Members of the Department of English are actively engaged in China Studies research in the area of ‘China’s Global Challenges’, exploring both ‘Intercultural relations in the context of China’s outreach to the world’ and ‘Hong Kong’s role in China’s development,’ the latter in relation to English language creativity, development, and use in multilingual China and Hong Kong. Below are some indicative examples of work by Faculty members in this area:
Intercultural Relations in the Context of China’s Outreach to the World
- David Huddart’s research frequently touches on intercultural relations in the context of China's engagement with the world, looking at historical contexts and more contemporary developments. This research covers both language and literature. His book on global Englishes, Involuntary Associations, looks at China’s engagement with English, and specifically at examples such as Hong Kong’s intercultural legacies, as well as the juxtaposition of English and Chinese languages in places such as Singapore. This work is also found in the co-edited collection The Future of English in Asia, which features many contributions focusing on Hong Kong and the Chinese world more generally. He has also co-published on the exploration of Hong Kong identity through its English language literary representation of expatriate identity, and is engaged in a collaborative project on the meaning of numbers (dates, statistics, etc.) in the imaginative representation of Hong Kong.
- Jane Jackson’s research investigates the language and intercultural learning and acculturation/second language socialization/ identity reconstruction of inbound international exchange students in Hong Kong. Her work also investigates the language and intercultural learning and acculturation/second language socialization/identity reconstruction of outbound international exchange students from Greater China (e.g., PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan).
- Michael O’Sullivan’s research has focused on exploring cross-cultural links between the Asian humanities, Chinese humanities and the western humanities. He edited a book with Evelyn Chan entitled The humanities in contemporary Chinese humanities (2016) that brings together renowned scholars working in the humanities in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China. The second chapter of his book Weakness: a literary and philosophical history (2014) examines weakness in Daoist and Confucian philosophy alongside western descriptions of weakness. His book The humanities and the Irish university has a chapter comparing humanities education in Ireland and Hong Kong. His book Irish expatriatism, language and literature (2018) includes three chapters that explore links between Irish writers and diplomats and China and Hong Kong. His book Cloneliness: on the reproduction of loneliness has a chapter on the Chinese writers Cao Xueqin, Ha Jin, Yiyun Li, and Mo Yan. His co-edited collection The Future of English in Asia (2014) includes his chapter on attitudes to English in Mainland China and Hong Kong. He is also an editor of Hong Kong Studies, which covers all aspects of Hong Kong’s rich arts and humanities cultures both in relation to Chinese culture and Hong Kong’s other cultures.
- Li Ou’s research has explored the reception of Romanticism, as both a body of literature and a literary concept, in twentieth-century China. By putting together a trajectory of the reception history of Romanticism, which was very much shaped by the national history, the project explores the complex factors involved in the transfiguration of the original text in the process of its importation. It can be seen as a case study of ‘intercultural relations in the context of China’s outreach to the world’.
Hong Kong's Role in China's Development
- Jette Hansen Edwards’ research explores the issues China and Hong Kong face in promoting English as the language of internationalization. As a linguist, Jette Hansen Edwards is particularly interested in the impact the dominance of English worldwide has on the language ecology of China and Hong Kong. She is also interested in how the status of English in Hong Kong is impacting educational policy for English language teaching in China.
- Carmen Lee has conducted research on how Chinese internet users engage in popular social media through multilingual practices. For example, in a joint project with David Barton (Lancaster University), she has studied Chinese web users’ (including those from Hong Kong and Mainland China) perception of English as a global language and how it is used alongside Chinese.
- Gerald Nelson has written many papers on grammatical and lexical features of varieties of English, including Hong Kong English. He is currently collecting data for a paper on light verbs in HKE.
- Eli Park Sorensen is engaged a collaborate research project with David Huddart and Grant Hamilton entitled “The Significance of the Date in the Hong Kong Imaginaire”, which examines the concept of the ‘date’ in Hong Kong’s cultural and political history. The project will look at a wide range of material, including texts, films and other forms of cultural expressions related to temporal marking, history and historiography, and numbering within a Hong Kong context.
- Eddie Tay’s research explores Hong Kong culture through the study of English language Hong Kong literature, through writing poetry and taking street photography. Tay is the author of four poetry collections, including: i) Dreaming Cities which features his street photography alongside his poems; and ii) The Mental Life of Cities, which is a collection featuring bilingual poetry; this collection won the Singapore Literature Prize 2012 (English Category). Eddie Tay’s research, as exemplified by journal articles such as “Writing photography, Seeing Poetry and Creative Writing Scholarship” and book chapters such as “Curriculum as Cultural Critique: Creative Writing Pedagogy in Hong Kong” explores visual and literary creativity and its educational implications. His research expertise enables him to contribute to society in areas outside of academia.