HKHC Speaker’s Series: Prof. Cecilia L. Chu, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Book Talk: ‘Building Colonial Hong Kong: Speculative Development and Segregation in the City’
Date and Time: 24 October 2023, 3:30 – 5pm (BST)
Venue: Lecture Room 8 (LT8), Arts Complex, University of Bristol
To attend, please register in Eventbrite.
In Building Colonial Hong Kong, Chu traces what she calls “speculative urbanism” where different constituencies–British developers, colonial officials, as well as property-owning and working-class Chinese–struggled over the politics of colonial difference and property rights in shaping the built environment. These struggles helped to determine racial and class segregation, the provision of urban services, and practices of cultural representation and identity formation. While the examples of opportunism and speculation chronicled in Building Colonial Hong Kong will resonate with those familiar with Hong Kong’s property market today, her exploration of the interplay between British colonial governance and the political practices of native propertied classes offer new insights into Hong Kong’s development. Engaging a broad, interdisciplinary, and geographically comparative body of literature, Chu moves beyond her case study to make bigger claims about the relationships and tensions among liberal property markets, racist exclusion, cultural representations, and various “improvement” schemes within urban colonial contexts.
This book has just received the 2023 Best Book in Non-North American Urban History Award by the Urban History Association.