English majors in their final year of studies carry out independent research on a topic approved by the Department and supervised by a teacher. The project is centered on a topic related to literature or applied linguistics. The project includes critical reflection on the research process and builds on undergraduate learning in the major. The Department nominates and recommends at most four excellent capstone projects each term. These exemplary capstone projects demonstrate the excellent quality of undergraduate training offered by the Department.
2016-2017 Term 1
FelixLo Felix Lo Tze Chun
Queer Writing in Crevasse: Spectrality, Subjectivation, Subversiveness
Supervisor: Prof. Julian Lamb
Felix Lo’s capstone essay offered a very sophisticated analysis of Nicholas Wong’s recent collection of poems, Crevasse. Wong is a gay Hong Kong poet, and though the collection is not explicitly gay, its themes and formal experimentation are sensitively analysed by Felix, whose approach was heavily influenced by queer theory. Felix argued that queerness is always inevitably spectral and elusive, and to define Wong’s collection as “queer” not only potentially curtails its relevance, but is fundamentally to misunderstand what queerness is.
SallyLeung Sally Leung Yuen Sze
Language Identity Exploration through my Study Abroad Poems:
An introspective, critical account of my year abroad

Supervisor: Prof.Jane Jackson
I would like to recommend Sally Leung Yuen Sze for the capstone award. She worked very well throughout the semester (enthusiastically!) and throughout her project she engaged in critical reflection on past, present, and future elements. Her project, which is entitled ‘Language Identity Exploration through my Study Abroad Poems: An introspective, critical account of my year abroad’, fits with the aims of the capstone course. During the semester, she experienced significant personal growth as she reflected on her self-identities, coursework, and international experience. Her study incorporates creative literary works (poems she wrote that illustrate her study abroad experience and unique developmental trajectory/identity expansion) and applied linguistics analysis (a critical investigation of language and identity elements in relation to relevant theories). Her report is both descriptive and analytical and demonstrates growth in self-awareness and deep reflection. In particular, she reflected on the impact of her UG studies/study abroad experience on her future career as an English language teacher and identified personal strengths as well as gaps in her preparation. Sally has applied to join the postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) after graduation and her reflective work has helped prepare her for this. In sum, she was actively engaged in this project throughout the semester and she produced very good work (presentation and written report). I am happy to put her name forward for review. I enjoyed working with her.
2016-2017 Term 2
AshleyLau Ashley Lau Yee Ting
Floating and Drowning in Fluidity: Identity Creation in The Woman Warrior and Mona in the Promised Land
Supervisor: Prof. Eli Park Sorensen
Ashley wrote a sophisticated capstone thesis on the complexities of Chinese-American identity, creating a subtle theoretical framework around Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior and Gish Jen’s Mona in the Promised Land. Working through a wide range of identity-related concepts — such as hybridity, mimicry, the liminal, double-consciousness and performativity — Ashley managed to combine this bold theoretical approach with an authoritative and passionate reading of the literary texts. Her discussion of the delicate balance between socio-cultural influence and individual creativity linked particularly well with the chosen texts. Lastly, Ashley brought her ideas into a broader discussion of diversity and identity-formation in today’s society, thus stressing the ongoing relevance of literary thought.
LeeYiKi Renee Lee Yi Ki
The Pedagogical Potential of Code Switching in ESL Classrooms
Supervisor: Prof.Derek Chan
Renee Lee studied how alternating language use, or code switching (CS), could benefit or hinder English language education in local secondary classrooms. Although CS seems inevitable in many language contact situations, as psycho- and socio-linguistic studies have robustly attested, the Education Bureau discourages or even prohibits CS in the official Medium of Instruction (MOI) policy. Seeing the contested issues involved, Renee strategically triangulated classroom observation and survey data to gain a deeper insight into the myths and realities surrounding CS. The entire capstone project was meticulously designed and implemented. Renee even completed her target milestones ahead of schedule. I was impressed, once and again, when
Renee shared her interesting novel findings. CS is a well-received pedagogical tool, especially in domains of grammar acquisition and meaning negotiation, by learners and teachers alike. Teachers especially welcome CS, seeing it as an affective bridge between teachers and learners who share the same language background. Renee called for more research into this untapped potential of CS, which has far-reaching implications to pedagogy and policy. Renee’s performance in this capstone project, from beginning to end, is stellar. She has my best regards for her PGDE at HKU.

I wholeheartedly recommend Renee LEE Yi Ki for your consideration of Exemplary Capstone Projects (2016-17 Term 2).

Awarded Projects in Previous Years
2015-2016