Research Clusters



      • John D. Wong (HKIHSS, The University of Hong Kong)
      • Helen F. Siu (Anthropology, Yale University; HKIHSS, The University of Hong Kong)

      Core members

      Main Theme


      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).


      Events and Activities

      • Lectures and Seminars

      "Dragon Lady Traders of the 1970s: How the US and China Rebuilt a Trade Relationship Through Textiles and Hong Kong" by Dr. Elizabeth Ingleson (September 14) (Details)

      "Hong Kong Industry and the Taiwan Developmental State: The Case of Meyer Aluminum, 1970 – 1990" by Dr. Macabe Keliher (May 18, 2023) (Details)

      "Mining concessions and customary law in Malaya, Sarawak, and Patani: on the Chinese question after the 1880s" by Dr. Nicholas Y. H. Wong (April 27, 2023) (Details)

      "How Fangyan became Dialects: Language Politics, Identity and Power in China, 1900-Today" by Dr. Gina Anne Tam (February 9, 2023) (Details)

      "The 123 Incident: Macau, the Cultural Revolution, and the 1960s World" by Dr. Cathryn H. Clayton (December 15, 2022) (Details)

      “ORENCO and Chinese Small Hydropower in the United States” by Dr. Arunabh Ghosh (November 24, 2022) (Details)

      “Between Hierarchy and Patriarchy: The Duality of Chinese Bureaucracy in History” by Professor Xueguang Zhou (October 25, 2022) (Details)

      “Oysterman and Refugee: Hong Kong and China Between the Tides, 1949 – 1997” by Dr. Denise Y. Ho (May 4, 2022) (Details)

      “Funny Money Circulation and Fabric Exports From China to Dubai Through Indian Trading Networks” by Dr. Ka-Kin Cheuk (March 18, 2022) (Details)

      “Green Gold and Paper Gold: Financing the Chinese-American Tea Trade before the Opium War” by Dr. Dan Du (March 4, 2022) (Details)

      “Sailing from Canton to Macao: A Map of the Waterways between the Two Cities” by Dr. Ronald C. Po (February 24, 2022) (Details)

      “Cross-border Integration from a Geographical Perspective” by Dr. Junxi Qian (December 9, 2021) (Details)

      “Chaozhou, Canton, and Hong Kong: The Rise and Fall of Chaozhou Pewter Workshops in Qing China” by Dr. Yijun Wang (November 25, 2021) (Details)

      “Situating Space through Verse: A Study of the Ten Verses of Hà Tiên by Mo Tianci (Mạc Thiên Tứ)” by Dr. Xing Hang (November 4, 2021) (Details)

      “Pearl River Delta Migration and the Changing Resource Frontier in the Australasia Colonies” by Professor Sheng Fei (October 21, 2021) (Details)

      “Global Networks of Malaria: Tropical Medicine in Modern China” by Dr. Yubin Shen (September 30, 2021) (Details)

      “Tropical Enlightenment: Chinese Sugar, Creole Dutch, and the First European Learned Society in Asia, 1778 – 1800” by Mr. Guanmian Xu (June 24, 2021) (Details)

      “Use Hong Kong to Construct Bao’an”: Shenzhen during the Mao Era and the Origins of China’s Reform and Opening by Dr. Taomo Zhou (May 19, 2021) (Details)

      “Home Is Not Here” & “Home Is Where We Are” by Professor Wang Gungwu (April 21, 2021) (Details)

      “Spreading the Word of God in Wartime China: The China Bible House in the Second Sino-Japanese War” by Dr. George Mak (April 13, 2021) (Details)

      “From Medicine to a Staple Food — How Science and Tradition are Shaping the Milk Production and Consumption in Modern China” by Dr. Veronica Sau-Wa Mak (March 8, 2021) (Details)

      “Vice City: Hong Kong in the Anglo-American War on Drugs, 1970 – 1979” by Dr. Philip Thai (February 26, 2021) (Details)

      Future Plan

      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.