RAS Chinese History Club

S. C. Young – The Rise of an Irish Policeman in Shanghai, 1904–1938

Speaker: Andrew Field, Duke Kunshan University

Drawing from a treasure trove of original photos and documents as well as newspaper articles from the era, this talk tells the story of S. C. Young, a policeman from Ireland, who arrived in Shanghai in 1904 and remained there until 1938, making his way up the rungs of the police force to eventually serve as Commissioner.

Amidst the dramatic backdrop of war, revolution, crime and gangland politics, Mr Young married an Englishwoman and raised three boys. It will be argued that his stable family life, and he and his wife’s devotion to their church and other social and civic organizations in the city contributed to his rise in the hierarchy of the city’s British community. This talk will feature many photos; it is based on an article that Dr Field published in the RAS Journal in 2018.

Andrew David Field earned a Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. He has taught at universities in the USA, Australia, China and Korea. He currently serves as an administrator and professor of Chinese History at Duke Kunshan University. He has published three books: Shanghai’s Dancing World: Cabaret Culture and Urban Politics (2010), Mu Shiying: China’s Lost Modernist (2014), and Shanghai Nightscapes: A Nocturnal Biography of a Global City (co-authored with James Farrer, 2015). More info on Dr Field and his various projects can be found on his website:


RSVP: bookings@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn