HKUEMS :: Event Details

Committee on Gender Equality and Diversity Seminar Series
posted by Faculty of Arts for HKU and Public
Event Type: Public Lecture/Forum/Seminar/Workshop/Conference/Symposium
Event Nature: Culture and Arts

Event Details

Colonial Cosmopolitanism: Constance Cumming and Isabella Bird in Hong Kong, 1878
Professor Julia Kuehn, School of English

Over the past fifteen years, theories of cosmopolitanism have been frequently invoked in mobility studies; especially in analyses of contemporary texts, authors and journeys but also in Victorian Studies. It is, however, necessary to contextualise any form of Victorian cosmopolitanism because the Victorian age also saw the rise of nationalism and the heyday of Empire; concepts that are opposed to cosmopolitanism’s assumption of equal rights for all nations. This talk addresses the cognitive dissonance between these two ways of conceptualising and travelling the world, cosmopolitanism and colonialism, and asks whether an approach to Victorian, colonial travel writing through a cosmopolitan lens is an appropriate one. The situation is further complicated when we highlight the contributions of especially women to these discourses and as actors in this kind of mobility. The colonial setting for this talk is Hong Kong, whose important position not only within the British Empire but the Asian region and the world at large was well acknowledged at the time. The two travelogues from which questions about a (female) colonial cosmopolitanism are elaborated are Constance Gordon Cumming’s "Wanderings in China" (1886) and Isabella Bird’s "The Golden Chersonese" (1883).

Professor Julia Kuehn has postgraduate degrees from the Universities of Oxford, Bonn and London, and also completed the Habilitation at the University of Bamberg. Her research interests lie in Victorian literature and culture, travel writing (related to China) and critical theory. She has published in international journals including "Victorian Literature and Culture", "Victorian Review", "Studies in Travel Writing", "The Journal of Popular Culture", and "Frontiers: A Journal of Women Writing". Julia’s current projects include a study of representations of Hong Kong in Victorian travel writing and a comparative study of nineteenth-century German and British realist prose.

This talk is part of a seminar series initiated by the Faculty’s Committee on Gender Equality and Diversity and aimed at showcasing outstanding research on gender, sexuality, and diversity issues. Established in November 2016, the Committee works with organizations across the University to lead the way on gender and diversity, and realise the full potential of our academic community.

Date/Time03/10/2017 16:30-18:00
VenueRoom 4.36, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus

Registration Instruction

Registration is open from 13/09/2017 09:00(HKT) to 02/10/2017 17:00(HKT) on a first-come-first-served basis. The registration quota for this event is 90.

* Registration is now closed.

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Should you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact Executive Officer Natalie Yip by email at or by phone at 39174984 or by fax at 25485231.