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Tracing ChinaA Forty-Year Ethnographic Journey$
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Helen F. Siu

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9789888083732

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888083732.001.0001

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Women of Influence

Women of Influence

Gendered Charisma

(p.401) 18 Women of Influence
Tracing China

Helen F. Siu

Hong Kong University Press

This essay focuses on the context that has allowed such engagement to take place in institutional, discursive, and personal terms. Although cramped in a small physical territory, residents in Hong Kong have drawn on the cultural resources, images, and institutions of two vast imperial empires. In the first century of its colonial history, Hong Kong was shaped by the global spread of a merchant culture that was dynamic, open, and unorthodox in practice but conservative in its Confucian pretensions and pursuits. The trading partners of Chinese merchants and their associated multicultural moralities added other layers of cultural resources. Historian Elizabeth Sinn argues that, for almost a hundred years, Hong Kong was a significant node—a space of flow between China, the Americas, and Southeast Asia. It thus provided an effective environment for sojourners and settlers, male and female, to deposit layers of value and institutional practice (Siu and Ku 2008, pp. 13–43).

Keywords:   Rural-urban divide, China, Hong Kong, Anthropology, Social changes, Political changes, Identity formation, History, Culture, modernity

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