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  Project Flame: Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship@CityU

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  Regional Innovation Systems in Post-reform China: Indigenous Innovation and Regional Transformation in the Pearl River Delta

  Chinese Local Governments, Industrial Clusters, and Regional Disparities

  Time to leave? The Influence of Resource Dependence Structures on Sequential Investment Termination by Venture Capital Firms

  Children of Empire: Eurasians in Hong Kong, China and Britain, 1830-1960

  Antecedents and Consequences of the Establishment of Host Country Headquarter in Large Emerging Markets: Evidence from BRIC Countries

  Hong Kong Women Filmmakers: Sex, Politics and Cinema Aesthetics, 1997-2010

  Three Eurasian women in Western dress (Photo taken in Hong Kong in 1909)  
  Four Eurasian women in Chinese dress (Photo taken in Hong Kong in 1909)  
Both photographs are from the Hedgeland Collection, School of Oriental & African Studies and are reproduced courtesy of SOAS Library
Photographs constitute a unique record of the intimate history of China’s interactions with Britain and its empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a history on which the written record is usually silent. Discovering family photographs tucked among the piles of correspondence and diplomatic memoranda in the archives first ignited my interest in the experiences of people of mixed European and Chinese ancestry born out of contact between China and the British empire. The product of this research is the first comprehensive study of the life histories of Eurasians in Hong Kong, the Chinese treaty ports, and Britain from the mid-nineteenth century until the 1960s. Using a rich base of untapped sources from China, Hong Kong, Britian and the United States, including memoirs, consular correspondence and educational records, this project maps the life trajectories of Eurasians from childhood to retirement. While the contributions of illustrious Eurasian families such as the Ho Tungs have received well-deserved recognition, this project draws attention to the gamut of Eurasian life experiences. While Eurasians were often valued by colonial elites for their ability to cross between cultures – an ability which is suggested visually in these two photographs of Eurasian women in Chinese and Western dress – they were also shunned as evidence of the transgression of ostensibly impermeable community boundaries. Some individuals became notorious, such as Lawrence Kentwell, an Oxford-trained barrister and crusader against the entrenched racism of treaty-port institutions whose life ended ignominiously with a conviction for collaborating with the Japanese wartime puppet government. Many more lived quiet and ordinary lives on the China coast. As this research shows, all were a constitutive part of society in Britain and Asia and contributed in significant ways to the economies, communities and cultures of port cities.
  Dr Catherine LADDS  

This project breaks new ground by situating the life stories of Eurasians in the context of the professional and migration opportunities – in addition to the growing fear of racial ‘mixing’ – generated by the expansion of European empires. It demonstrates how many Eurasians were able to draw upon personal and professional ties across the globe in order to move between different sites of empire in an era of hostility towards Chinese migration, thereby forming international webs of familial connections. To give one apt example, Lawrence Kentwell was born in Hong Kong and lived in the United States, Britain and Shanghai, while his wife was Hawaiian. By combining the methodologies of social and political history, particularly by considering how intimate family histories intersected with political concerns such as policing the international movement of peoples, this project shows how the ability of Eurasians to exploit a ‘mixed’ identity was constrained by increasingly strict definitions of national belonging in China and the British empire from the 1920s onwards. By drawing attention to the ways in which Eurasians negotiated racial and national categories, this research can help us to understand the ways in which ethnically-defined concepts of citizenship impinge upon the lives of individuals in the present day.

Dr Catherine LADDS
Department of History

Hong Kong Baptist University