Meeting Place

Encounters across Cultures in Hong Kong, 1841–1984


Edited by Elizabeth Sinn and Christopher Munn

ISBN : 978-988-8390-84-7


November 2017

220 pages, 6″ x 9″, 27 b&w illus.; 2 tables

  • HK$380.00

Meeting Place: Encounters across Cultures in Hong Kong, 1841–1984 presents detailed empirical studies of day-to-day interactions between people of different cultures in a variety of settings. The broad conclusion—that there was sustained and multilevel contact between men and women of different cultures—will challenge and complicate traditional historical understandings of Hong Kong as a city either of rigid segregation or of pervasive integration.

Given its geographical location, its status as a free port, and its role as a center of migration, Hong Kong was an extraordinarily porous place. People of diverse cultures met and mingled here, often with unexpected results. The case studies in this book draw both on previously unused sources and on a rigorous rereading of familiar materials. They explore relationships between and within the Japanese, Eurasian, German, Portuguese, British, Chinese, and other communities in areas of activity that have often been overlooked—from the schoolroom and the family home to the courtroom and international trading concern, from the gardens of Government House to boarding houses for destitute sailors. In their diverse experiences we see not just East meeting West, but also East meeting East, and South meeting North—in fact, a range of complex and dynamic processes that seem to render obsolete any simplistic conception of “East meets West.”

Elizabeth Sinn is the author of Power and Charity: A Chinese Merchant Elite in Colonial Hong Kong and Pacific Crossing: California Gold, Chinese Migration and the Making of Hong Kong. Christopher Munn is the author of Anglo-China: Chinese People and British Rule in Hong Kong, 1841–1880.

“Hong Kong’s people have too often been ignored in histories of this colonial port. This important volume restores them through a series of fascinating case studies of connections, collaborations, and conflicts across diverse cultures, languages, and interests. Here we have the bedroom, law court, restaurant, school, dockyard, and offices amongst the other places where Hong Kong’s history was really made.” —Robert Bickers, author of Out of China: How the Chinese Ended the Era of Western Domination

“With richly researched studies of heretofore little-known aspects of Hong Kong society and history, Meeting Place offers perceptive insights into the city’s vital role as a focal point for the intersection of diverse cultures, social classes, institutions, and practices. Taking us far beyond the hackneyed stereotype of ‘East meets West,’ this volume provides a kaleidoscopic view of the rich multiplicity, multi-directionality, and hybridity of this global hub.” —Emma J. Teng, author of Eurasian: Mixed Identities in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, 1842–1943