Courses offered in Humanities Programme
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Environmental Humanities: Key Concepts
This course explores the complex interrelations between nature and human culture, while examining the roles of arts and humanities in creating and perpetuating a more biologically diverse and resilient world in the current moment of global ecological crisis. Aiming at introducing ecocriticism in the humanities to students, the compelling contents of this course endeavour to raise more ethical and political concerns for the environment, nonhuman species, and ecological justice. The course applies various distinct ecocritical approaches to cultural, literary, and visual studies, engaging in interdisciplinary learning methods through processes of careful observation, deliberate description, and critical analysis.
Climate Change Literature and Culture
This course introduces students to literary and cultural texts that raise environmental awareness, drive climate action, and imagine alternative futures. Students will investigate themes of sea level rise, ocean garbage, overdevelopment, resources extraction, and urban waste at the intersection between environmental justice and social justice issues of race, migrant worker rights, Indigeneity, colonialism, and other minority livelihoods. Through a diverse range of fictional stories, films, artworks, and popular cultural texts, students will explore literary and cultural forms that go beyond realist conventions, including science fiction, magical realism, fantasy, apocalypse, eco-art, and Indigenous futurisms. The course will take students on an imaginative journey to a diverse range of geographical locations while keeping a focus on the environmental literature and socio-economic changes in Asia and Hong Kong. Students will gain an understanding of the unique capacity of the arts in engaging with the emotional, ecological, and aesthetic experiences of life under climate change. In particular, the course will engage students in experiential and service learning to cultivate reflective and participatory projects on doing environmental humanities.
Health and the Humanities
This course is an introduction to Health Humanities, a new interdisciplinary field of study that explores the relationship between the arts and humanities and human health and illness. The course will explore two primary questions: How can the humanities be applied for the pursuit of health and flourishing in medical treatments and beyond? How can the humanities productively critique and enhance the practice of contemporary medicine towards a more holistic and fair health practices? The course will connect key health-related topics to central discussions in the humanities surrounding the notions of gender, race, sexuality, class, and identity, among others. It will use a range of materials from humanistic disciplines including philosophy, critical theory, cultural/media studies and creative writing and draw examples from various creative practices – e.g. literature, film, music, visual and performing arts, etc. – to a) encourage students to discover and analyze the multiple ways in which the humanities have increasingly been recognized and used as a tool towards better holistic healthcare; b) explore issues related to empathy, power and fairness in contemporary medicine to better understand and enhance the pursuit of health.
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.
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.
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.”