Sophie Qi

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20222023 Forum on Heritage

Sophie Qi

Health and Societies; History

CAS, 2023

Sophie is a senior from Hong Kong, majoring in History and Health and Societies, with concentrations in Diplomatic History and Healthcare Markets and Finance, respectively. Her research interests include colonialism, 20th Century diplomacy, women’s health, and public health infrastructures. Her current project, which examines the public health infrastructure in colonial Hong Kong through a localized, gendered lens, combines several of these research interests. At Penn, Sophie is an editor-in-chief for the Punch Bowl, Penn’s premier satire magazine, a Collegium Fellow, a member of the History Undergraduate Advisory Board, and a Class Ambassador. In her spare time, she also enjoys photography, embroidery, and trivia quizzes. 

Miss Super Clean: Public Health as Nation Building in Late-Colonial Period Hong Kong

The Miss Ping On competition (1959-62) was a health education and inspection campaign undertaken in the late 1950s that reflected a new era of public health strategy in Hong Kong, focused on preventing disease through health education and more cautious health inspections. 10 years later, the Keep Hong Kong Clean Campaign was a public health campaign centered on hygiene as a symbol of civic responsibility and modernity. The character of these campaigns contrasts the Colonial Administration’s history of negligent, aggressively paternalistic public health policy and the city’s respondent history of protest and resistance. Through a case study of these two campaigns, this project argues that the development and reception of public health campaigns in the post-war era resulted from parallel developments in Hong Kong's colonial and national identity. Specifically, the new importance of Hong Kong to British colonial interests and American Cold War interests incentivized public health and welfare investments. Growing prosperity also facilitated the emergence of a unique ‘Hong Kong’ identity encouraging Hong Kong citizens to adopt hygienic practices as a means of self-strengthening. In turn, the relative success of these public health campaigns reinforced nationalist and colonialist commitments to the city, aiding in the formation of a unique ‘Hong Kong’ identity.