Personal profile

Research interests

Allan is a historian of Hong Kong, Chinese overseas, and Southeast Asia. His research engages with themes such as history education, popular music, and decolonisation from a transregional perspective across East and Southeast Asia. He completed his BA and MPhil at the University of Hong Kong and has recently submitted his PhD thesis at the University of Cambridge. Allan is also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research

His current research examines the transmission of historical knowledge in Hong Kong, Malaya/Malaysia, and Singapore from the 1950s to the 1990s. It analyses history education at schools and informal pedagogical platforms such as monuments, public campaigns, and children's magazines. This research analyses how the Cold War, decolonisation, and Chinese politics shaped the meanings of being 'Chinese' through curricula, textbooks, and public historical narratives. By bringing Chinese case studies into conversation with histories of British and American imperialism, my research hopes to show how historical actors, such as intellectuals, officials, and students, sought to shape the politics of the past and construct postcolonial futures.

Allan is also working on a new project that focuses on transregional Chinese popular music across Hong Kong and Southeast Asia since the 1950s. It looks at the role of music in the global politics of migration and Chinese identities. The project examines the efforts of musicians, singers, entrepreneurs, and activists in exerting transregional agency through the popular music industry. Instead of merely looking at musical works, it examines the process of musical production in the contexts of the Cold War, Chinese migration, and political transitions. It also studies the global history of music from Asian perspectives, for instance, by looking at the dissemination of works by composer Joseph Koo and lyricist James Wong.

Allan's former research investigated cultural policies in late colonial Hong Kong. It examined how colonial officials attempted to preserve, promote, and shape Chinese culture through language policies, entertainment, and postage stamps.

Publications

Journal articles

'Contesting Epistemological Territory: History Education and Decolonisation in Hong Kong’, under review.

'Entertainment, Chinese Culture, and Late Colonialism in Hong Kong’Historical Journal 67, no. 1 (2024), 124-47. 

'Stamping “Imagination and Sensibility”: Objects, Culture, and Governance in Late Colonial Hong Kong'Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 50, no. 4 (2022), 789-816.

  • Shortlisted for the Best Article on Global Hong Kong Studies 2023, ICAS (International Convention of Asia Scholars) Book Prize

Book chapters

‘Education’, in A New Documentary History of Hong Kong, c. 1945–1997, ed. Florence Mok and Chi Keung Charles Fung (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, forthcoming).

‘Cultural Policies’, in A New Documentary History of Hong Kong, c. 1945–1997, ed. Florence Mok and Chi Keung Charles Fung (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, forthcoming). 

盛世前奏:六十年代香港流行曲的星馬跨國網絡 [A Prelude to Prosperity: Transnational Networks of Hong Kong’s Popular Music in Singapore and Malaysia, c. 1960s], in 粵語流行曲七十年 [Seventy Years of Cantopop], ed. Chu Yiu-Wai 朱耀偉 (Hong Kong: Enlighten & Fish 亮光文化, 2024), 35-57 (in Chinese).

Online article

'Radical Objects: Transregional Chinese-language Children’s Magazines'History Workshop (6 June 2024).

Keywords

  • Hong Kong
  • Chinese overseas
  • Southeast Asia
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • History education
  • Decolonisation
  • Popular music
  • Transnational history
  • Cultural history

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