The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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Associate Professor, Department of History, CUHK


Address: Room 129, Fung King Hey Building
Phone: (852) 3943 7116

Ian Morley is an Associate Professor based in the Department of History, and Associate Professor (by Courtesy) on CUHK’s Urban Studies Programme.

He has published widely on the design of built environments during the late-1800s and early-1900s. Prof. Morley has also participated in television documentaries for The Discovery Channel and Voom!, as well as been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal Asia, The Los Angeles Times, Southeast Asia Globe, La Stampa and the US’ National Public Radio. In addition, he has contributed to media outlets such as Hong Kong News, Baguio Midland Courier, Al Jazeera and Agence France Presse (AFP).

From 2009 to 2014 Prof. Morley was the Book Review Editor for Urban Morphology: Journal of the International Seminar on Urban Form. He currently is an editorial board member of the Brill book series Studies in Architecture and Urban History, an editorial board member of the journal Planning Perspectives as well as a council member of the International Planning History Society (IPHS). He is currently the IPHS Membership Secretary.

He has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Sydney and University College Dublin, and in 2012 was a Visiting Scholar on the urbanism programme held by the Universidade Estudual de Maringá and Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil. In mid-2015 he was a Global Humanities Junior Research and Teaching Fellow at the Free University in Berlin, Germany. He was also in mid-2015 an awardee of the CUHK Faculty of Arts Humanities Fellowship Scheme. In mid-2018 he was awarded the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative (GAHTC) Global Connections Fellowship, and consequently in late-2018 visited CEPT University in Ahmedabad, India.

He is the recipient of the 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2016 History Department Teaching Award. In 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 he was also awarded the Faculty of Arts Outstanding Teaching Award. In 2014 he was a successful applicant to CUHK’s International Partnership Development Programme and Short-Term Faculty Exchange Programme (both undertaken at Brown University, USA), and in 2020 he will visit the University of Western Australia (in Perth, Australia as part of the CUHK International Partnership Development Programme). He has been awarded two General Research Fund grants from Hong Kong’s Research Grants Council, four CUHK Courseware Development Grants, plus one CUHK Micro-Module Courseware Development Grant and one CUHK Teaching Development and Language Enhancement Grant. In late-2015/early-2016 he curated an exhibition on behalf of the Department of History with the Philippine Consulate and CUHK University Library on ‘The History of the Philippines in Flags and Maps’. In mid-2017 Prof. Morley was convenor of the conference Southeast Asia in Evolution: Trans-Pacific Agency and the City, c. 1850-1941.

Research Projects

2018-19, The United States’ First Imperial Architect-Planner: William E. Parsons and the Manufacture in Built Form of the American Empire, c. 1905-1939 (Direct Grant for Research, Faculty of Arts, CUHK).

This study seeks to investigate the career of William E. Parsons (1872-1939). As the United States’ (US) first Consulting Architect in the Philippines Parsons plotted all architectural and spatial production in the colony. The inquiry thus considers how his work acted as an instrument of the American colonial state, and additionally explores how his Philippine activities aligned with his subsequent governmental projects in North America and other American colonies.

Utilizing well-established research methods to associate the images and meanings of public architecture and urban design with societal evolution the project will revise historiography. It will deviate from a structuralist interpretation which discusses Parsons’ activities in the milieu of American governmental authority’s application via sanitation policies in architectural form. Instead this project analyzes Parsons’ professional ventures in conjunction with American modernity, imperial politics, and their manufacture. This will grant a more comprehensive platform to comprehend his career and the era in which he worked. Accordingly, it will place Parsons within contexts hitherto not examined, and will permit a comparative analysis between his work in the Philippines, US, and Puerto Rico.

The study’s findings will deliver important insights into the political, artistic, and environmental dynamics that existed in the US and its empire during the early-1900s. This will not only improve our grasp of American architecture, city design, and cultural evolution within territories located in North America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia, but will illuminate the alliance between Parsons and the entrenchment in built form of imperial political structures within those geographies.

Courses Offered

Courses Given in 2019-20

  1. HIST5592 Patterns in Urban History and Development
  2. HIST4380 The Industrial Revolution and its Impacts
  3. HIST4400C Topic Studies in World History: Trans-Pacific Connections in East Asia.

Selected Publications

[A] Books

  1. American Colonisation and the City Beautiful: Filipinos and Planning in the Philippines, 1916-1935 (Routledge, 2019).
  2. Cities and Nationhood: American Imperialism and Urban Design in the Philippines, 1898-1916 (University of Hawaii Press, 2018).
  3. British Provincial Civic Design and the Building of Late-Victorian and Edwardian Cities, 1880-1914 (Mellen, 2008).
  4. Edited volume with Mira Crouch, Knowledge as Value: Illumination through Critical Prisms (Rodopi, 2008).

[B] Journal Articles

  1. ‘Philippine Cities, Their History, Development, Culture, and Governance’, Journal of Urban History 17.4 (2018).
  2. ‘Baguio: A Mismanaged Evolutionary Narrative of the City Beautiful to the City Problematic’ Asian Geographer: A Geographical Journal on Asia and the Pacific Rim 25.2 (2018).
  3. ‘The First Filipino City Beautiful Plans’, Planning Perspectives 33.3 (2018).
  4. ‘The Filipinization of the American City Beautiful, 1916-35’, Journal of Planning History 17.4 (2018).
  5. ‘City Profile: Manila’, Cities 72 (2018).
  6. ‘Modern Urban Designing in the Philippines, 1898-1916’, Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints 64.1 (2016).
  7. ‘Owning the City: Civic Art’s Historical Practical and Contemporary Meaning in Yangon’, Art and the Public Sphere 2.1 (2014).
  8. ‘Philippine Connections: Canberra’s Plan and Nationhood’, Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand 23.1 (2013).
  9. ‘Rangoon’, Cities 31 (2013).
  10. ‘Utilizing Social Media to Know the Victorian World: A Blended Approach’, Journal of Victorian Culture 17.4 (2012).
  11. ‘The Creation of the Modern Urban Form in the Philippines’, Urban Morphology 16.1 (2012).
  12. ‘America and the Philippines: Modern Civilization and City Planning’, Education About Asia 16.2 (2011).
  13. ‘Civic Design and National Identity: The Example of Edwardian Ireland’, Planning Perspectives 26.3 (2011).
  14. ‘American Imperialism, Civic Design and the Philippines in the early-1900s’, European Journal of American Culture 29.3 (2010).
  15. ‘Revelations, Predicaments & Civic Design: The Americanisation of the British Urban Environment, c. 1900-14’, Cercles 14 (2009).
  16. ‘Representing a City and Nation: Wales’s Matchless Civic Centre’, Welsh History Review 24.3 (2009).
  17. ‘The Making and Maintenance of Cenotaphs’, Fieldwork and Documents 52 (2008).
  18. ‘Chaos, Contagion, Cholera & Chadwick’, Yale Journal of Biology & Medicine 80.2 (2007).
  19. ‘Arquitectura, Oportunismo y la Planificación del Rostro de un Imperio’ (Architecture, Opportunism and the Planning of an Imperial Face), Revista de Arquitectura 9 (2007)
  20. ‘Post-Industrial Urbanism and the Growth of Sustainability: Historical Trends, Present and Future Observations’, The Journal of Futures Studies 9.4 (2005).

[C] Chapters in Edited Volumes

  1. ‘Coketowns’, in Os Modelas das Companhias Industriais e sues Reflexos nas Cidades Brasileiras (eds. Maria Cristina Villefort Teixeira, Maria Manoela Gimmler Netto, Marieta Cardosa Maciel, Marina Salgado, and Stael de Alvarenga Pereira Costa), Editora EVA, 2019.
  2. ‘Transitions: The Form and Meaning of the ‘New’ Philippine City After 1898’, Ideas of the City in Asia (eds. Henco Bekkering, Adele Esposito, and Charles Goldblum), University of Amsterdam Press, 2019.
  3. ‘Place, Race, and Grand Architectural Statements: Civic Design in Early-1900s Dublin’, Visualizing Dublin: Visual Culture and the Making of Modern Dublin (ed. J. Carville), Peter Lang, 2013.
  4. ‘Asian Culture and Urbanism: Meanings and Experiences of the Evolving Built Environment’, Writing Spaces: Travel, Global Cities and Landscapes (eds. I-Chun Wang, M. Theis, and C. Larkosh), National Sun Yat-Sen University, 2013.
  5. ‘Modernizing the Urban Landscape: Architecture and the Internationalized Face of Asia’, Asian Popular Culture: Memory, City, and Celebrity (eds. L. Fitzsimmons and J. Hunt), Palgrave, 2013.
  6. ‘Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer’, Popular Controversies in World History Vol. 3 (ed. S. Danver). ABC-Clio, 2010.
  7. ‘British Slavery Abolition Act (1833)’, Milestone Documents in World History (ed. P. Finkelman), Schlager Group, 2010.
  8. ‘Abstracting the City: Urbanisation and the ‘Opening-up’ Process in China’, China in an Era of Transition: Understanding Contemporary State and Society Actors (eds. R. Hasmath and J. Hsu), Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.
  9. ‘The Impact of the Internet upon the Commodity of Knowledge and the Craft of History’, Knowledge as Value: Illumination through Critical Prism (eds. I. Morley and M. Crouch), Rodopi, 2008.
  10. ‘British History’, 21st Century History Highway: A Guide to Internet Resources (eds. D. Trinkle and S. Merriman), M.E. Sharpe Inc., 2006.
  11. ‘Mid-Atlantic Region: Architecture’, American Regional Cultures (ed. R. Marzec), Greenwood Press, 2004.

[D] Other Publications

  1. Entries published in reference works such as The Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Modern World (ed. P.N. Stearns), published by Oxford University Press in 2008, The Encyclopedia of American Urban History (ed. D. Goldfield), Sage Publications, 2006, and The Encyclopedia of the City (ed. R. Caves), Routledge Press, 2005.
  2. Articles composed on Burma, China, Hong Kong, India, and Taiwan for the online journal Architecture Week!
  3. More than 35 book reviews have been published in scholarly journals such as Planning Perspectives, Urban History, The Journal of Architecture, Context, Journal of British Studies, Urban Morphology: Journal of the International Seminar on Urban Form, Canadian Journal of History, American Historical Review and Australian Economic History Review.

[E] Editorship

  1. Editorial Board Member of Planning Perspectives (ISSN 0266-5433).
  2. Editorial Board Member of the series Studies in Architecture and Urban History by Brill.
  3. Consultant to Revista de Morfologgia Urbana (ISSN 2182-7214).

Conferences and Guest Lectures

In recent years papers have been presented in Montreal and Toronto (Canada), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Surakarta (Indonesia), Manila (the Philippines), Yangon (Myanmar), Berlin (Germany), Medellín, (Colombia), Arlington, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and New York (USA), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Porto (Portugal), and Vienna (Austria), and Yokohama (Japan).

International Media

  1. ‘Man Made Marvels Asia: Taipei 101 Tower’, The Discovery Channel (2006).
  2. ‘Vertical City 2: Taipei 101, Taiwan’, Voom! (2009)
  3. ‘Myanmar Memories: The Threat to a Cache of Colonial Treasures’, The Wall Street Journal Asia, February 12 2010.
  4. ‘In Myanmar, Colonial Era Buildings Risk Demolition’, The Los Angeles Times, February 11 2011.
  5. ‘Lost in Time’, Southeast Asia Globe, April 18 2012.
  6. ‘Allarme a Yangon il “disgelo” Minaccia I Tesori Coloniali’ (Alarm in Yangon in ‘Thaw’ Threat to Colonial Treasures’), La Stampa, January 7 2013.
  7. ‘As Myanmar Modernizes, Architectural Gems are Endangered’, National Public Radio (USA), June 4 2014.
  8. ‘Philippines Allows ‘Photobomber’ Building to go up’, AFP (used by South China Morning Post, Breibart, Channel News Asia, etc.), April 26 2017.
  9. ‘Jakarta is Bursting at the Seams’, South China Morning Post, May 1 2019.
  10. ‘Monuments: ‘The Manila of Our Affections’, Rappler, June 12 2019.