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Courses offered in Humanities

  • GDAR 1026

    Food, Culture and Society

    The course introduces students to central issues of food culture through a range of theoretical approaches drawn from the Humanities and Social Sciences. Through critically evaluating the practices of food production, distribution and consumption, the course aims to engage students in an informed discussion about their relationship to food in local and global contexts.

  • GDAR 1027

    Gender and Culture

    The course will take an interdisciplinary and multimedia approach to examine gender constructions socially, culturally and historically in literature, film, internet, visual art, and other popular cultural forms, with concrete analyses of examples from Chinese communities and other parts of the world.  Using the perspectives of contemporary gender studies including feminist  scholarship, gay-lesbian analytical tools, critical theory and psychoanalysis, this course will focus on the constructed nature of gender roles, the effects of these constructions on the lives of different gender identities, and the possibilities for change and individual empowerment that a critical awareness can create.

  • GDAR 1035

    Love and Culture

    The course aims to help student understand and analyze the major factors affecting the cultural construction of love and sex via discussion of exemplary works in both Western and Chinese cultures, and engage them in critical attitudes toward current issues on love and sex arising in the local context of Hong Kong.  It will review the ideas and representations of love, sex and eroticism as cultural phenomena in Western and Chinese cultures, bringing in some representing philosophical, social and cultural perspectives of the subject.

  • GDAR/GDVC 1905

    Multiculturalism and society

    This course aims to help students develop critical thinking and gain first-hand knowledge in our multicultural and globalized society. Paying equal attention to theory and practice, course time will be allocated to familiarize students with general concepts and categories useful in ethnic and migration studies; to bring in experts from different disciplines and ethnic communities to share their insights with specific reference to Hong Kong; and finally to let students have direct contact with local ethnic minorities and, under the guidance of lecturers and performance artists with relevant experience, conduct a community project.

  • HUMN 1005

    The Study of Culture

    The study of culture will be conducted to encourage cross-cultural and interdisciplinary thinking. Contemporary cultural issues will be discussed as they relate to key theories in cultural studies. To enhance the interdisciplinary approach to the study of culture, the instructor will address different disciplines and cultural theories, e.g. philosophy, anthropology, sociology, critical theories, literary theories, postmodern and postcolonial discourses.

  • HUMN 1006

    Introduction to the Humanities

    This course is a general introduction to the Humanities by providing students with a basic understanding of the Humanities as an area of study. This course delivers an interdisciplinary and multi-perspective overview of cultural, political, philosophical, and aesthetic factors critical to the formulation of human values and the historical development of the individual and of society. Providing discussion of different themes and disciplines in the Humanities such as literature, the arts, philosophy and cultural studies, this course also introduces the relationship between the Humanities and the university as an idea and an institution.

  • HUMN 2006

    Human Self-discovery

    To introduce various theories of human nature to students as an intellectual foundation for reflection on what it is to be human. To help students to learn how to analyze claims about humanness and to practice their arguments for or against these claims on the basis of comparisons with others’ claims. To explore with students together on particular aspects and problems associated with classical, modern and contemporary theories about humans and human nature in the light of its developments in the history of thoughts gleaned from traditional Chinese and Western philosophies.

  • HUMN 2007

    Chinese and Western Modes of Thought

    This course aims to provide students a clear understanding of the basic differences and similarities between traditional Chinese and Western cultures through comparative study of selected themes in philosophical, religious, moral, and scientific thinking. This course will also analyze issues pertaining to cultural encounters, accommodations, and confrontations in modern and contemporary Chinese history with some emphasis on Hong Kong. This study of cultural interaction will help students acquire a vision of the changing world and develop their ability to adapt to those changes

  • HUMN 2015

    Writing Seminar: Workshop in Creative Writing

    This course aims to enable students to understand and examine the major creative writing genres through practices and critical analysis, explore the rich diversity of modern literary writings, and read representative works in English and Chinese that will parallel the writing exercises in both languages.

  • HUMN 2016

    Performing as Human Experience

    This course aims to (1) boost students’ power of reflection on their daily life experience and values through dramatic re-enactment of situations; (2) enhance students’ multiple intelligences including spatial, intra-personal and inter-personal, etc.; and (3) improve students’ expressive capacity through better use of their bodies and speech.

  • HUMN 2017

    A Lifelong Romance with Films

    This course aims to provide students a humanistic learning experience through examining selected films which discuss fundamental issues of life and living. Films chosen for the course will be narratives about different life stages – childhood, teenage years, adulthood, old age – and will present students opportunities for discussion of meanings and significance of experiences at these life stages. In the course of examining these films and discussing the various questions related to life and living, students will also be learning about the film medium, such as the different genres and their conventions, how stories are told, and different strategies of representation. Through interactive and experiential learning, the course aims to enhance students’ skills of discussion, creative expression, critical thinking, and cultural literacy. It is also hoped that students will form the habit of active participation and become responsible learners.

  • HUMN 2025

    Gender: Theory and Culture

    This course will introduce students to trends of thought and the basic theories in gender studies. This interdisciplinary introduction will define and explore how gender is constructed socially, culturally, and historically, using examples from various cultures.

  • HUMN 2026

    Globalization and Culture

    This course is designed to equip students with the ability to understand culture in the age of globalization from an interdisciplinary perspective. It will study the changing conceptions of culture and the major trends of thought in the discourse of globalization, trying to unravel the complex relationship between globalization and culture.

  • HUMN 2027

    Introduction to the Art of Theatre

    This course aims to introduce the histories and aesthetic principles of the major forms of theatre from the West to the East. It discusses the relation between different forms of theatre and their relations to reality, historical and social background. It helps students to analyse and appreciate different styles and genres of theatre, their aesthetic principle, and their relation with their time and culture. It will also show examples theatre forms with the help of original texts, videos or live performances.

  • HUMN 2035

    Introduction to Western Classical Culture

    This course aims to introduce the foundations of Western culture, i.e. the ancient Greek and Roman culture through understanding and appreciation of selected literary texts. By reading of representative works in epic, drama, poetry, rhetoric, history and philosophy, it helps students comprehend and appreciate the various aspects of classical culture and their significance for the modern Western world. It thus serves as an essential part of the western tradition of humanistic education. Relevant dramas and films about ancient Greece and Rome will also be shown in class to consolidate the understanding of these cultures.

  • HUMN 2036

    Media and Communication: Issues, Concepts and Theories

    This course aims to introduce the complex issues, theories, and methods involved in understanding contemporary mediascape. Through reading classic and contemporary texts on the media, students will learn various theories of the media, the issues raised by these theories, the strengths and weaknesses of these theories, and the diverse methods of studying the media.

  • HUMN 2045

    The Art of Speech: Appreciation and Practice

    This course aims to (1) foster appreciation of the role of rhetoric in Western and Chinese culture, and critical awareness of the power and limitations of the spoken art of persuasion; (2) help students acquire knowledge and understanding of the history and theory of rhetoric the basic philosophical issues about rhetoric and the methods of speech analysis; and (3) provide students with practice and training in the skills of speech composition and delivery.

  • HUMN 2047

    City, Space and Creativity

    This course introduces reflections of how city, space and creativity are inter-related. Through the study of concrete examples drawn from the local, regional and global context, this course investigates the social and cultural construction of various creative spaces in cities such as museum, gallery, studio, community art space, street and other public sphere; examines how spaces and places are shaped and how they in turn influence human subjectivities, behaviors, imaginations and creativity; and provides discussion of the possibility of understanding and imagining space in cities creatively through different kinds of interpretation, intervention and invention.

  • HUMN 3005

    Artistic Creativity and Aesthetics Awareness

    This course aims to (1) introduce artistic creativity as one of the best inventions of the human mind and the sense of beauty as an important dimension of being humane; (2) introduce major principles and theories of art to help students understand various artistic creative processes and their products; (3) enhance students’ critical thinking on artistic phenomena and their reflections on the artistic developments in different social and cultural contexts; (4) encourage students to develop their own artistic abilities, and prepares them to create, appreciate, understand and review works of art critically; and (5) enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of Chinese and Western aesthetics, and the classical and modern masterpieces produced from these aesthetic theories.

  • HUMN 3006

    Great Works in the Humanities

    This course presents an array of primary texts, in English and Chinese, that have shaped the study of the Humanities and have been acknowledged as formative masterpieces in the study of the Humanities. It will demonstrate, through the particular address of primary texts, the humanistic tradition of intertextual study involving literary, philosophical, historical and other forms of writing. The course will encourage students to confront the contemporary controversy surrounding canonical literature, and it will encourage students to exercise independently their critical, analytical, and creative judgments in assessing the value of such canonical works in the modern world.

  • HUMN 3007

    Language and the Humanities

    The goal of this interdisciplinary course is to explore the role of language in defining our fundamental human nature as symbol-constructing, symbol-using beings. Furthermore, the course examines how fundamental issues within the Humanities intersect with the nature of language as both a system and an activity to produce the complex human world we experience as simply “the way things are.”

  • HUMN 3015

    The Making of the Contemporary World

    This course aims to introduce students to the diverse ways of defining modernity from a humanistic perspective and help them develop a critical awareness of our present human condition through a comprehensive view of the formation and the nature of the contemporary world. Emphasis will be placed on the various intellectual, social, philosophical, political, and cultural and technological developments that have transformed the modern world into the contemporary world. The course will integrate notions of modernity from science, politics, religion, philosophy and the arts.

  • HUMN 3016

    Professional Writing Practicum: Essentials of the Craft Writing

    This course aims to (1) enable students to cope with the writing tasks in the commercial and public fields of employment in Hong Kong; (2) help student grasp and understand the functional forms of writing in both English and Chinese; and (3) teach students the intellectual and practical skills necessary for effective communication in the commercial field.

  • HUMN 3025

    Chinese Song Lyric Writing

    This course aims to enable students to understand and examine Chinese song lyrics by exploring the crafts and creativity, the practices and possibilities of this particular literary genre. Student’s ability to write Chinese song lyrics will be enhanced through appreciation and practice. Students will also be familiarized with the functions of song lyrics in contemporary cultural contexts.

  • HUMN 3026

    Creative Industries: Theories and Practices

    This course is designed to enhance students’ understanding of creative industries in general and its development in Hong Kong in particular. It explores popular cultures and its possible relationship with the development of creative industries in a cross-disciplinary approach.

  • HUMN 3027

    Death and Culture

    This course aims at introducing the examining the problem of death from different perspectives like religion, philosophy, art and literature. It examines the religious representation of life after death, philosophical reflections of death and its meanings, and the representations of death in different art forms like literature, drama, visual art and film. Examples from Western, Chinese and other cultures will be used whenever it is appropriate. It helps students to understand and engage in critical discussion about the meanings of death from cultural, religious and philosophical perspectives.

  • HUMN 3035

    Devil and Culture

    The aim of this course is to introduce and examine cultural issues related to the idea of devil and its representations in the Western cultural tradition. It will discuss the idea of evil and the devil from the religious-historical and philosophical perspectives, and then look at examples of the representations of devil from literature, drama and film. Some examples of the Chinese ideas of evil and devil will also be used for comparison. It will help students to understand, interpret and make sense of the idea of the evil and the devil and its meaning in the modern world.

  • HUMN 3036

    Human Beings and Their Imaginary Monsters

    This course aims to study a selection of literary and cinema classics and popular texts which feature monsters created by human beings in modern times. The fascination with the monstrous, as indicated by the variety of monsters created as well as the sustained interest throughout modern times, can be seen as our continuous attempt to discover who we are and how we are related to the world. The studying of these monsters students have created reveals the fears, anxieties and uncertainties human experience in their struggle to self-understanding.

  • HUMN 3037

    New Media Cultures

    This course examines from a cultural studies approach how new media shape and change representation, ideology and power relations in contemporary culture. It is an investigation of the struggle over meaning, knowledge and power produced by newer forms of media (web sites, virtual worlds, multimedia, computer games, digital video, special effects in cinema and net films, interactive computer installations etc). Analysing whether the newness of new media is really new or just a reformation of what already exists, this course explores what kind of challenge new media have brought to our everyday life and studies if the new forms produce distinctively different contents and audiences. We also look at how new media accentuate the productive dimension of the consumption process and identify the moments of transformation in cultural consumption.

  • HUMN 3045

    Popular Music Studies

    This course aims to widen and deepen the students’ basic knowledge of popular music as a pervasive cultural form in contemporary society. It will also enhance their critical understanding of popular music as an academic study through an inter-disciplinary approach.

  • HUMN 3046

    Science Fiction, Film and Culture

    This course aims to examine science fiction through some of its most influential works in the novel, short story, and film. Science fiction and film are the cultural forms that reflect how we understand our world. The possible worlds that science fiction writers and filmmakers predicted do not only offer to conceive some alternate systems but also represent contemplations on radical difference and otherness as well as the ideological nature of our social totality. This course examines how the imaginations of science fiction and film are connected to the historical and collective fantasy of our social world. The culture of science fiction and film, seemingly distanced from its social context, precisely serves as a critique of the latter, by ruminating on the ideological mechanism of virtual reality, human-machine, future institutions, alien races, and the nature of humanity. This course will not only assess the development of science fiction as a popular genre from the early decades of the twentieth century to the explosion of science fiction from the 1950s to the present, but it also traces back to the “proto-science fiction writers” of the renaissance and eighteenth century through the evolution of science fiction in the nineteenth century with Shelley, Poe, Verne, and others. In addition, the course will explore why the science fiction genre is missing in Chinese culture.

  • HUMN 3047

    The Present State of the Arts

    This course aims to (1) provide introductory study, appreciation and critical analyse on modern and contemporary art scenes, including the current development of Hong Kong art, the new Chinese art as well as contemporary Asian art; (2) give students key information for better apprehension of our current cultural phenomena; (3) appreciate art through gallery and exhibition visits, dialogues with artists alongside with lectures and tutorial studies; and (4) consolidate the studies and understanding of art through direct experience and exposure to art.

  • HUMN 3055

    Popular Media and Public Culture in Hong Kong

    This course aims to develop a theoretical and contextual understanding of how Hong Kong popular media contribute to the formation of local public culture and cultural diversity. The course has two focuses. First, it examines how various forms of local popular media are historically shaped by a wide range of external socio-political factors, government policy, local politics, market dynamics, agencies of cultural workers, and changing cultural tastes. Second, the course investigates how this formation process of popular media facilitates or constrains the development of Hong Kong public culture and cultural diversity. Overall, this course helps students explore the complex relationships between Hong Kong cultural formation and the historical dynamics of various commercial and non-commercial forms of popular media. To these ends, a wide range of local popular media such as commercial television, popular music, cinema, lifestyle magazines, popular news media, and public television will be used for discussion. Different strategies for promoting public culture through reforming Hong Kong popular media will also be discussed.

  • HUMN 3056

    Hong Kong Films and Society

    This course aims to enhance students' understanding of how Hong Kong films have been shaping and shaped by the local culture and society and the global context of film-making. To this end, this course will introduce a wide range of approaches to film studies and rethink how to apply these approaches to different periods of Hong Kong film development.

  • HUMN 3057

    Politics of the Ordinary

    This course introduces students to key concepts and ideas of ordinary everyday life as a critical area of studies. The course examines the ordinary practices of everyday living as sites where meaning and power, ideology and subjectivity, governance and resistance are played out and offers a critical reading through theories drawn from the Humanities and Cultural Studies.

  • HUMN 3065

    Research Methods in the Humanities

    This course introduces some of the key approaches and research methods distinctive of interdisciplinary Humanities study, and offers step-by-step guidance to students when they conduct their own interdisciplinary research project. Significant texts (in English and Chinese) concerning the approach, content areas, and discussions in the Humanities will be studied. Students will also learn how to plan and conduct a research in the area of the Humanities, as well as the practicalities of writing up the research paper.

  • HUMN 3066

    Critical Theories I: From Marx to Adorno

    This course aims at introducing the theoretical framework of classical critical theories from Karl Marx to early Frankfurt school. It will provide a sound foundation for the students in understanding basic the concern and arguments of these theories and critically reflecting on their relevance and implications for the contemporary world.

  • HUMN 3075

    East Asia Media Cultures in the Global Age

    This course aims to introduce the complex issues and theories in understanding and explaining East Asia media cultures. It combines both historical and theoretical approach to illustrate the rise of East Asia media cultures. Specifically, it analyzes the production of various key media genres in Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, China and other East Asia countries; examines the textual characteristics of these media genres; and interrogates the complicated flows, reception and influences of East Asia media cultures across the world. It explores various enduring issues such as soft power, colonial hybridity, power dynamics of regional flows, cross-cultural reception, co-production of Asianess and Chineseness, and ‘Asia as method’. Through the above multi-dimensional and cross-cultural analysis, the course aims to address if and how power struggles within and among various East Asia countries have facilitated more symmetrical transnational cultural-flows and served public interests at local, domestic level.

  • HUMN 3076

    Digital Humanities

    This course introduces students to the key concepts, theories and developments in the field of Digital Humanities. It brings the tools and techniques of digital media, and the digitalization of culture, to bear on traditional questions studied in the Humanities and vice versa. The course will be a combination of theoretical inquiry and research into current digital cultural practices.

  • HUMN 4005

    Asia Discourses

    This course aims to introduce students to the diverse ways of defining Asia from various perspectives and help them develop a critical awareness to think about “Asia” as a problematic under the global structure of the contemporary world. Though the traditional notion of Asia is a Eurocentric fabrication, Asia is not necessarily grasped as the other in opposition to the West. Emphasis will be placed on how historically Asia is a position without identity, a continent so much de-regionalized, and a place that keeps searching for its definition. Its developments have been intertwined with capitalist globalization, transforming the world as well as being transformed at the same time.

  • HUMN 4006

    Humanism and the Individual

    This course aims to (1) introduce the concept of Humanism, and how this concept can be seen as the basic shaping force of the modern individual course; (2) develop critical skills by assessing primary and secondary source readings in history, philosophy, art and literature; and (3) demonstrate to students the intellectual and cultural importance of interdisciplinary approaches to learning.

  • HUMN 4007

    Body Cultures

    This course aims to (1) introduce reflections on human bodies in their situated cultures as the existential base of Humanities; (2) introduce the Chinese and various traditional discourses of the body and ends in the examination of the development of these discourses related to contemporary cultural issues; (3) study important and representative body theories and review critically the application and the manifestation of these discourses in their everyday lives; (4) consider body in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural manners; (5) enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of human bodies in relation to their cultural contexts.

  • HUMN 4015

    Histories and Narratives

    This course aims to (1) introduces both traditional and contemporary notions of history and the diverse cultural functions history is called upon to perform; (2) consider historical, cross-cultural, religious, artistic, and ideological viewpoints concerning issues of vital importance in the development of Western civilization; and (3) complement earlier courses’ discussion of the human condition, and will introduce the more specialized theoretical study undertaken in the final term of Humanities study.

  • HUMN 4016

    Major Thinkers in Humanities

    This course aims to introduce the major thinkers in the West who have significant influence in shaping the Western mind. These thinkers are selected according to their comprehensiveness of their thought about understanding of human nature, culture, art, history and the meaning of human existence and their significance in Western intellectual history. It will introduce to the students the contents of their thought by outlining their major ideas and by reading selected texts. It helps students to understand how these thinkers tackle the big issues concerning humanities, i.e. their views about man, human history, art, culture and the meaning of life, and their relation with the modern world. It aims at introducing the major figures of Western thought as factors which shape the Western intellectual universe, and thus provides a solid basis for humanities and cultural studies.

  • HUMN 4017

    Media Representations of Ethnicity

    This course aims to introduce students to the concepts of ethnic identity through different kinds of media representation. It explores the politics and dynamics of ethnic identity formation, drawing on the experiences of various ethnic groups from Hong Kong, China, and other places. We examine representations of ethnicity in the commercial and independent media, investigate what influences these representations, and consider their repercussions. We also analyse how the idea of ethnic hierarchy informs our understanding of power and privilege related to media representation and stereotyping. Although the terms “race” and “ethnicity” are always used interchangeably and together, we will offer analytical distinction between the two terms by focusing on their ideological undertakings and social construction.. Focusing more on the Chinese contexts of ethnic representations, we address if the needs and interests of minority communities are being met by the mainstream media, and whether the minority may reinforce the identification of the ethnic majority in the media depiction. In addition, we ask if change in the diversity of media images is possible and what can be done to promote change for ethnic representation.

  • HUMN 4025

    Cultural Studies

    This course provides an overview of the key concepts, theories, and issues in Cultural Studies. It introduces students to the origins and foundational concerns of Cultural Studies as an academic discipline and an intellectual practice; examines selected critical engagements with reference to specific contexts; and considers the work of Cultural Studies in relation to social, historical, and institutional conditions. The course also addresses such issues as the role of theory and analysis, the relevance of Cultural Studies for public cultures, as well as the constraints and possibilities faced by Cultural Studies practitioners today in their divergent attempts to engage in critical projects of our time.

  • HUMN 4026

    The Art of Creating Stories: Writing and Appreciation

    The course will explore the art of storytelling by discussing the history and role of storytelling in humanities. Followed by introduction to the fundamental elements, i.e. character, point of view, structure, plot, tension and dialogue with selected examples from different genres and forms, a wide variety of fictions, poems and movies will be introduced in this class. Students will learn to appreciate the art of storytelling, and create their own work. At the end of this course, students will develop a series of creative work that show their unique voice by making use of strategies acquired during the process of learning.

  • HUMN 4027

    The Double Face of Creativity: Fact and Fiction

    This course aims to demonstrate the interrelationship between fact and fiction in the writing of creative works through the examination and discussion of the historical fiction. While it is generally believed that fact and fiction are two different and sometimes even opposite writings which happen in different contexts, this course hopes to show that they are two sides of the same coin. Through a study of the historical fiction, students will see the creative aspects of a critical research, and how being critical is an important step towards creativity.

  • HUMN 4035

    Special Topics in Theory and Culture

    This course aims to provide an opportunity for senior students to have an in-depth study of a selected topic related to theory and culture. Students will look at cultural issues from an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and theoretical perspective. The course will guide students to integrate various points of view and develop their own critical judgment.

  • HUMN 4036

    Special Topics in Media and Cultural Studies

    This course aims to provide an opportunity for senior students to have an in-depth study of a selected topic related to media and cultural studies. Students will examine the selected media and culture topic from an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and theoretical perspective. The course will guide students to integrate various points of view and develop their own critical judgement.

  • HUMN 4037

    Special Topics in Arts and Creativity

    This course aims to provide an opportunity for senior students to have an in-depth study of a selected topic related to arts. Students will look at creative arts from an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and theoretical perspective. The course will guide students to integrate various points of view and develop their own creative work and/or critical judgement.

  • HUMN 4047

    Critical Theories II: From Marcuse to Post-Marxism

    This course aims at introducing the theoretical framework of the Critical Theories from Marcuse, Walter Benjamin to Habermas. It will provide a sound foundation for the students in understanding the basic concern and arguments of these theories and critically reflecting on their relevance and implications for the contemporary world.

  • HUMN 4898 / 4899

    Honours Project

    Student will have to submit a Honours Project topic in Year II. The Project will run throughout the summer of Year II to Year III, earning 3 units each semester. The completed work will be of approximately 7,000- 10,000 words in English or 10,000-15,000 characters in Chinese. Students will have a Programme’s Honours Projects Handbook listing all the rules, requirements and guidelines as well as detailed information on the Project including topic selection, form and style, assessment, and other data. The Projects will take into account the process assessment.

  • HUMN 7010

    Advanced Humanities Seminar

    This course is for postgraduate students and It is an in-depth study of selected seminal works in the humanities (e.g. phenomenology, structuralism, post-structuralism, Marxism, gender theory). The course is structured as: I. Origins, Development, and Historical Context a. Methodologies of Human Sciences b. Survey of the Humanities Traditions II. The Role of Universality in the Constitution of Theoretical Ideas a. Nature and Science b. Religion, Enlightenment, and Humanism c. Value and Ideology III. Hegemony: the West and the Rest a. Eurocentric Modernization Discourse b. Colonialism and Resistance IV. Global Impact and Traveling Theories a. Alternative Modernity in an Age of Global Capitalism b. Transnational Cultural Flows