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Dr. John Erni: Ethnic Minorities, Hong Kong Chineseness, and the Politics of Stranger-relations

Ethnic Minorities, Hong Kong Chineseness, and the Politics of Stranger-relations

Speaker: John Nguyet Erni, Chair Professor in Humanities & Department Head, Department of Humanities & Creative Writing, Hong Kong Baptist University

Reservation required
Please reserve online by October 30
Date:4 November 2015 (Wednesday)
Location: SFU Segal Building, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver, Room 4800
As metropolitan as Hong Kong is, there is strange silence on the subject of strangers.  Meanwhile, there is an urgent need to grapple with the politics of stranger-relations in a city that has seen more and more overt conflicts arising from various forms of socioeconomic and cultural dissatisfaction.  I wish in this lecture to offer my own thinking on the political epistemology of the stranger in order to better mark the present time-space of Hong Kong.  Over the past few years, I have raised the question of racial minority politics as a specific form of stranger politics that, in my mind, has been under constant erasure in Hong Kong.  I am puzzled about a void amidst the intellectual effort made to theorize “Hong Kong identity” ever since the complicated moment of the “1997 question” led to an unprecedented intellectual preoccupation on who the “local” was and what kind of politics of the local would take the people of Hong Kong to survive its future.  That void is, to put it sharply, the dearth of attention paid to the role racial and ethnic difference played in the identity politics of the local, in terms of historical consciousness, language politics, media representation, and identity politics.  The questions I pose here are: what social and discursive forms do racialized strangers in Hong Kong take, and how do these forms of “outsiderliness on the inside” relate to the majority’s preoccupation with, and defense of, “Hong Kong Chineseness”?
SFU David See-Chai Lam Centre
UBC – Hong Kong Canada Crosscurrents
Hong Kong Baptist University
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