Bobby Tam

BA, MPhil HKU; PhD Warwick

Office: 10.48, Run Run Shaw Tower

Dr. Bobby Tam specializes in the history of death and history of emotions. He now teaches for the MA in Hong Kong History Programme.


Bobby’s doctoral research studies emotions surrounding death in British colonial settings in China during the nineteenth century. The work explores how people expressed and discussed emotions surrounding death in a colonial context where cultural norms were being actively contested. His previous works study how dead bodies were managed in early colonial Hong Kong. He has also written about the meanings and vocabulary associated with the dead body in urban China during the Late Qing and Early Republican period. Bobby is planning to extend his research on the history of death to twentieth-century Hong Kong and Singapore.

Research Interests

  • History of death
  • History of emotions
  • British colonial history
  • Late imperial and modern Chinese history


‘Afterlife of the Wealthy: the burial of merchant communities in nineteenth-century colonial Hong Kong’ in Chronicling Westerners in Nineteenth-Century East Asia, edited by Robert S.G. Fletcher and Robert Hellyer (London: Bloomsbury, 2022), 105 – 124.

‘Between Fear and Respect: Vocabulary and Meanings of the Dead Body in Urban China from the Late Qing to the Early Republican Era’, British Journal of Chinese Studies 12, no. 1 (2022): 20-39.


  • HIST7021 Special Topics in Hong Kong History