Troubling American Women

Narratives of Gender and Nation in Hong Kong


Stacilee Ford

ISBN : 978-988-8083-11-4

Cultural Studies, Gender Studies

April 2011

256 pages, 6″ x 9″, 10 b&w illus.

  • HK$250.00

American women have lived in Hong Kong, and in neighboring Macao, for nearly two centuries. Many were changed by their encounter with Chinese life and British colonialism. Their openness to new experiences set them apart both individually and as a group. Equally, a certain “pedagogical impulse” gave them a reputation for outspokenness that sometimes troubled those around them. Drawing on memoirs, diaries, newspapers, film, and other texts, Stacilee Ford tells the stories of several American women and explores how, through dramatically changing times, they communicated their notions of national identity and gender. Troubling American Women is a lively and provocative study of cross-cultural encounters, shedding light on the connections between the histories of Hong Kong and the US, on the impact of Americanization in Hong Kong, and on the ways in which Hong Kong people used stereotypes of American womanhood in popular culture.

Troubling American Women will appeal to students and scholars in history, gender and cultural studies and to all readers with an interest in the encounter between China and the West.

Stacilee Ford has lived in Hong Kong for 18 years. She teaches history and American studies at the University of Hong Kong and is the author of Mabel Cheung Yuen-Ting’s An Autumn’s Tale.

“Stacilee Ford’s idea of gendered American exceptionalism is astute, provocative, and convincing. An American woman who has lived for years in Hong Kong, she possesses the rare sensibility to be at once critical and compassionate, as is evident throughout the book.” —King-Kok Cheung, professor of English and Asian American studies, University of California, Los Angeles

“Although American women have been coming to Hong Kong since the early nineteenth century, Stacilee Ford is the first scholar to take them seriously. This theoretically informed and empirically grounded book will appeal to anyone interested in Hong Kong and in American studies, gender studies, and diaspora studies.” —John M. Carroll, professor of history, University of Hong Kong

“This essential and engrossing work is the culmination of many years of dedication by a fine scholar to women’s history in Hong Kong and its region.” —Susanna Hoe, author of The Private Life of Old Hong Kong: Western Women in the British Colony, 1841–1941