perspective is crucial, and a history of identity formation should be inter-disciplinary.

Our symposium focuses on the changes in Hong Kong identity over time. Nine speakers from different departments and institutions will be invited to participate in this one-day symposium. A variety of inter-disciplinary discussions are expected on changing attitudes towards languages, social movements, political mobilizations and evolving identities from the 1960s to the present.

The symposium will provide opportunities for inter-departmental/ institutional discussions, and will be of interest to students and scholars from fields, such as Asian studies, and post-colonial studies, a large field for literary scholars. It will also advance scholarship of Britain, Hong Kong and public discourse about colonial past, and how identity affects constitutional and cultural change.

List of Speakers:
Jette Hansen Edwards (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Grace Cao (University of York)
John Joseph (University Edinburgh) 
Gary Luk (University of London & University of Cambridge)
Florence Mok (University of York)
Chi-kwan Mark (Royal Holloway, Univeristy of London)
Paul Morris (University College of London) 
Stevi Jackson ( University of York)
David Clayton (University of York)

Contact Info: 

For registration, please go to .

If you have any other enquiries, please contact Florence Mok ( Grace Cao (