From our unique vantage point in the Hong Kong SAR we enjoy the academic freedom necessary to produce world-leading and internationally acclaimed research in History. Our areas of specialist research are diverse and span a variety of fields. We have expertise in European, Asian, American and Russian history but we also specialise in thematic histories with an inter-disciplinary orientation such as health and medicine, childhood and youth, social and cultural history, gender, heritage and urban history. A key strength is our collective engagement with methodologies and approaches foregrounding international, and transnational perspectives, and histories of connections between China, and Asia more broadly and other parts of the world.
In the History Department we highly emphasize on the dissemination of knowledge created through research. Through publications, teaching, and innovative ways in engaging with our local and global communities, we hope to raise public’s awareness in history, and to bring history out of academia and into everyday lives and experiences.
Here you can explore some recent samples of how members of our Department’s researches made a difference to a wider audience:
THE GREAT KANTŌ EARTHQUAKE AND A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF RESPONSES TO NATURAL DISASTERS
Drawing together the photos, maps and materials gathering from his research on the Great Earthquake, Professor Charles Schencking compiles a website, the Great Kantō Earthquake.Com, which serves as an online introduction to various aspects in the history of the Great Kantō Earthquake as well as an archive of materials free for public access.
Since its launching in December 2013, the site has been visited more than 220,000 times. It has also been used as a core reference in other universities’ courses on environmental history and the history of modern Japan.
Discovery Channel documentary
Research conducted on the legacy of the Great Kantō Earthquake as well as the reconstruction process that followed underpinned collaboration with the Discovery Channel in the production of a TV-documentary entitled: “Japan: Designed for Recovery” which aired on September and October 2016. The documentary has been shown in Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and across South East Asia. The viewership, as estimated by the Discovery Channel, currently stands at 2.7 million individuals.
Professor Schencking was interviewed for the documentary and provided insights that were instrumental in the making of the programme. His book, The Great Kantō Earthquake and the Chimera of National Reconstruction in Japan, and his website were also referred to throughout the documentary as sources of analysis of rare imagery.
The research also led to a large museum exhibit, “Aftershocks: Experiences of Japan’s Great Kantō Earthquake” at the Noel Shaw Gallery, University of Melbourne, from September 2015 to March 2016. It was estimated that over 1,000 people visited the exhibition. The curator of the exhibition, Hannah Gould, calls this rare collection of original documents and artefacts relating to the earthquake “one of the single most significant collections of these documents outside of Japan.”