The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HIST3701 History, Memory, and Monuments

Semester 2 (2023-2024)

Lecture TimeMonday, 16:30 - 18:15

VenueRoom 304, Lee Shau Kee Building (LSK 304)


Lecturer Ian MORLEY (

Teaching Assistant Mr. Francisco Guiang (

Course Description

History, Memory, and Monuments offers a new frame for learners to expand their comprehension of how historical knowledge is formed, and how it is consumed within the arena of public spaces and the viewing of monument. In particular, the course examines how monuments/heritage sites, alongside museums, etc., function as gatekeepers of historical knowledge and as channels of social memory. The course, thus, breaks down dynamics (both local and global) that contribute to public debate about the past. In amalgamating knowledge of representations of the past with the development of skills in historical methodology, theory, and practice, students can expand cognisance as to how public history is represented, constructed, debated and, at times, contested. By possessing new critical awareness and skills students will be better able to sense and value the variety of roles played by historians in public settings, and the significance and impact too of public history upon culture, politics, and society at large.

HIST3701 Course Aims

The course is designed with the following learning outcomes:

  1. To introduce students to critical issues in public history so that they can recognise the variety of ways/the changing ways the public engages with the past;
  2. To offer an interdisciplinary study of public representations of the past, and engagement with the past, by means of the analysing monuments in public spaces (e.g. in Hong Kong and elsewhere);
  3. To explore how history is represented, debated, and contested in the domain of public spaces, and in associated settings such as museums, the media, etc.;
  4. To visit monuments in Hong Kong so as to understand how they function as conduits of social memory;
  5. To present opportunity for academic training via the development of historical methods and independent research so that learners can meaningfully engage with issues surrounding national narratives, contested histories, collective memory, and commemoration.

Teaching/learning Structure

The teaching for course HIST3701 consists of three complementary learning situations, these being:

  1. Weekly online lectures to be given by Prof. Ian Morley. All lectures will be given via the use of Powerpoint, and where possible through the use of DVDs, videos and other electronic media. All lectures will be recorded and put onto Blackboard.
  2. Tutorials. In total four tutorials (approximately 45 minutes each in length) shall be given throughout the course of the term and these present valuable opportunities to not only clarify your knowledge collected in the lectures but to furthermore engage you in discussion of issues associated with the industrial past and its effects: effects being both in the past and present-day worlds;
  3. Site visits/fieldtrips.

The Course

The proposed course structure is as follows:

Week 1. Introduction (course aims, course outline, introduction of key terms, etc.)

Week 2. Critical issues in Public History (1)

Week 3. Critical issues in Public History (2)

Week 4. Seeing, reading monuments: Symbolism and its philosophies

Week 5. Site visit #1

Week 6. Cultural memory: Who we are (not). From concept to practice

Week 7. Monuments and social contest: The Black Lives Matter Movement

Week 8. Colonial Era Monuments in postcolonial society: Case studies from Asia

Week 9. Site visit #2

Week 10. Heritage: Place, belonging, identity, and memory

Week 11. Commemoration and public memory

Week 12. Communicating the past: The role and ethics of the historian

Week 13. Museums and the past: Curating, exhibiting the past to the public (with site visit #3)

Assessment & Assignments

Grading and Assessment

  1. Academic essay (30%). This assignment (2000 words) centres upon critically appraising a video documentary/demonstrating critical thinking;
  2. Take-home exam (40%), focuses on students applying classroom/book knowledge to real world themes/issues relating to collective memory and monuments;
  3. Participation grade (30%). This grade is given in relation to classroom and fieldtrip related activities.
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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