The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HIST4400C Topic Studies in Asian History: Trans-Pacific Connections in East Asia

Semester 2 (2019-2020)

Lecture TimeMonday 2:30pm-4:15pm

VenueSC LG23


Lecturer Ian MORLEY ((852) 3943 7116 /

Teaching Assistant HAN Shikuang

Course Description


Course Overview

HIST4400C offers an examination of the evolution of Philippine society from the onset of Spanish colonization in the mid-1500s to the start of World War Two in Asia (in 1941). Granting an opportunity to grasp the development of the Philippines under Spanish and American colonial rule, the course places attention upon the nation’s capital city, Manila, a place where life has also been historically shaped by Chinese, Japanese, and native cultural influences. Focusing on elements of cultural, political, and urban history the course endeavours to explain how ‘the Philippine nation’ has historically unfolded, and why Manila, today a metropolis with a population in excess of 13 million people, has come to play such a dominant role in determining the nature of Philippine society prior to the country being granted independence in the late-1940s. Utilizing innovative teaching methods to enable students to critically understand the physical as well as cultural character of the city, and so the nation at large, a multidisciplinary approach is fostered so as to encourage learners to recognize and explain factors that have influenced Philippines civilization as it progressed from the “traditional” to the “modern”. Encouraging learners too to identify connections between the country and places elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, ultimately the course places the evolution of life in the Philippine Archipelago within the greater Asia-Pacific region. Taught by two professors at Brown University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong the curriculum is cut into two distinct sections: The Philippines pre-1898; The Philippines post-1898. Where possible a comparative analysis with the colonial development of Hong Kong will be provided so as to demonstrate, and explain, the different types and natures of colonial rule, culture, and development that took place in East Asia prior to the end of World War Two.

The course is designed with a number of expected learning outcomes:

  • The learners to articulate in written form the association, both direct and indirect, between colonial governance and the nature of Philippine society.
  • Students to convey how contexts both external and internal have shaped the narrative of development in the Philippines.
  • To recognize the alliance between the evolution of life in a capital city and the nature of society at large.
  • To utilize eLearning so as to grant broad learning experiences.
  • To train to use primary sources, including maps and other visual sources, in order to come to terms with how the form of urban environments reflect various cultural and political processes operating within Philippine society.
  • To permit students opportunities to compare the nature and evolution of colonial societies in East Asia, namely to compare and contrast the Philippines with Hong Kong.


Course Structure

The principal teaching/learning situations are:

  • Lectures. Your primary teacher for the course is Prof. Ian Morley ( but some lectures will be given by other scholars, e.g. Prof. Hu-Dehart and Ms Claudia Montero, experts in the history of the Chinese in the Spanish Empire and Spanish colonial architectural heritage in the Philippines.
  • Tutorials. Such classes will be given individually by Prof Morley. Tutorials shall be given at regular intervals during the term, and are undertaken to firstly clarify knowledge and secondly to encourage debate surrounding themes raised in the lecture scenarios.



These classes are designed to not only be informative but to allow, where possible, for active student participation. Accordingly, once inside the classroom students will not be passive learners. Instead, where appropriate, lectures will include exercises to engage students with the topics being presented to them. The aim of such teaching practice is to promote learning motivation, to encourage debate, and the development of thinking and analysis processes. For some weeks, e.g. week 4, student will watch a video lecture, i.e. there is no class that week! Applying distance learning students will then bring newly acquired knowledge to the tutorials for discussion.



The tutorials grant students the chance to discuss the topics introduced in the lectures, and in addition they bestow opportunities to help resolve any problems in understanding course content that the students may have. To prepare for these classes materials will be given out beforehand. To provoke debate during the tutorials students will be asked to undertake short presentations, and participate in question and answer sessions. The purpose of this is straightforward: to allow for student involvement, active learning, and where possible deeper learning and thinking.


The key text for the course is Luis Francia, A History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos (available at the CUHK Bookstore for approximately HK$140 with CUHK student ID)

Other texts of great relevance to particular parts of the curriculum will be available each week on Blackboard. All course reading materials will, therefore, be available online.

The curriculum is:

Lecture 01 (January 6 2020): Introductory Class

Lecture 02 (January 13 2020): The Philippines and the Arrival of the Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish

Lecture 03 (January 20 2020): Building the State: Spanish Colonization and Ethnic Groups

(January 27 2020) Chinese New Year Holiday! No class! 

Lecture 04 (February 3 2020): e-Learning Class – Spanish Manila: A Transpacific Maritime Enterprise and America’s First Chinatown

Lecture 05 (February 10 2020): The Rise and Ending of the Galleon Trade

Lecture 06 (February 17 2020): e-Learning Class – Understanding the Binondo, Manila’s Chinese Quarter

Lecture 07 (February 24 2020): Nationalism inside the Spanish Empire: All Change in 1898: The Spanish-American War, The Rise of American Imperialism and the US Purchase of the Philippines

Lecture 08 (March 2 2020): American Perceptions of the Philippines and the Building of the American Colonial State – with e-Lecture by Ms Nelly Fung

Lecture 09 (March 9 2020): Redesigning Manila: The Role of City Beautiful Urbanism

Lecture 10 (March 16 2020): Modernity in East Asia

Lecture 11 (March 23 2020): The Virtual Fieldtrip of Manila, and Filipinization and the Widening Structure of the Colonial Government

 (March 30 2020) Reading Week! No class!

Lecture 12 (April 6 2020): The Road to Independence, and the Road to World War Two

(April 13 2020) Easter Monday Holiday! No class!

(April 14 2020) Supplementary e-Learning: The Post-Colonial and the Legacies of the Colonial Ages

Assessment & Assignments

Students shall be given a term score based on:

Participation – 30% of total term score. This grade is given in relation to:

  1. Attendance of lectures and tutorials
  2. Participation (e.g. taking the course’s virtual fieldtrip, the asking of questions in classes, engagement with online discussions in the Facebook group, etc.)

Short paper (a review exercise of about 2000 words) – 30% of term grade.

Take-home examination (2500-3000 words) – 40% of term grade.



To supplement the students’ learning process all course materials will be available online, e.g. through CUHK’s Blackboard system. To access these materials registered students input their student number and password, and if they so wish, they can download materials. Materials accessible to students include chapters from books, journal papers, photos, virtual reality animation, maps, lecture PowerPoints, and voice recordings of the lectures. The use of online resources ensures that if for any reason a student is unable to attend a class that individual can still access all materials given out in the lecture, and so not fall behind in the course. Furthermore, texts pertinent to assignment questions can be uploaded by Profs Hu-Dehart and Morley if there are problems obtaining books or papers from the libraries at Brown University and CUHK. However, to also support student learning outside of the classroom, and so to offer a structured environment beyond the classroom, the courses uses a variety of interactive online instructional methods. These include: 

  1. An online forum/Facebook group. This allows, for instance, the Professors to follow-up on matters discussed in the lectures but it also allows students to exchange their thoughts and experiences of Philippine history. The online forum has three objectives:

(i) To provide a communicative tool where everyone can collectively learn from each other
rather than from just the traditional teacher-centred learning situation.
(ii) To build from knowledge acquired in the lecture hall. For example, by Prof. Morley
posting online questions it allows for the exercising of discussion, in turn extending
student learning beyond the foundation of the lecture.
(iii) Respects the fact that all students already have knowledge about history, and can
develop their own understanding of Asian history in light of their existing
know-how and experiences of the real world.

  1. Provide links to videos. These can help train the mind to grasp Philippine society in a more detailed way, in so doing allowing students to have a greater awareness of Manila’s physical and cultural form. Such videos will be used, in some instances, prior to lectures to aid the development of critical thinking about the past.
  2. Assignment planning sheets to guide students through the thought and analysis processes pertinent to composing written work on the Philippines and its colonial history.
  3. A website to use for the purpose of ‘visiting’ Manila. The website provides a ‘virtual fieldtrip’ of the Spanish-era walled city and nearby American colonial era space today called Rizal Park.
  4. Reading materials will be regularly uploaded onto Blackboard. This will enable students to access materials central to the course as it unfolds.

Accordingly, with the lecture, tutorials and online learning support mechanisms a coherent scholarly environment is provided for, one that is purposefully formed to provide for the extension of wisdom both inside and outside the classroom.


The Virtual Fieldtrip to Manila

As part of HIST4400C students will, via a website designed by Prof. Morley, undertake a fieldtrip to Manila. Offering a guided tour through two historic districts students will be given opportunity at first hand to see Spanish and American History in the capital city of the Philippines, Manila. Integrating videos, interactive 360-degree panoramic photos, primary sources, etc., the fieldtrip will supplement information taught within the classroom so as to expand historic knowledge (i.e. factual and skills).


Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at

With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.

  • In the case of group projects, all members of the group should be asked to sign the declaration, each of whom is responsible and liable to disciplinary actions, irrespective of whether he/she has signed the declaration and whether he/she has contributed, directly or indirectly, to the problematic contents.
  • For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally text-based and submitted via VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be issued by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment.

Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.

Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.

The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g. to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained prior to the submission of the piece of work.

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