Deconstructing the Geopolitics Behind Social Infrastructures in China and Colonial Hong Kong
3: School Curricula and Changing Approaches to the Socialization of Hong Kong Youth
Friday, March 25, 2022
1:30pm – 3:00pm EST
Virtual Paper Presenter(s)
Kyushu University, Japan
This paper analyzes the shifting approach of the authorities in late colonial and contemporary Hong Kong to the development of school curricula, with particular reference to those subjects seen as most crucial for purposes of political socialization (Chinese History, History, Civics, etc.). drawing on my doctoral research. It draws on the presenter's earlier work both on the politics of History as a school subject from the 1960s onwards, and on the history of popular resistance to efforts by both colonial and postcolonial regimes to reform those aspects of schooling seen as most closely implicated in identity formation. It then relates this to an analysis of recent debate in Hong Kong over education's alleged role in fueling youth unrest, and its supposed potential as a means of countering anti-Beijing sentiment. It thus offers a critique of attempts by pro-Beijing elements to use claims regarding the deracinating effects of 'colonial' education to legitimate calls for enhanced 'national education'. The paper concludes by arguing that the history of curriculum development in colonial and postcolonial Hong Kong suggests that attempts to intensify 'national education' are, if anything, likely to exacerbate rather than ameliorate the alienation of local youth from the Chinese mainland.