Hong Kong ‘Port Cities in Comparative Global History: Potentials and Issues’ Conference, 15-16 June

Victoria Harbour with Hong Kong Island in the background, c.1862. Unknown artist.

We are excited to announce the tentative programme for our conference ‘Port Cities in Comparative Global History: Potentials and Issues‘ which takes place in Hong Kong on the 15th and 16th June 2023.

The event is funded by the History Department and Modern History Research Centre at the Hong Kong Baptist University and Lloyd’s Register Foundation via the University of Portsmouth. The conference aims to explore the emerging scholarship on many aspects of maritime heritage and culture in the public sphere and work towards new partnerships and collaborations, resulting in the development of ideas leading to tangible public history outcomes. See the CfP Here.

We are thankful to our partners at Hong Kong Baptist University and Dalian Maritime University for their continued support on the LRF-funded ‘Lloyd’s Register Surveyors in China c.1860-1918.’


Tentative Programme 





Day One [15 June 2023]


Day Two [16 June 2023]


9:00 – 9:15



The Opening Ceremony





Panel 4: Mobilities and Boundaries

9:30 – 10:30 Keynote Speech (1):

Port-cities and Health in Global History (tentative)

Michael Liu Shiyung


10:30 – 10:45 Coffee Break


10: 45 – 12:15 Panel 1: Port City Communities


Panel 5: Port Cities and Port Culture in the Imagination


12:15 – 1:30 Lunch


1:30 – 3:20 Panel 2: Place, Work and Identity Panel 6: Port City Exchanges


3:20 – 3:35 Coffee Break


3:35 – 5:30 Panel 3: Port City Spaces Panel 7: Port City Heritage: potential in present and future practice



5:30 – 6:30

Keynote Speech (2):

Port-city dynamics since 1880: a maritime network perspective

César Ducruet


Roundtable Discussion:

Port Cities in Comparative Global History – Potential and Issues


The Closing Ceremony


All papers are 20 minutes long. The roundtable presentations are 10 minutes per presentation.


Panel 1 – Port City Communities

“Port Cities as international contact zones: London’s Sailortown between 1850 and 1900,” Brad Beaven, University of Portsmouth

“The Rise and Fall of the Goan community in Eastern African ports 1865-1965,” Clifford Pereira, University of Hong Kong

“Relation as Method: Surfacing Diverse Knowledges in the Archives of Colonial Port City Life,” Nadine Attewell, Simon Fraser University

Panel 2 – Place, Work and Identity

“Royal Dockyard workers: Labour, identity and recreational networking in Britain and the wider British Empire c.1880-1940,” Mel Bassett, University of Portsmouth

“Transnational Cultural Exchange and the Fashioning of Identity: An Analysis of Western Suits in the Hong Kong-New York Corridor, 1945-1980,” Katon Lee, Hong Kong Baptist University

“The Silent Service’: Telling the story of Royal Navy submarine warfare, 1939-1945,” Robert James, University of Portsmouth

“Surviving the Fire – civilian populations in Shanghai 1927,” Matt Heaslip, University of Portsmouth

Panel 3 – · Port City Spaces

“Integrating the Multinational Urban Space: Tramway Network in treaty-port Tianjin, 1902-1908,” Xiaoxu Yan, University of Hong Kong

“Port Cities Under Military Occupation: Reapproaching the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong from Spatial Perspective,” Chi Man Kwong, Hong Kong Baptist University

“Fugitives in Liminal Spaces: Hong Kong and the Philippine Islands, 1907-1914,” Catherine Chan, Lingnan University

“Exploring Maritime History through Digital Humanities: The Southeast Asian Maritime Travelogues Corpus (SEA-MTC),” Chia Pei Lim, National Chengchi University

Panel 4 – Mobilities and Boundaries

“Bluefields: A Curious Chinese Port City in Nineteenth-Century Nicaragua,” Rudolph Ng, University of Portsmouth

“From Caravan Routes to Railways: Navigating the Global Mobilities of Izmir, a Port City in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Elvan Cobb, Hong Kong Baptist University

“Beyond China Town- The Multi-national Migration of Chinese Students in Europe,” Charlotte Steffen, University of Portsmouth

Panel 5 – Port Cities and Port Culture in the Imagination

“The Chinese Collections of Foreign Social and Legal Information from 14th to 16th centuries,” Tam Ka Chai, Hong Kong Baptist University

“Seafarers and Sea Fearing: Nineteenth-Century Maritime Folklore as Hidden Intangible Heritage,” Karl Bell, University of Portsmouth

“Seeing Cities from the Future: Port city societies in Science Fiction and their lessons for today,” Holger Briel, Beijing Normal University & Hong Kong Baptist University United International College.

Panel 6 – Port City Exchanges

“Building a Movie empire – Runme Shaw’s adventure in Singapore, 1920-1980,” Po Yin Chung and Cho Kiu Wong, Hong Kong Baptist University

“The Boundaries and Boundedness of Port Cities,” Joshua Ehrlich, University of Macau

“Surveyors after hours: The social and personal lives of Lloyd’s Register Surveyors in China in relation to maritime networks, 1869-1925,” Corey Watson, University of Portsmouth

“Riviera of the Orient: Pre-War Hong Kong and the Making of Global Tourism Network,” Lok Yin Law, Hong Kong Metropolitan University

Panel 7 – Port City Heritage: potential in present and future practice

“Creating a Virtual Museum for the Maritime Silk Road,” Richard T. Griffiths, Leiden University

“Conserving and protecting maritime heritage sites – threats and opportunities,” Sarah Ward, Dalian Maritime University, Steven Gallagher, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Mingfei Ma, Dalian Maritime University

“UCH Tourism in China: a Practical Path for Public Awareness, Investment and Better Protection,” Ran Guo, Shanghai Maritime University

“Linkages between industrial pasts and environmental future,” Laura Boon, Royal Museum Greenwich

Roundtable: Port Cities in Comparative Global History – Potential and Issues

Lead speakers: Alex Stitt (LRF), Brad Beaven (PCMC), Wong Man Kong (HKBU), Joost Schokkenbroek (HKMM)

& Open Discussion


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