“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

THE SWIRE STORY, by Prof. Robert Bickers: “Ships, Planes, Cities and People (And Sugar)”, an RASBJ online discussion

Posted: April 28th, 2020 | No Comments »

THE SWIRE STORY, by Prof. Robert Bickers: “Ships, Planes, Cities and People (And Sugar)

an RASBJ online discussion

WHAT: RASBJ zoom talk by Prof. Robert Bickers on “The Swire Story: Ships, Planes, Cities and People (and Sugar), from the 1810’s to the 1980’s”, followed by QA
WHEN: May 4, 2020, Monday 19:00-20:00 Beijing Standard Time
WHERE: Online via Zoom
HOW MUCH: Free and accessible exclusively to RASBJ members and RAS affiliates worldwide. If you know someone who wants to become an RASBJ member, please ask them to WeChat John Olbrich at johnobeijing  See www.rasbj.org for details.
HOW TO BECOME AN RASBJ MEMBER: If you’d like to become an RASBJ member (or, for PRC passport-holders, to become an Associate) please befriend Membership Secretary John Olbrich on Wechat at johnobeijing and send him your name, nationality, mobile number and email address plus the annual subscription amount (or, for Associates, the suggested donation) of RMB 300 for those resident in China, RMB 200 for those resident overseas and RMB 100 for students. If you join RASBJ by May 2 you’ll receive login details for this event. 

In his latest book, China Bound, Robert Bickers charts the history of John Swire & Sons from 1816-1980. From its origins as a small shipping agency and import/export company in early nineteenth century Liverpool, to its prominent position in Hong Kong’s economy and East Asian trade in the 1980s, most prominently as the owner of Cathay Pacific Airways, the firm threaded its way tenaciously through the heart of modern China’s history. This talk explores the human side of this story of an unusual corporate survivor: the men and women who worked for the firm, and who found themselves at the heart of strikes, boycotts, invasion and revolutions and the technological and political developments which shaped modern Asia and the modern world.

MORE ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Robert Bickers is a writer and historian, and a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. His books include Empire Made Me: An Englishman Adrift in Shanghai, The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, and Out of China: How the Chinese ended the Era of Foreign Domination. His latest book, China Bound: John Swire & Sons and Its World, 1816-1980, is an authorised history of the company, whose archives he first looked at over 30 years ago.

Dear Friends: We hope you’re staying well in these uncertain times. RASBJ launched a popular series of online events March 9, and since then we’ve held nine wonderful talks, from award-winning author Paul French describing “Murders of Old China” to a dynamic discussion of Jung Chang’s book on the Soong sisters, led by Jeremiah Jenne. Here are RASBJ’s upcoming Zoom talks (all beginning at 19:00 Beijing Standard Time):

5/8 Matthew Hu Xinyu on “Rediscovering Beijing”
5/13 Peter Frankopan on “The Silk Roads”
5/20 Guiseppe Cuccia on “Turandot and Western Opera in China”
5/27 Michael Humphries on “Contagion: History and How COVID Will End”
6/3 Isaac Duffy on “The Pagoda Project”
6/10 Prof. Ezra Vogel on China-Japan Relations

If you want to join these events, please join the RASBJ! Follow the instructions (above) to become a member and you’ll enjoy free access to the ongoing Zoom talks – plus their youTube recordings – as well as the RAS China Journal and discounted entry to in-person events and excursions when they resume. Thanks for your support!

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