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Multiracial Britishness: Global Networks in Hong Kong, 1910-45

Author: Vivian Kong

Vivian Kong (2023) Cambridge University Press; ISBN: 9781009202930,

What does it mean to be British? To answer this, Multiracial Britishness takes us to an underexplored site of Britishness – the former British colony of Hong Kong. Vivian Kong asks how colonial hierarchies, the racial and cultural diversity of the British Empire, and global ideologies complicate the meaning of being British. Using multi-lingual sources and oral history, Kong traces the experiences of multiracial residents in 1910-45 Hong Kong. Guiding us through Hong Kong’s global networks, and the colony’s co-existing exclusive and cosmopolitan social spaces, this book uncovers the long history of multiracial Britishness. Kong argues that Britishness existed in the colony in multiple, hyphenated forms – as a racial category, but also as privileges, a means of survival, and a form of cultural and national belonging. This book offers us an important reminder that multiracial inhabitants of the British Empire were just as active in the making of Britishness as the British state and white Britons.

Dr. Vivian Kong, Lecturer in Modern Chinese History at the University of Bristol.