About me

I have a doctorate from the University of Oxford and have held postdoctoral fellowships at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, University of Saskatchewan, and Institute of Research, University of London. I am a historian of late imperial and modern China, Hong Kong, and the overseas Chinese interested in the transnational maritime world, frontiers and borderlands, empires and colonialism, and race and ethnicity, all themes pertaining to global history. I am revising my dissertation into a monograph entitled “The Opium War and China’s Littoral Borderlands,” which will reveal a Chinese littoral world that offers a new understanding of the nature and legacy of the Opium War (1839-42). The book will explain how the wartime clashes between the Qing empire’s sea frontier and the British empire’s littoral frontier ushered in a new era of the Chinese junk trade, piracy, and Chinese association with foreigners along the coast and rivers of China and beyond. My other research projects include a history of the Chinese in the Canadian Prairies (present-day Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba), a history of the urban public markets in Hong Kong, and a history of political and intellectual representations of ethnic groups living on China’s watery fringes from the late Qing to the early PRC period.

I edited an interdisciplinary volume (Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California Berkeley, 2018) on the intertwined histories of Hong Kong, modern China, and the British Empire. I have articles published in Modern China (online version available here), Frontiers of History in China, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, and Saksaha: A Review of Manchu Studies. I am the guest editor of the latest special issue of the Canadian Journal of History,  “Transnational Chinese Passages and the Global Making of Frontiers and Borderlands.” I possess reading ability in the Manchu language (one official language of Qing China) and participated in a translation project about A Dagur Story, a Manchu historical fiction about the resistance of a local ethnic group against Russians in early modern Inner Asia.

I have held visiting positions at the University of Cambridge, the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Taiwan’s Center for Chinese Studies. For the past decade I have worked at archives and libraries in Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Britain, and North America including the National Archives and the British Library in London, the First Historical Archives of China in Beijing, the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., the Guangdong Provincial Archives in Guangzhou, and Academia Sinica in Taipei.

I taught survey courses in Chinese history in the Department of Chinese Culture, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Department of History, University of Saskatchewan. I previously taught modern and contemporary China, modern Japan, and European history and civilization at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Hong Kong.

Email: gary-c.luk@polyu.edu.hk

(Last update: November 2, 2020)

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