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Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies
Course List

Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies - Course List

Course List

Medium of Instruction

The official languages of instruction are English and Cantonese.

Required Course

CULS5301 Concepts of Contemporary Culture  

This course looks into basic theoretical perspectives and areas of interests in cultural studies. At the knowledge level, this core course is to survey in some detail how the cultural turn in humanities and social sciences helps us understand everyday life in a fresh way, for example ways in which we are being constructed and reshaped by our experience of everyday life, as well as the embedded values (in financial terms and ethical terms) are being forged and circulated explicitly and implicitly. This course seeks to encourage among students attitude of openness to new ideas and learning creatively through living.

Special Electives

CULS5201 Basic Issues in Intercultural Studies  

This course explores the core areas of (inter)cultural studies. Topics such as media culture, consumer culture, theme parks, cityscapes, spectacle society, cyberculture and technoscience culture will be discussed. Emphasis will be given to Hong Kong culture as a basic reference point in its contact and interaction with other cultures.

CULS5202 Modern Urbanscape and Asian Culture  

As cultural melting-pots, cosmopolitan cities around Asia provide some excellent case studies on the relationship between interculturalism and the urbanity of megacities in the world. The question of cultural identity - a plurality of selves - will be explored through a comparative study of the varies urban centres in Asia. The emphasis of study is on the ways how music, literature, TV, film, and technoscape and mediascape (themselves being a mixture of Asian, American and European components) are related to Asia's unique location and its many overcrowded, mishmash, disjunctive cityscape.

CULS5203 The Body in Culture and Art  

Images of the body represent systems of thought, aesthetics beauty and our identity. In this course we will ask: What is a body? How do we define and represent different bodies? In what ways do cultural values mold our perception of the body? How is the understanding of the body informed and transformed by scientific development? Throughout this course we will seek answers to these questions by focusing on the Western and the Chinese traditions from the cultural and the scientific perspectives.

CULS5204 Cultural Studies in Film and Video  

Cinema is one of the most important forms of representations in contemporary culture, and in this course we study film and video culturally and politically. We want to examine how the cultural forms of moving images carry meanings, and how it can and cannot be used as ideological apparatus. Through the studies of film and video we also trace the development of contemporary visual culture and examine how it defines (post) modern lives and experience. Our ultimate aim is to interrogate the boundaries and to locate new terrains between cinema studies and cultural studies.

CULS5205 The Culture of Travel and the Travel of Culture  

Travel has recently become a complex phenomenon of unprecedented proportions. Whereas people travel and bring themselves into contact with other people and other cultures, cultures themselves also travel to different places and societies. Through an interdisciplinary approach, this course provides a theoretical and historical framework to analyze and reflect upon the relationships between travel and culture with the concerns of globalization, consumption, people and places.

CULS5206 Gender, Love and Sexuality in Intercultural Studies  

The course aims to explore the meaning of gender, love and sexuality in an intercultural context from three perspectives: 1) the gender politics as practised by Chinese and Western societies, 2) the concept of love in various schools of thought in the Chinese and Western traditions; and 3) the manifestation of love in Chinese and Western literatures. Literary works will be selected from a variety of genres, including myths, folklore, poetry and fiction, aiming at a critical appreciation of the differences and similarities in the treatment of themes such as romantic love, “boudoir brief,” sexuality and human relationships.

CULS5207 Interdisciplinary Study of Technoscience Culture  

This course endeavours to find ways of integrating different approaches in various disciplines such as history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, communication, journalism and literary analysis with an aim to establish a critical and theoretical foundations upon which the relationships between technoscience and contemporary culture can be investigated with references to scenes in music, literature, media and film. Actual processes of contemporary culture in the making will also be highlighted.

CULS5208 Adaptations, Theatre and Culture  

This course will look at theatre as an intercultural transference, “an unique machinery for overcoming cultural differences and reaching out towards other cultures.” It will examine plays and productions, original and in translation, from theoretical and practical, literary and theatrical perspectives. The concern is not only with how the text is translated but also how new meanings are created against a local cultural environment, such as Hong Kong. Students will attend some local and visiting productions in the theatre.

CULS5209 Special Topics in Intercultural Studies  

The specific topics of this course vary from year to year. Generally, they can be genres, systems of representation, cultural forms, issues and/or theories related to the dynamic process of interactivity among cultures.

CULS5212 Globalization and the Politics of Representation  

Globalization has become a key term in the analysis of contemporary society and culture. This course will trace the development of the concept across different disciplines and theoretical paradigms, review socioeconomic and cultural accounts of globalization, study artistic production, and examine counter-discourses and social movements against globalization. Throughout the course, we will interrogate the politics of representation around globalization, questioning specifically the grounds on which global claims are made; the categories, processes, and practices foregrounded and occluded; the voices privileged, heard and silenced; and the kinds of subjectivities and collective identities enabled and produced in globalization discourses.

CULS5213 Media and Popular Culture  

This course introduces students to the critical study of media theory and popular culture, and its socio-cultural impacts on everyday life, society and geopolictics. It emphasizes the study of history, production, genre, social reception and political effect of various kinds of cultural products such as advertisement, photography, comics, television and VCD technology, popular music and MTV, newspaper and printing culture, computer and internet. The course’s objective is to acquaint students with different methodologies in media theory, and encourage them to examine the media text from the perspectives of semiotics, ideological criticism, gender representation and cultural policy. We also focus on the analysis and evaluation of popular culture in relation to the formation of capitalism, the rise of mass media, the commercialization of culture, lifestyle and leisure in comparative perspective.

CULS5214 Politics of Culture Identities  

This course dwells on various topics in the field of cultural identities, from its historical origin and theoretical ground in the West, to its contemporary phenomena and ramifications across the globe, ranging from Europe, North America, to Chinese and local contexts. The course ends with a discussion of the situation in post-colonial Hong Kong.

CULS5215 MA Research Paper  

Research on an approved topic for writing a graduation paper under individualized supervision. Consent of teacher required.

CULS5216 Queer Movements and Sexual Politics  

This course aims to examine the historical trajectory of queer movements as well as the issues and debates pertinent to them so as to make sense of the complexity of sexual politics in the late modern society. It also poses challenges to the commonly held division between academy and social activism by examining their intertwined but not very smooth relationship.

CULS5217 Digital Culture and Society  

The course focuses on the correlation between culture and technology in the contemporary society. The rise of the information age has brought about categorical changes in social expressions, cultural productions and personal identities. The course will begin a contextual discussion on the advent of the digital age and its impact on traditional media. Thereafter, the course will look into how technology affects the understanding of the trends and developments of a variety of topics related to the contemporary society, such as human rights (including the rights of LGBT), citizen journalism (and public shaming), independent films and documentaries, visual and performing arts, and cultural heritage. The course will conclude with an exploration on how digital media has affected the practices of social work, especially in youth work.

CULS5218 Practical & Critical Film Criticism Writing  

This course focuses on exploring different ways, approaches and theories to write film criticism, primarily on narrative film. There are mainly three teaching objectives the course aims to achieve:1) Examining various critical approaches and techniques of film criticism (humanism, auteurism, genre, social science, historical, esthetics, etc.) and studying functions of each approach, its brief history and its development; 2) Exploring and criticizing the hidden ‘conspiracy’ and ideologies behind the visual and auditory representations; and 3) In popular press, evaluating and reviewing films currently playing in theaters in your own style.

CULS5219 Chinese Society, Culture and Politics 

This course aims to think through some of the contradictions and issues concerning developmental transition, culture and politics in mainland Chinese society through texts on cultural theories, Chinese studies, local and oversea. The course is divided into three sections. The first reviews cultural debates and social concerns in the late 70s and 80s of China. The second investigates the emergence of sharp inequalities arising from developmental contradictions, class stratification and the intellectual debates surrounding these issues. Last the course looks at the latest studies on topics such as new religions, ethnic conflicts, middle class desires and the web media in contemporary China.

CULS5220 Cross-Dressing and Hong Kong Cinema  

This course is designed to investigate the cross-dressing and the gender-crossing of Hong Kong cinema in comparison with Western filmmaking. We will study the cross-dressers and their visual representations in both Chinese and Western cinema. Issues addressed include the historical construction of cross-dressing, the redefinition of masculinity and femininity of transvestites, the queer spectatorship of audience reception, gay and lesbian identities, homophobia and heterosexism, transsexualism and the discourse of AIDS. What we are going to interrogate is how clothes make gender and sexuality in cinematic representation and stage performance especially in martial arts genre and opera film.

CULS5317 Xiqu and Performing Culture  

To help student to understand the richness of Xiqu, this course is aimed at introducing its essential artistic teatures. We will study its contemporary development trends, as well as the mutations and transplantations of Xiqu’s elements in other performing art and cultural practices. Besides, we will learn the aesthetics concepts in Xiqu, and discuss its difficult and exciting developments, especially when Xiqu faces different kinds of performing culture. We will end the course with the thinking of the interrelationship between artistic development or reservation and governmental policy of Xiqu in Hong Kong.

CULS5408 Mass Media and the Transformation of Modern Society 

The rise of mass media and modern social imaginaries has become the historical landmark of modernity. This course probes the interrelationship between mass media and social imaginaries in modern and post-modern ages. It traces the cultural consequences of various communication technologies and their relation to various conceptions of modern public spaces.

CULS5412 Visual Research Methods  

This course will introduce visual and sensory research methods to enable innovative research projects, drawing on frameworks in art history, visual anthropology, new media and cultural research. Students will learn techniques of formal and compositional analysis and study the history of objects and material and intangible culture. They will study questions of ethnographic method, observational and interview skills and visual data production, as well as ethics in fieldwork and in the use of images. The use of photography and video will be presented. Exercise in photo-elicitation, photo- documentation, and image-text and image-sound combination, (photo-essays, soundscape composition etc) will be undertaken as well as basic skills in video composition, videography and editing. New media techniques for image display will be studied as well as methods of archive research focusing on images, film, video and sound. Methods of image classification and interpretation will be introduced. The course will enhance students’ capacities in undertaking visually-focused research projects in community and professional contexts.

CULS5413 User-Generated Content and Digital Culture  

This course is designed to introduce digital culture in web 2.0. It aims to engage learning of cultural activities that takes place in social networking setting. User-generated content is the main form of cultural text that we will examine in this course. The course begins with an understanding of basic theories in cultural studies. Students are expected to understand the fluid nature that culture becomes in the globally connected internet world. The course secondly introduces concepts that are recently developed in the study of user-generated content. It introduces emerging cultural concepts including creative labor, produsage, mashup, convergence, participatory creativity, networked community, remixed culture, copyleft and controlled regulation. The course also includes specific case discussion on how user-generated content is studied in the field of digital humanity. The approach of this course emphasizes lecture, discussion of reading materials, student presentation and applied media practice in student projects.

CULS5416 Twentieth Century Chinese Visual Arts  

The twentieth century is a period of rupture for Chinese arts, in which artists experimented ferociously to develop different forms of modern arts that could respond to drastic social change. A central concern is to transform Chinese visual arts into both modern and Chinese, representing an independent people and nation marching into modernity. Developed around the visual arts, the course would ultimately like to ask a political question: is there a national style? 


This course focuses primarily on the Chinese arts, but we will also pay attention to artistic movements outside China. We will explore different genres of visual arts as well as the overall social and political order of the time. In contrast to the traditional art history approach, this course is devoted to the investigation of how arts and politics became so mutually constitutive with each other in the Chinese context, and how the revolution discourse relied heavily on the arts to connect to the people. We will also explore how Maoist arts cannot be understood simply as political tool. In addition to providing a general overview of the development of arts, we will also investigate the meanings of artistic freedom in China, and explore the identity of artists and authors under an official ideology in which collectivity is deemed much more important than individuals. At a time when nationalism perpetuates Chinese society, a revisit of the “national style” of Chinese arts developed in the twentieth century invites students to reflect on the meanings of Chinese arts beyond narrow-minded Sino-centric frameworks. We could instead go back to some basic aesthetic values and concepts such as emancipation, democracy, and plurality. This course is as much one of art history as one of political and intellectual history.


"The course offering varies each year, not all courses will be offered"