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Prof. D. M. Pomfret
Professor David M. PomfretDepartment Chairperson


BA, PhD Nottingham


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Office: 10.42



Research Projects | Publications | Courses | RPG Supervisions


Professor David M. Pomfret is Chairperson of the Department of History. His research specialisations are in British and French history, histories of Childhood and Youth, and the transnational and comparative history of modern Europe and its empires. His recent work engages with British and French cultures of colonialism through the lens of childhood and youth and utilises a comparative and transnational approach. Focusing upon histories of children, their agency, and how concepts of childhood traveled this research has illuminated how metropolitan and colonial discourses and practices intersected and interacted. His work engages an interdisciplinary audience of scholars and students working on empire(s), specialists working in British or French imperialism, regional (Asian) colonial studies, and the interdisciplinary field of the history of childhood and youth.




Current Research Projects


Currently, Professor Pomfret is working on a RGC GRF project examining trans-colonial cultures of youth in Asia from the late 19th to the mid 20th century. European society in colonial places was often strikingly young. What implications did this have? The project examines the difference that age made to colonialism and imperialism in Europe's empires. Using a trans-colonial and comparative approach looking across empires it reveals how the cultures of youth flourishing in empire places in East and Southeast Asia affected the broad course of European history. The project shows how the youthfulness became a principal criterion for membership of foreign society 'Out East,' and powerfully informed the way 'Europeans' and others saw themselves; how the demographic youthfulness of foreign societies from Saigon to Shanghai posed a multitute of challenges to governments; and how it defined the cultures and institutions of colonialism in places such as Hong Kong, Hanoi, Saigon, and Singapore. This project contributes to an important new research agenda tracing the global genealogies of youth cultural practice and it reveals how youth mobility connected empire worlds.






Youth and Empire

Youth and Empire: Trans-colonial childhoods in British and French Asia
Faculty Research Output Prize, 2017

"Brilliantly connecting the local with the global, Pomfret weaves together richly detailed case studies drawn from new archival and primary research. This book will make a major contribution not only to histories of childhood, imperalism, and modern France and Britain, but also to ongoing theoretical scholarship on global empires, space and urban reform, and the history of emotions."


- Lydia Murdoch, Vassar College


"This book is a striking and original approach to childhood in the British and French Asian colonial world. By examining the various contradictory and overlapping meanings of childhood in colonial Asia, Pomfret is able to provide new and often surprising readings of a set of problems that continue to bedevil our contemporary world."

- Sander Gilman, Emory University


"Fusing two areas that have attracted a good deal of attention over the last few years but have rarely been integrated—the history of childhood and the history of the European Empires—this pioneering work brings to light a wealth of material from archives and libraries across the globe."

- Colin Heywood, University of Nottingham


Transnational Histories of Youth in the Twentieth Century

"Mixing two innovative fields of research does not automatically ensure good scholarship. Yet in the case of Transnational Histories of Youth in the Twentieth Century, a collection of essays edited by Richard Ivan Jobs and David M. Pomfret, the result commands admiration... Jobs and Pomfret's collection adds important new pieces to the historiographical puzzle and greatly enhances our understanding of the reciprocities of the histories of modern youth and modern globalization."


- Mischa Honeck, German Historical Institute, Washington D.C., The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 9:2 (Spring 2016), 356-8


Transnational Histories of Youth in the Twentieth Century

"The global reach of this excellent volume – from China to the Middle East, Japan to South America – is well served by well researched, well argued, and well written chapters on youth, transnationalism, mobility, and modernity. The volume has an excellent introduction and many compelling and original chapters. Some chapters are truly outstanding, many are very, very good... The volume will be of interest to scholars, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates."


- Anne Gorsuch, University of British Columbia


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Teaching and Courses Taught


Professor Pomfret has received The University of Hong Kong's Outstanding Teacher Award, and the University Grants Committee's Teaching Excellence Award, the highest award for teaching at tertiary level in the HKSAR.


  • HIST1016 The Modern World
  • HIST2013 Twentieth Century Europe, Part One, 1914-1945
  • HIST2014 Twentieth Century Europe, Part Two, 1945-1990
  • HIST2042 The History of Sport
  • HIST2046 The Modern European City: Urban Living and Open Spaces
  • HIST2048 The History of Childhood and Youth
  • HIST2062 From Empire to EU: Culture, Politics and Society in Twentieth Century Britain
  • HIST2063 Europe and Modernity: Cultures and Identities
  • HIST4028 History without borders: Special field project
  • CCHU9003 Making History: Engaging with the Powerful Past Link




Research Postgraduate Supervisions


Professor Pomfret has supervised numerous postgraduate students, two of whom won the Outstanding Thesis Prize, and would welcome the opportunity to supervise research in the following areas: history of Britain, France, histories of childhood, youth and the family, urban history, transnational/trans-colonial history, and imperial and colonial history, especially in Asia and South East Asia.

Latest Publication
Youth and EmpireBook
Youth and Empire

Stanford University Press

Publication Date: