Courses offered in Humanities Programme
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Playwriting for Drama
The course aims at providing basic concepts, knowledge and skills in writing script for theatre play, and also practical training in rehearsing, discussing and revising their scripts. It will introduce different theories of plot construction, character creation and their aesthetic underpinnings. It will at the end provide students with opportunities to see their scripts staged through presentation or mini-performance so that they can further reflect on their works.
Acting: Theory and Practice
This course aims to introduce the histories and aesthetic principles of the major forms of acting. It will also provide basic training in acting through different forms of exercises, both physical and intellectual. It will then provide opportunities to students to have scene work practice by selecting works from well-known plays for analysis, rehearsal and presentation.
Tragedy: Idea and History
This course aims to discuss tragedy in its dramatic forms, its original idea and development in modern times. The course materials introduce the history and key concepts related to the dramatic tragedy, and refer to selected examples of important texts of the tragic in dramatic art as main content of discussion. The idea of tragedy, and what it means in various cultural and social contexts, will be examined in a range of dramatic texts. Through a critical analysis of these dramatic examples of different forms, students can appreciate the effects of stage art and different approaches in acting on the creation of meaning in the texts, as well as their relation with their own time and culture.