Bernard H.K. Luk Lecture explores Hong Kong diasporas

Notes lecture workshop meeting

Presenting the sixth annual Bernard H.K. Luk Memorial Lecture in Hong Kong Studies at York University this year is Joseph Chan, a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Research Center for Humanities & Social Sciences, Academia Sinica in Taiwan.

Chan will deliver a lecture titled “Freedom, Loyalty, and Home: Reflections on the Life of the Hong Kong Diaspora” on Oct. 27 in 280N York Lanes.

The recent waves of migration from Hong Kong to different parts of the world have occurred against the backdrop of unexpected and drastic political changes in their home city. Alongside the traumatic uprooting and resettlement of life, many of these newly formed, politically driven diasporas have encountered subtle struggles related to values and identity that are difficult to articulate, potentially leading to misunderstandings in communication.

In this lecture, Chan aims to unravel some of these subtle struggles through the lenses of freedom, loyalty and home. What types of freedom have the diasporas acquired, and which ones have they forfeited? Is politically motivated migration an indication of severing ties with one’s native home, or is it an alternative means of reaffirming loyalty to one’s place of origin? What defines a home for them? What tensions exist between the diasporas and those who continue to reside in Hong Kong?

“The lecture will complicate the dominant discourses in diaspora studies,” says Professor Yuk-Lin Renita Wong, Chair of the organizing committee, “as the current post/de/anti/neo-colonial theories fail to adequately capture the Hong Kong experience in between empires.”

Chan has taught political theory at the Department of Politics & Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong for 30 years. In the spring of 2019 and 2020, as well as the fall of 2022, he served as a global scholar and visiting professor at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. His recent research interests encompass Confucian political philosophy, contemporary theories of democracy and equality, and civil society studies. He is the author of Confucian Perfectionism: A Political Philosophy for Modern Times (Princeton, 2014) and co-edited East Asian Perspectives on Political Legitimacy: Bridging the Empirical-Normative Divide with Melissa Williams and Doh Shin (Cambridge, 2016). His work has been published in numerous international journals.

This year’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library at the University of Toronto. All are welcome and can register here.

About the lecture

A teacher and colleague, Professor Bernard H. K. Luk (1946-2016) was an internationally recognized authority on the history of Hong Kong. Endowed by Luk’s friend and former student Vivienne Poy, the Bernard H. K. Luk Memorial Lecture in Hong Kong Studies was created in honour of his work. Organized by a group of Hong Kong scholars at York University, the lectures and accompanying events focus on Hong Kong as a distinct society, its influence on the wider world or the experiences of the Hong Kong diaspora.