“Urban Planning as Protest and Public Engagement:
Reimagining Mong Kok as an Ecocity”
Published in Green Communication and China: On Crisis, Care, and Global Futures, edited by Jingfang Liu and Phaedra C. Pezzullo. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.
In this essay, I investigate Green Mong Kok: An Umbrella Revolution-inspired architectural blueprint for an environmentally friendly and democratic space in Hong Kong. I analyze the volumetric properties of Green Mong Kok (that is, the length, width, and height) and, in doing so, argue that the use of material, nature, space, movement, and culture acts as a form of social control and governmentality that maintains and, in fact, exacerbates the deep class and socioeconomic disparities in Hong Kong. Instead of promoting a sense of ontological belongingness through the design of an environmentally friendly space that harnesses visions of connection, latent architectural ideology, I posit, rematerializes class distinction through the intertwining of the social production and social production of space and, in doing so, invites a sense of ontological separation that maintains the status quo and current way of living in Hong Kong and reinforces homophilic sociability.
“Hong Kong's Vehicles of Democracy:
The Vernacular Monumentality of Buses During the Umbrella Revolution.”
Journal of International & Intercultural Communication 13, no. 4: 328-46.
Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution saw some of the city's busiest streets transformed into temporary sites of artistic expression and freedom. This essay explores the everyday items were turned into in-situ tools of protest – in particular, the subversive use of double-decker buses. I analyze how a number of double-decker buses were transformed from a form of moving rhetoric into static, vernacular monuments representing Hong Kong's history and serving as democratic billboards. Through the display of Hong Kong's present (mainlandization), past (colonization), and future (democracy), the city's protesters were, I suggest, able to communicate their fears about the increasing effects of mainlandization in an attempt to shift Hong Kong's political possibilities.
“The Umbrella Revolution:
Hong Kong’s Resistance Through the Politicization of Daily Life.”
Paper presented to the Rhetoric and Public Address Division of the annual meeting of the Western States Communication Association convention, San Diego, CA, February, 2016.
In the summer of 2014, one of the world’s most orderly and dynamic cities became a battle zone. Overnight, the humble umbrella—one of the ubiquitous aspects of everyday life in Hong Kong—was transformed into a symbol of defiance and solidarity. This paper traces the origins of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution and analyzes how the increasing grip of “mainlandization” led Hong Kongers to turn to an unusual form of resistance by politicizing everyday cultural objects. The rhetoric of these objects is analyzed in order to theorize how Hong Kongers embraced innovative methods of protest. The paper also explores the possibilities for the Umbrella Revolution’s iconic artwork and images to develop into what Hariman and Lucaites (2007) describe as forms of visual eloquence that transform the banal and disruptive to act as signposts for public memory that can “bear witness to something that exceeds words” (p. 3).
Hariman, R., & Lucaites, J. L. (2007). No caption needed. Iconic photographs, public
culture, and liberal democracy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
“Romancing the Chinese Identity:
Rhetorical Strategies Used to Facilitate Identification in the Handover of Hong Kong.”
Published in Foss, S. K. (2016). Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice, 5th ed., Long Grove, IL: Waveland.
In this paper, I analyze the speech of the Chinese president, Jiang Zemin, at the handover ceremony of Hong Kong to China in 1997 to discover how Jiang attempted to entice the citizens of Hong Kong to adopt a Chinese identity. My analysis led to the development of a schema comprised of four tenets that form a communication strategy for the adoption of a new national identity following the narrative of a romantic relationship. I propose that this strategy may be used to facilitate the engagement of national identity in times of conflict and uncertainty in the future.