Strategies of World War II Commemoration in Hong Kong and Singapore


This Ph.D. project examines, from a British perspective, in what manner and to what ends the Second World War was commemorated in both Hong Kong and Singapore. In doing so, it attempts to integrate Southeast Asia into memory and commemorative studies which often remain euro-centric. By looking at the post-war years from 1945 until 2005, the project also links the respective colonial and post-colonial periods.

At the core of the analysis lies the exploration of how official connotations of existing and newly established remembrance ceremonies, war memorials, and other places contextualising the war in Hong Kong and Singapore were gradually transformed. These processes provide clues to means and objectives of various strategies employed by both governmental and non-governmental agents aimed at integrating/disintegrating certain aspects of the local and the British war experience, thereby, creating particular points of reference for identification. The assortment of such strategies ranges from installing and (re-)shaping highly politicised architectural markers to laying out and commercialising war-related heritage landscapes. How and why trans-cultural readings of the objects and practices under scrutiny were produced in both territories will be another focal point of this dissertation.

Broadly speaking, this project determines the ability and inability of strategic war commemoration to trans-culturally instil order and a sense of identity in colonial and post-colonial hierarchies.

  • Exzellenzcluster
  • Geschichte
Funding sources
Name Project no. Description Period
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft726/09
Further information
Period: 01.06.2009 – 31.05.2012