The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HIST5011A Perspectives in Comparative and Public History

Semester 1 (2023-2024)

Lecture TimeSaturday, 10:30 - 13:15

VenueLT5, Lee Shau Kee Building (LSK LT5)


Lecturer PUK Wing Kin (39437062 /

Course Description

The study of history is at once a science, an art and a craft. Why? In what sense? Comparative History sounds self-explanatory, but what is Public History? How do we “do” history, whether comparative, public or other types of history? This course answers these question with concrete case study. Different types of historical archives will be selected, and ways with which these archives are interpreted will be demonstrated. Major themes of historical study in general, and comparative and public history in particular, will be explored.


Learning Outcomes

 By the end of the course, students will:

*     Have enhanced awareness and curiosity of professional historical knowledge and its relevance to today’s major issues or personal concerns;

*     Have enhanced judgment to distinguish narratives from facts;

*     Have enhanced ability to practice the craft, science and art of historical research;

*     Have enhanced reading, writing, and oral expression skills.


[To be revised and updated]


Lecture 01 (2023.09.09): What is Public History?

(1)   C. Wesley Johnson, Jr., “Editor’s Preface,” The Public Historian, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Fall 1978), pp. 4-10.

(2)   The Public Historian, various issues from 1978 to 2022.

(3)   Kevin Passmore, “History and Historiography since 1945”, Roger E. Backhouse and Philippe Fontaine eds., A Historiography of the Modern Social Sciences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. 29-61.

(4)   Paul A. Cohen, History in Three Keys: the Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997).


Lecture 02 (2023.09.16): Case One: Two tales of Boxers

(1)   Paul A. Cohen, History in Three Keys: the Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997).

(2)   “Boxers at Earl’s Court: An Interesting Interview”, The North – China Herald and Supreme Court & Consular Gazette, 25th September 1901, p. 612.

(3)   Henrietta Harrison, “The Boxer Uprising and the Souls in Purgatory,” The Missionary’s Curse and Other Tales from a Chinese Catholic Village (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013), 92-115.


Lecture 03 (2023.09.23): Case Two: Two Funerals, One Republic

(1)   “The Late President’s Funeral,” The North – China Herald and Supreme Court & Consular Gazette, 17 June 1916, p. 619.

(2)   “Funeral Service to Yuan,” The North – China Herald and Supreme Court & Consular Gazette, 30 June 1916, pp. 726-72.

(3)   Henrietta Harrison, The Making of the Republican Citizen: Political Ceremonies and Symbols in China, 1911-1929 (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).

(4)   Lu Xun, “Taiping gejue太平歌訣[Chant for Peace],” (first published on 30 April 1928), Luxun quanji 4 (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 2005), 104-105.



Public Holiday – The Day Following the Mid-Autumn Festival. NO CLASS!!!


Lecture 04 (2023.10.07): Case Three: The three lives of Shanghai Lil

(1)   Lloyd Bacon, Footlight Parade (Warner Bros, 1933).

(2) Shima Koji島耕二, Shanhai Gaeri No Ri Ru上海帰りのリル (Tokyo: Shintoho新東寶and Sougeiporo総芸プロ, 1952).

(3)   Chu-Ko Ching-Yun諸葛青雲 and Yang Ching-Chen楊靜塵, Shanghai Lil and the Sun Luck Kid, also known as Hao Ke豪客 (Hong Kong: The Shaw Brothers, 1973).


Lecture 05 (2023.10.14): Case Four: One Evil (Spitting), Two Remedies

(1)   Lord Macartney, ed. J. L. Craner-Byng, An Embassy to China—Being the Journal kept by Lord Macartney during his embassy to the Emperor Ch’ien-lung 1793-1794 (London: Longman, 2000), 224-225.

(2)   Sun Yat-sen, trans. Pashal M. D’Elia, The Triple Demism of Sun Yat-sen (Wuchang: The Franciscan Press, 1931), 195-199.

(3)   Sigard Adolphus Knopf, “The Present Aspect of the Tuberculosis problem in the United States (2),” The Journal of the American Medical Association XXXIX, No. 22 (November 29, 1902), 1367-1373.

(4)   Charles Dickens, American Notes for General Circulation (1842, rpt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 272-274.

(5)   雷祥麟,〈以公共痰盂為傲?香港、紐約與上海的反吐痰運動〉,《中央研究院近代史研究所集刊》,第98卷(2017年12月), 頁1-47。

(6)   雷祥麟,〈公共痰盂的誕生:香港的反吐痰爭議與華人社群的回應〉,《中央研究院近代史研究所集刊》,第96卷(2017年6月),頁61-95。


Lecture 06 (2023.10.21): Case Five: Flushing into Modernity

【Lecture venue temporarily changed to LSK LT7. From 2023.10.28 till the end of the course the lecture venue remains LSK LT5】

(1)   Harold Ingrams, Hong Kong (London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1952), 70-72.

(2)   莊玉惜,《有廁出租:政商共謀的殖民城市管治》(香港:商務印書館,2018)。

(3)   梁元生、卜永堅,《香港園丁—李耀祥傳》(香港:中華書局,2019)。


Lecture 07 (2023.10.28): Semester Paper Workshop I: Footnote

(1)   Anthony Grafton, The Footnote: a Curious History (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997).


Lecture 08 (2023.11.04): Case Six: The “martyred” Guo Qinguang

(1)   羅家倫口述,馬偉(星野)筆記,〈蔡元培時代的北京大學與五四運動〉,原刊於《傳記文學》第54卷第5期(1989年5月), 收入李瑞騰、莊宜文主編,《羅家倫與五四運動-史料篇》(桃園:中央大學,2019),頁167-191。

(2)   〈為國犧牲者郭欽光之事略〉,《益世報》,1919年5月13日,第3頁。

(3)   〈追悼郭烈士大會紀〉,《申報》,1919年6月1日,第11頁。


Lecture 09 (2023.11.11): Case Seven: Mass Media

(1)   Bryna Goodman, “Semi-Colonialism, Transnational Networks and News Flows in Early Republican Shanghai,” China Review 4, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 55-88.

(2)   He Qiliang, Newspapers and the Journalistic Public in Republican China: 1917 as a Significant Year of Journalism (London: Routledge, 2019).

(3)   Li Zigui, “The ‘impartial not neutral’ Old Lady on the Bund: a history of the North-China Herald (1850-1900)” (PhD Thesis, Department of History, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2020).

(4)   Puk Wing Kin, “North China Herald’s View of the May Fourth Incident”, Journalism History 47, No. 3 (2021): 251-262.

(5)   熊玉文,《在華英美報刊與五四運動》(北京:社會科學文獻出版社,2021)。


Lecture 10 (2023.11.18): Semester Paper Workshop II


Lecture 11 (2023.11.25): Semester Paper Workshop III


Lecture 12 (2023.12.02): Semester Paper Workshop IV and Conclusion


Assessment & Assignments

1      Semester Paper 90%

*     Minimum 4,000 English words including footnotes.

*     No bibliography is needed.

*     To be submitted to Veriguide on or before 23:59:59, Monday 04 December 2023 (two days after the last lecture). 

*     Delay of submission by one day leads to deduction of 10 marks, for instance, from 90 to 80, and so forth.

*     Topic of the semester paper:  The 1923 “Lincheng Outrage” and the North China Herald 


2      Class Participation 10%

*          This assessment scheme might take various forms, e.g., short quiz, in class writing exercise, discussion and debate, etc..


Two Important Websites

*   CUHK Blackboard in which all course materials are uploaded:

*   CUHK History Department Course Website:

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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