ASIA 373/HIST 373

History of Hong Kong

Poster: Hong Kong people using Hong Kong goods
"Hong Kong People Using HK Goods"

2017 Winter
Monday 1600–1900
Buchanan B313

Prof. Leo K. Shin
Buchanan Tower 1223
tel. 604.822.5167

Office hours:
Tu/Wed 14:00–15:00; and by appointment
Course web site:

New Information

  • Open to all interested students. To be offered again in 2018W.

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About the Course

This course explores the history, culture, and identities of Hong Kong from the port's pre-colonial settings in the early nineteenth century to its post-colonial contexts. Its goals are to help students develop the language and tools to understand the metamorphoses of this most unusual metropolis as well as to further their skills in historical analysis. This course encourages students to critically consider Hong Kong's multifaceted identities as well as to take into account the local, national, and transnational (not to mention international) contexts of its spectacular transformations. In addition to that of the departments of History and Asian Studies, this course may be used to satisfy the requirements for the programs of Asian Canadian and Asian Migrations Studies and International Relations (but please check with the corresponding program advisors).

By the end of the term, students should:

  • be able to identify some of the major themes, events, and historiographical debates concerning the history of Hong Kong;
  • gain a better understanding of the variety of sources available for the study of Hong Kong;
  • become more critical consumers and producers of historical knowledge.


Attendance/Participation 15%
Reading Notes 20%
Newspaper Column 20%
Mid-term Checkup 5%
Research Assignment 20%
Take-home Examination 20%
Virtual Exhibition (optional) (40%)
City Inscribed+ (bonus) (up to 5%)

Students are expected to have completed the assigned readings before the weekly meetings. In general, this course follows the grading practices external link icon outlined in the Academic Calendar:

Grade Percent
A+ 90–100
A 85–89
A- 80–84
B+ 76–79
B 72–75
B- 68–71
C+ 64–67
C 60–63
C- 55–59
D 50–54
F 0–49

This is a challenging course. Students are not expected to have prior knowledge of the history of Hong Kong, but they are expected to make serious efforts to learn to think historically.

Important Dates

Jan. 8 First session
Jan. 17 Last day to withdraw without the "W" standing
Jan. 29 Proposal due (for virtual exhibition option)
Feb. 9 Last day to withdraw
Feb. 12 Family day (no class);
Outline of newspaper column due
Feb. 13–16 Mid-term checkup
Feb. 19–23 Reading week
Mar. 2 Newspaper column due
Mar. 16 Draft research assignment due
Mar. 26 Last session
Apr. 2 Easter Monday (no class);
Research assignment due
Apr. 16 Take-home exam/virtual exhibition due




Alternative perspectives on Hong Kong history:

Quick references:

Scholarly literature (see also Research Guide: Hong Kong external link icon):

Historical documents (see also Research Guide: Hong Kong external link icon):

Newspapers, periodicals, and photographs (see also Research Guide: Hong Kong external link icon):

  • Bard, Solomon, ed. Voices From the Past: Hong Kong, 1842–1918. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2002.
  • List of Newspapers in Hong Kong external link icon
    • Quite a few of the current newspapers in Hong Kong (including South China Morning Post external link icon) are accessible through Factiva external link icon or similar databases through UBC.
    • Note that some Chinese-language newspapers (such as Ming Pao Daily external link icon [1959–]) do occasionally publish bilingual editorials.
  • Newspaper Society of Hong Kong external link icon (in Chinese)
  • South China Morning Post external link icon (1903–)
  • Old HK Newspapers external link icon (Hong Kong Public Libraries)
      Searchable by date (yyyy-mm-dd) and by text of 13 Chinese- and English-language newspapers:
    • 香港工商日報 (Chinese) (1926/04/01 – 1984/11/30)
    • 華僑日報 (Chinese) (1947/05/01 – 1991/12/31)
    • 香港華字日報 (Chinese) (1895/01/31 – 1940/12/31)
    • 香港華字晚報 (Chinese) (1937/01/28 – 1938/01/27)
    • 大公報 (Chinese) (1938/08/13 – 1991/12/31)
    • 天光報 (Chinese) (1933/02/07 – 1940/11/30)
    • 遐邇貫珍 (Chinese) (1853/08 – 1856/05)
    • 循環日報 (Chinese) (1874/05/16 – 1886/01/30)
    • China Mail (1866/01/04 – 1961/12/29)
    • Hong Kong Daily Press (1864/01/04 – 1941/09/30)
    • Hong Kong Sunday Herald (1929/01/06 – 1950/10/29)
    • Hong Kong Telegraph (1881/06/16 – 1951/03/30)
    • Hong Kong Weekly Press (1895/01/03 – 1909/12/24)
  • History in Pictures external link icon (Hong Kong Public Records Office)
  • Hong Kong Image Database external link icon (HKU)
  • Photos of Old Hong Kong external link icon (

Memoirs and interviews (see also Research Guide: Hong Kong external link icon):

Literary writings (see also Research Guide: Hong Kong external link icon):

Movies, comics, multimedia (see also Research Guide: Hong Kong external link icon):