EXCLUSIVITY AND COSMOPOLITANISM: MULTI-ETHNIC CIVIL SOCIETY IN INTERWAR HONG KONG

VIVIAN KONG
2020 The Historical Journal  
While recent work has shown that interwar Asian civic associational culture was becoming more plural than previously understood, scholars focus mostly on transnational networks and neglect local associations co-existing in the colonial urban space. We also know little about how internationalist and liberal ideals interacted with notions of racial and national exclusion prevalent in the wider society. To overcome this, this article examines local organizations alongside transnational networks in
more » ... interwar Hong Kong to understand fully how global trends in the interwar period affected colonial civic culture. Drawing on Freemasonry, Rotary, the League of Fellowship, and the Kowloon Residents' Association, I discuss the aspirations of multi-racial urbanites in interwar Hong Kong and their limits. I argue that, while internationalism and colonial hierarchies allowed solidarity to be forged amongst multi-racial urbanites and encouraged their civic engagements, racism embedded in the society, rising nationalism, and constitutional constraints put limitations on their aspirations.
doi:10.1017/s0018246x20000138 fatcat:7vob3qtdafha7ilghge7sexa7i