The use of sinology in the nineteenth century: Two perspectives revealed in the history of Hong Kong

Man Kong Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Of the three reasons for the "eventual acceptance of Sinology as an academic subject," as suggested by Wolfgang Franke (1912- ), the third reason, "practical requirements in the wake of colonial expansion,"2 is of particular relevance for students of Hong Kong history. This chapter investigates the historical connotations of "practical requirements" that made possible the pursuit of sinology, as illuminated through the cases of James Legge (1815-1897) and Ernest John Eitel (1838-1908).3 Legge and Eitel had worked for the London Missionary Society (LMS) for about 30 years and 14 years respectively before the former became the first Chinese professor at the University of Oxford for 21 years and the latter a civil servant of the Hong Kong government for 18 years. LMS China missionaries began studying the Chinese language from the 1810s. This paper thus begins with an attempt to outline the origin of the use of sinology among LMS China missionaries. The latter part tackles questions about the uses of sinology for the missionary cause and the colonial administration in Hong Kong. This chapter also examines the uses of sinology, or practical requirements behind their pursuit of sinology, and covers briefly their academic contributions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationColonial Hong Kong and Modern China
Subtitle of host publicationInteraction and Reintegration
PublisherHong Kong University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9622097200, 9789622097209
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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