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Bobby Tam

About me

I am a final year PhD student. I did my undergraduate and MPhil study previously in the University of Hong Kong.

My research

I study the history of death in nineteenth-century British colonial China. During my MPhil, I have written a thesis on how death was managed in colonial Hong Kong from 1841 to 1913. My current research focuses on history of death from an emotional perspective, exploring emotional expressions to death in multiple British colonial settings in nineteenth-century China. I explore how emotions of death were expressed and discussed in a context where cultural norms were actively contending. This includes looking into emotional expressions from both the public collective and private individual perspective.

Supervisors: Dr. Song-Chuan Chen and Dr. Robert Fletcher

Research interests

I am interested in a wide range of historical topics, including:

History of death

History of emotions

History of youth

History of music

Nineteenth-century British Empire

Late Imperial and Modern China

Academic Profile

  • The University of Warwick, PhD (History), 10/2018 – 10/2022
  • The University of Hong Kong, Master of Philosophy (History), 9/2016 – 9/2018
  • The University of Hong Kong, Bachelor of Arts (History) (First Class Honours), 9/2012 – 6/2016

Scholarships and academic awards

  • Warwick Graduate School - Warwick China Scholarship, 2018-2021
  • University of Hong Kong - Wang Gungwu Prize for ‘best Research Postgraduate thesis’, 2019
  • Dr. John D Young Memorial Scholarship, 2018
  • Postgraduate Scholarship (HKU), 2016-2018
  • Wang Gungwu Prize for Undergraduate Students, 2016
  • Centenary Prize in History, 2016
  • George Endacott Prize in History, 2014
  • Evergreen Scholarships for History Students, 2013-2016

Teaching and other academic work experiences

  • Seminar tutor for 'Academic Research and Writing Programme', University of Warwick, 10/2021 - 4/2022
  • Seminar tutor for 'HI 153 Making of the Modern World', University of Warwick, 10/2020 - 12/2020, 1/2022 - 6/2022
  • Seminar tutor for 'HI 173 Empire and Aftermath', University of Warwick, 10/2019 - 6/2020
  • Organiser of Spring History Symposium 2018 in History Department, University of Hong Kong, 1/2018 – 5/2018
  • Seminar tutor in History Department, University of Hong Kong, 1/2017 - 5/2017


  • 'Between Fear and Respect: Vocabulary and Meanings of the Dead Body in Urban China from the Late Qing to the Early Republican Era' British Journal of Chinese Studies 12, no. 1 (2022): 20-39.
  • 'Afterlife of the Wealthy: the burial of merchant communities in nineteenth-century colonial Hong Kong' in Chronicling Westerners in Nineteenth-Century East Asia, edited by Robert S.G. Fletcher and Robert Hellyer (Bloomsbury, 2022).

Conference papers presented

  • May 2021: 'Between Fear and Respect: Lexicon and Meanings of Dead Body in Urban China from the Late Qing to the Early Republican Era,' The Remains of the Body: Legacy and Cultural Memory of Bodies in World Culture (Humanities Research Centre, University of Warwick).

  • July 2020: 'Episode 6: Communal Commemoration and Emotion' The Warwick Postgraduate History Podcast 2020.Link opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window

  • May 2019: 'Stories of Fear: Colonial State Inquests of Unreported Deaths in Nineteenth-century Hong Kong,' Department of History - Postgraduate Conference 2019 (University of Warwick).
  • February 2019: 'Inventing Sacredness in the East: The Development and Transformation of a British Garden Cemetery in Colonial Hong Kong,' Global Victorians: When East Meets West (University of Warwick).
  • May 2018: 'Morality from the state: funerary practices and burial for infant deaths in early Colonial Hong Kong,' Children and Youth in a Global Age (University of Hong Kong).
  • May 2018: 'A Cemetery of Our Own: Death Management and Identities in Colonial Hong Kong at the turn of the Twentieth Century, 1894 – 1913' Spring History Symposium (University of Hong Kong).
  • April 2018: 'From illegitimate to recognized: Chinese burial spaces in Colonial Hong Kong under intervention and modernization, 1856 -1913' Resistance in History: From Transgression to Transformation (Chabraja Center for Historical Studies, Northwestern University).
  • May 2017: 'Early colonial state intervention in Chinese death practices in Hong Kong, 1856-1880' Spring History Symposium (University of Hong Kong).

Bobby Tam