Chinese Christian Education and the Making of Hong Kong Culture: A Case Study of the Church Missionary Society in Hong Kong, 1899-1930

Undergraduate Research Scholarship project 2020

Department of History

Project academic: Dr Shirley Ye

Project summary 

The project looks at the indigenization of missionary education in Hong Kong and South China through the lens of the Church Missionary Society (CMS). The question of indigenization is at the heart of global missionary histories: how do Western ideas and institutions become adopted in local contexts? What role did CMS education play in changing gender roles in local society?

CMS educational bodies were initially established and run by recently-arrived European missionaries to educate Chinese boys and girls. By the last fin-de-siècle the organizations were fully funded and managed by local Chinese CMS members. Today, the former CMS educational institutions -- St. Stephen’s (Girls’) College, St. Paul’s College, University of Hong Kong (St. John’s Hall) and Fairlea School (one of the founding schools of today’s Heep Yunn School) -- continue to flourish and their alumni make up the elites of Chinese Hong Kong society.

What you will do  

  • Become familiar with the secondary scholarship on Hong Kong history, history of missionaries in Hong Kong and South China, and history of global education
  • Read Church Missionary Society (CMS) Annual Reports of Hong Kong
  • Examine the role of Chinese clergy / bishops / pastors in the development of CMS educational institutions
  • Contribute to a database on CMS educational institutions and Chinese alumni from those same institutions
  • Contribute to writing an article about the history of CMS educational institutions in Hong Kong

Skills required 

  • Some knowledge or understanding of modern Chinese history, in particular Hong Kong history
  • English is sufficient, but ability to read traditional Chinese characters would be a bonus
  • Although most of the documents will be printed, scholarship holder should have a willingness to read some nineteenth-century handwriting
  • Familiarity with Excel
  • All work will be conducted in the Cadbury Research Library of Muirhead Tower

How will the project benefit you?

  • You will gain skills in secondary and primary source research which will benefit your dissertation, as well as have a much deeper knowledge of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Chinese and Hong Kong history, history of Christianity and missionaries, and history of education.
  • You will gain experience with database design and management (using Excel).
  • Finally you will learn how to communicate your scholarly ideas and research to both academic and public audiences, by working with me in researching, writing, and pitching an article for publication.

Where now?


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