File Download
Supplementary

postgraduate thesis: Death in Hong Kong : managing the dead in a colonial city from 1841 to 1913

TitleDeath in Hong Kong : managing the dead in a colonial city from 1841 to 1913
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2018
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Tam, C. [譚進]. (2018). Death in Hong Kong : managing the dead in a colonial city from 1841 to 1913. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractThis thesis provides a history of how death was managed in colonial Hong Kong from 1841 to 1913. It discusses how dead bodies were dealt with, from the creation and organisation of burial spaces, to the transportation and sanitisation of corpses and the development of state regulations concerning the dead. It also explores understandings of death in this colonial context in relation to the racial differences that underpinned colonialism, to notions of sacredness, perceptions of the ‘tropical’ environment and developments in medicine. By studying colonial state documents, materials from religious and philanthropic organisations, newspapers, travel diaries, maps and other visual sources of evidence, this thesis provides a social history of the ways in which death was managed in the first seven decades of colonial Hong Kong. This thesis argues that the management of death was seen as a marker of civilisation, differentiating the ‘civilised’ from the ‘uncivilised’. It also emerged as an indicator of modernity as scientific European approaches to death management developed in contrast to purportedly ‘backward’ or ‘superstitious’ Chinese practices. I argue that death in colonial Hong Kong was not merely a matter to be handled by the colonial administration by showing how its management served as a focal point for new community ties among residents of this colonial city, in spite of the often-transient nature of their residence. Death management was an important source of power relations in the colony as individuals and groups presented their demands around this issue. Finally, this study complements recent global histories of death through a detailed study of the subject within a context of European imperialism in East Asia. It builds upon recent scholarship and responds to some of the current limitations of the historiography of death. While Western histories of death have tended to theorise death from the starting point of Western European and North American experience, scholarship on non-European cultures, dealing with ‘Chinese death practices’ has often taken a relativist approach, tending to portray death practices as more static over time, and as developing at one remove from the global picture. Through studying Chinese death management against the backdrop of European imperialism and modernising impulses, this thesis shows that Chinese managed the dead as part of their day-to-day realities and in response to social changes and external challenges. Death management by the Chinese in this Chinese city was far more flexible, diverse and open to outside influences than earlier studies have suggested. (403 words)
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectDeath - China - Hong Kong
Burial - China - Hong Kong
Cemeteries - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramHistory
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/267745

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorPomfret, DM-
dc.contributor.advisorCarroll, JM-
dc.contributor.authorTam, Chun-
dc.contributor.author譚進-
dc.date.accessioned2019-03-01T03:44:42Z-
dc.date.available2019-03-01T03:44:42Z-
dc.date.issued2018-
dc.identifier.citationTam, C. [譚進]. (2018). Death in Hong Kong : managing the dead in a colonial city from 1841 to 1913. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/267745-
dc.description.abstractThis thesis provides a history of how death was managed in colonial Hong Kong from 1841 to 1913. It discusses how dead bodies were dealt with, from the creation and organisation of burial spaces, to the transportation and sanitisation of corpses and the development of state regulations concerning the dead. It also explores understandings of death in this colonial context in relation to the racial differences that underpinned colonialism, to notions of sacredness, perceptions of the ‘tropical’ environment and developments in medicine. By studying colonial state documents, materials from religious and philanthropic organisations, newspapers, travel diaries, maps and other visual sources of evidence, this thesis provides a social history of the ways in which death was managed in the first seven decades of colonial Hong Kong. This thesis argues that the management of death was seen as a marker of civilisation, differentiating the ‘civilised’ from the ‘uncivilised’. It also emerged as an indicator of modernity as scientific European approaches to death management developed in contrast to purportedly ‘backward’ or ‘superstitious’ Chinese practices. I argue that death in colonial Hong Kong was not merely a matter to be handled by the colonial administration by showing how its management served as a focal point for new community ties among residents of this colonial city, in spite of the often-transient nature of their residence. Death management was an important source of power relations in the colony as individuals and groups presented their demands around this issue. Finally, this study complements recent global histories of death through a detailed study of the subject within a context of European imperialism in East Asia. It builds upon recent scholarship and responds to some of the current limitations of the historiography of death. While Western histories of death have tended to theorise death from the starting point of Western European and North American experience, scholarship on non-European cultures, dealing with ‘Chinese death practices’ has often taken a relativist approach, tending to portray death practices as more static over time, and as developing at one remove from the global picture. Through studying Chinese death management against the backdrop of European imperialism and modernising impulses, this thesis shows that Chinese managed the dead as part of their day-to-day realities and in response to social changes and external challenges. Death management by the Chinese in this Chinese city was far more flexible, diverse and open to outside influences than earlier studies have suggested. (403 words)-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshDeath - China - Hong Kong-
dc.subject.lcshBurial - China - Hong Kong-
dc.subject.lcshCemeteries - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titleDeath in Hong Kong : managing the dead in a colonial city from 1841 to 1913-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineHistory-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2019-
dc.identifier.mmsid991044081527703414-

Export via OAI-PMH Interface in XML Formats


OR


Export to Other Non-XML Formats