The new initiative is a collaborative project on the historical roots and the global reach of the Greater Bay area. It builds on the Institute’s research strengths cumulated in the past ten years by the cluster on urban hubs and its agenda on inter-Asian connections. It will study the hybrid cultural traits at the region’s core (Hong Kong/Macau/Guangzhou nexus) and the extensive maritime connections created by the human, ideational and material flows through the region from the 18th to the 21st centuries.
The team will look at the long history of global trade, entrepreneurship and infrastructure building, the region’s maritime/riverine ecology as backdrop of epidemics and related health/food technologies, as well as the dynamic intra- and inter-regional conflicts and integration of cultural and religious ideas and institutions. This project will shed new light on the present economic dynamism of the region and its potential as a high-tech industrial belt by examining its unique but under-studied historical position in China’s maritime south. The project will involve all full-time academic staff of the Institute, colleagues in other HKU units, and in other local universities , Sun Yat-sen University (Guangzhou and Zhuhai campuses), National Technology University in Singapore, Yale University, Columbia University, Cornell University in the US, CNRS (France), Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Germany).
In 2020 – 21 the initiative will organize lectures, seminars, workshops and conferences to discuss possible modes of collaboration, initiate data farming on the region, and recruit postgraduate students. We will also establish formal collaboration with partner institutions in Asia, US, and Europe.