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A 1978 protest at an all-girls Catholic school in Hong Kong in which several hundred students participated will be the topic of the next Modern China Lecture Series program at Cal State San Bernardino.

Gender and Agency in Hong Kong Activism: The Case of the 1978 Golden Jubilee Secondary School Protest,” presented by Gina Tam, assistant professor of history at Trinity University in Texas, will take place at 10:30 a.m. Monday, April 17, on Zoom, as well as in person at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, room SB-210.

The program is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required. The livestream of the talk can be accessed at https://csusb.zoom.us/j/388207496.

Amid allegations of financial malfeasance, lack of transparency and ill treatment of students by school administrators, hundreds of students, along with some teachers, at Precious Blood Golden Jubilee Secondary School staged a sit-in in front of the Governor’s Mansion (Hong Kong was a British colony at the time) and the Hong Kong Cathedral Compound.

In response to these students’ calls for dialogue with both the Precious Blood order of nuns and the Hong Kong colonial government, the Education Department, instead, abruptly closed the school altogether, claiming that the protests had escalated so far out of control that the school itself could not be saved. 

Today, this protest is largely forgotten in the history of activism in Hong Kong, and the protests’ main participants – the students of the all-girls school – are largely remembered in the historical record as “brainwashed” young women with no voice of their own. In this presentation, we will re-examine the history of this school protest, using it as a way to talk about how gender affects the ways we assign agency and leadership in grassroots activism. 

Tam, who has a B.A. in history and Asian studies from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in modern Chinese history from Stanford University, teaches the history of China, the history of modern East Asia, race and ethnicity in East Asia, and gender in China, among other topics. She is the author of “Dialect and Nationalism in China” and is working on a new project that explores the relationship between gender and post-colonialism in the history of protests in post-war Hong Kong.

The Modern China Lecture Series was initiated to promote awareness of important issues related to China for those on the CSUSB campus and in the community.

In the series of more than 60 lectures, workshops, film screenings and roundtable forums since January 2014, China scholars from UC San Diego, UC Riverside, the Claremont Colleges, UCLA, USC, UC Irvine, Columbia, Oxford and other institutions have visited the CSUSB campus to share their expertise and opinions.

Speakers in the series have included specialists in history, economics, political science, philosophy, finance, security studies, literature, anthropology and other fields.

On Wednesday, April 19, also at 10:30 a.m., Daniel Murphy, assistant professor of political science at Yale University, will present his talk on “Chinese State Media and Its Global Audience.” That program will also be offered in person at CSBS room SB-210 and virtually on Zoom at https://csusb.zoom.us/j/388207496.

The series cosponsors this year are the CSUSB Department of History, the History Club/Phi Alpha Theta, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, and the Intellectual Life Fund. Series organizers are Jeremy Murray and Alexander Serrano.

For more information on the Modern China Lecture Series, contact Jeremy Murray, associate professor of history, at jmurray@csusb.edu.