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CGED Research Seminar Series

Female Detectives and Burglars in Hong Kong Popular Literature and Films of the 1950s and 1960s: A Transregional, Transcultural and Transmedia Fantasy of Female Empowerment



Wei Yan Vivien, Assistant Professor, School of Chinese, HKU


Wong Shuk-han Mary

Associate Professor, Department of Chinese, Lingnan University


Alvin Wong

Assistant Professor, School of Humanities (Comparative Literature), HKU

Date: 30 November 2022 (Wednesday)

Time: 2:30 PM (HKT)

Delivery: via Zoom & CPD-G.02, G/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU

Details and registration:

All are welcome. Please register and indicate whether you will be attending via Zoom or in person.


This talk discusses the representation of female detectives in Hong Kong popular literature and cinema during the 1950s and 1960s. In July, 1950, The Blue Book, a detective magazine founded in Shanghai in 1946 and relocated to Hong Kong in 1950, re-chronicled the adventures of the Female Burglar Huang Ying series. Eventually Huang Ying in Shanghai stories were made into films. Shot in Hong Kong with Cantonese dialogue, the fantasy of female empowerment in Huang Ying films attracted many female viewers. Following the success of Huang Ying stories, the figure of the fighting female detective flourished in books and films. Furthermore, influenced by the 007 films, traditional martial arts literature and the rebellious culture of the 1960s, Hong Kong cinema of the 1960s formed a new subject of the “Jane Bond” films. A study of the fictional female detectives provides new perspectives to assess the transregional, transcultural and transmedia construction of feminine gender during the period.

Speaker Biography:

Wei Yan Vivien is Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Literature in the School of Chinese at The University of Hong Kong. Her research areas include detective literature in modern China, popular culture in Hong Kong of the 1950s and 1960s and Sinophone Literature. She is the author of Detecting Chinese Modernities: Rupture and Continuity in Modern Chinese Detective Fiction (1896-1949) (Brill, 2020), and The Transculturation of Judge Dee Stories: A Cross-cultural Perspective (Routledge, 2022).

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