Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series

Marginalized Intellectuals in Hong Kong in the 1950s: A Study of the Democratic Socialists in the British Colony

2023-11-28 12:002023-11-28 13:00Asia/Hong_KongMarginalized Intellectuals in Hong Kong in the 1950s: A Study of the Democratic Socialists in the British Colony

Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series
Marginalized Intellectuals in Hong Kong in the 1950s: A Study of the Democratic Socialists in the British Colony

Dr. Kenneth Yung (Hong Kong University Press, The University of Hong Kong)

Date/Time: November 28, 2023, 12:00 – 1:00 pm (HKT) | November 27, 2023, 8:00 – 9:00 pm (PST)
Venue: Lecture Hall, G/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong or via Zoom
Language: English
Enquiry: (Email) ihss@hku.hk

    2023-11-28 12:002023-11-28 13:00Asia/Hong_KongMarginalized Intellectuals in Hong Kong in the 1950s: A Study of the Democratic Socialists in the British Colony

    Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series
    Marginalized Intellectuals in Hong Kong in the 1950s: A Study of the Democratic Socialists in the British Colony

    Dr. Kenneth Yung (Hong Kong University Press, The University of Hong Kong)

    Date/Time: November 28, 2023, 12:00 – 1:00 pm (HKT) | November 27, 2023, 8:00 – 9:00 pm (PST)
    Venue: Lecture Hall, G/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong or via Zoom
    Language: English
    Enquiry: (Email) ihss@hku.hk

      Overview

      Title:

      Marginalized Intellectuals in Hong Kong in the 1950s: A Study of the Democratic Socialists in the British Colony

      Speaker:

      Dr. Kenneth Yung (Hong Kong University Press, The University of Hong Kong)

      Date/Time:

      November 28, 2023, 12:00 - 1:00 pm (HKT) | November 27, 2023, 8:00 – 9:00 pm (PST)

      Venue:

      Lecture Hall, G/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong (Map), or Via Zoom

      Language:

      English

      Enquiry:

      Title:

      Marginalized Intellectuals in Hong Kong in the 1950s: A Study of the Democratic Socialists in the British Colony

      Speaker:

      Dr. Kenneth Yung (Hong Kong University Press, The University of Hong Kong)

      Date/Time:

      November 28, 2023, 12:00 - 1:00 pm (HKT) | November 27, 2023, 8:00 – 9:00 pm (PST)

      Venue:

      Lecture Hall, G/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong (Map), or Via Zoom

      Language:

      English

      Enquiry:

      Abstract

      On the eve of the Communist Revolution in 1949, a large number of Chinese intellectuals fled the Chinese mainland, never to return. Many of them traveled to Taiwan and continued their quest for Chinese democracy on the island. They were also fascinated by the recent global anti-utopian Cold War currents. For this reason, democratic socialism was marginalized on the island. Instead, its adherents relocated to Hong Kong. This paper looks at the Hong Kong-based democratic socialists and examines their political thought as presented in their publications. Tracing the history of Chinese intellectuals in twentieth-century China, I argue that these democratic socialists were marginalized by two trends of radicalisation. On the one hand, the domination of communism after 1949 made the moderate democratic socialists unable to survive in the Chinese mainland. On the other hand, the arrival of anti-utopian Cold War currents from the West in Taiwan made these democratic socialists uneasy to express their views there. Compared to the communists in Mainland China and the extreme anti-utopian liberals on Taiwan, these democratic socialists were marginalised and stood on the fringe of the Chinese intellectual circle. They had no place to stay but in Hong Kong where a certain degree of freedom of expression was guaranteed by the British colonial government. Hence, most of the publications about democratic socialism mushroomed in the colony. Although the democratic socialists could hardly make a breakthrough in this school of thought, they were still keen to defend their belief against the hostile communists and anti-utopian liberals. They were also able to find the New Confucians as their allies in Hong Kong. Finally, this paper will discuss the legacy of these democratic socialists in the contemporary era.

      ABOUT THE SPEAKER

      Kenneth Yung is an affiliate member in the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is also an acquisitions editor of Hong Kong University Press. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Sydney. He is a historian in modern Chinese intellectual history and postwar Hong Kong. His latest monograph, entitled Chinese Émigré Intellectuals and Their Quest for Liberal Values in the Cold War, 1949–1969 (Brill, 2021) examines the liberal tradition of self-exiled intellectuals in Hong Kong and Taiwan during the early Cold War era. He is now writing a second monograph that examines the diaspora of Chinese intellectuals via Hong Kong to the Asia-Pacific region in the 1950s and 1960s. He has published articles in various journals such as Twentieth-century China, Journal of Chinese Studies and Journal of Chinese Overseas, and book chapters in Palgrave Macmillan and Springer.

      About the Series

      This series aims to introduce a wide range of cutting-edge research in various disciplines and areas. If you have any questions about this seminar or would be interested in giving a talk, please contact Dr. Ghassan Moazzin (gmoazzin@hku.hk). 

      (keep only with lunch arrangement) Sandwiches and light refreshments will be served for registered participants attending the seminar in person.

      POSTER