Radio Literature and Transmedia Storytelling in Cold War Hong Kong, 1949–1969

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project studies radio literature and transmedia storytelling in Cold War Hong Kong. It looks into the enormous production of radio novels during the 1950s and 60s as an under-researched transmedia phenomenon. It scrutinizes the cultural network connecting radio storytelling, airwave fiction, and film adaptation to reveal how radio literature nurtured popular print and audiovisual media. The study examines the cultural politics and aesthetics of radio narratives and adaptations to throw light on the geopolitical significance of Hong Kong during these decades. It considers the bridging roles of radio literature in Sinophone studies and the history of Cantonese cinema. Researchers will examine the interplay between oral tradition, acoustic technology, print, and visual culture to reassess the legacy of transmedia radio storytelling in popular cinema.

Radio wars and ideological competitions over the airwaves have remained underestimated in Cold War studies. The British established Radio Rediffusion (RDF) in Hong Kong in 1949 at a time when they were alert to propagandistic radio content. The project interrogates and goes beyond the political paradigm to reveal the functions and cultural politics of airwave novels that inspired intermedial adaptations between radio, print, and film. Adopting archival research and textual-sociocultural analysis, researchers will trace RDF’s institutional histories to understand the Cold War factor, and examine the cultural network connecting radio storytelling, airwave fiction, popular literature, and film adaptation to reassess radio literature’s connection with Cantonese cinema. Exemplary adaptations and influential radio personalities are scrutinized to understand the generic, textual and sonic features, the role of women in the works, the influence of cultural politics, and international reverberations of radio narratives.

The project reconceives Sinophone studies and the history of Cantonese cinema by reconsidering radio literature as intermediary cultural forms, popular storytelling, and transnational mobility. It renews our understanding of radio literature not only as part of film and media studies, but also the history of Hong Kong and its geopolitical role. It will fill the gaps between the study of traditional literary canons, sound culture, transmedia storytelling, Cold War history, and Hong Kong media and film studies, providing a lens with which to examine the affective, sonic, and transnational significances of radiogenic works and intermedial adaptations. The research outcome will be several refereed publications as well as public knowledge transfer in the forms of exhibitions, forums and screenings to help the public understand the heritage of radio literature in urban everyday life.
StatusNot started
Effective start/end date1/01/2531/12/27


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.