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.
- 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’.
- Evelyn Chan has co-edited and contributed to a collection of essays entitled The Humanities in Contemporary Chinese Contexts that brings together views on the humanities by scholars working in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China. She is also the primary author of the research report The Value of the Humanities in Higher Education, which is based on 59 interviews with humanities graduates in Hong Kong, and employment survey data.
- Collier Nogues’s research in partnership with DOCUMENT: New Art & Writing about Place-based Histories, a grant-funded collective based at Yale-NUS in Singapore, explores the oceanic connections between Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan through cross-disciplinary work with archival materials. [link]
- Prem Phyak has explored the expansion of the Chinese language in the globalized and multilingual context of Nepal. The paper focuses on interdisciplinary perspectives to understand the growing expansion of the Chinese language in Nepal. He has received a-three-year grant to study multilingualism, geopolitics and the making the Chinese space in Nepal from the Institute of Chinese Studies at CUHK.
- Tongle Sun’s research investigates the language, identity, and (inter)cultural learning of outbound international exchange students from Mainland China and Hong Kong. Her research also focuses on the second language socialization and identity development of inbound international exchange students in Hong Kong SAR.
- Wilkinson Daniel Wong Gonzales' research investigates the interactions between Chinese languages and regional languages in East Asia. His article, "Interactions of Sinitic Languages in the Philippines: Sinicization, Filipinization, and Sino-Philippine Language Creation", for example focuses on the complex dynamics between the languages of the historically indigenous Filipino population and those of the (heritage and homeland) Chinese groups. It uses oral and written data sampled from 12 linguistic varieties in three major Philippine cities across the archipelago. Wil also works on Colloquial Singapore English, a variety of English with major Chinese influence. His most recent co-authored publication explores how an innovative Singlish feature has Sinitic roots. Wil documents the influence of Chinese varieties on other languages in Asia as well as the influence of these languages on different Chinese heritage groups. In addition to studying Chinese-related features of languages, he has also explored how a minority group in the Philippines use Chinese languages to index the Chinese-ness of their Lannang identity. Overall, his work explores China-regional interactions from a sociolinguistic perspective.
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. She has developed a website on linguistic diversity in Hong Kong and China: Telling Stories: Linguistic Diversity in Hong Kong.
- 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.
- Eli Park Sorensen is engaged in 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 forthcoming Palgrave Pivot book is called Hong Kong as Creative Practice. Tay’s research expertise enables him to contribute to society in areas outside of academia.
- Joanna Mansbridge’s research draws attention to how Hong Kong theatre-makers, such as Zuni Icosahedron, are exploring and expanding Hong Kong’s cultural role within Greater China and the Greater Bay Area through their cross-cultural exchanges with performers and institutions across Asia and in Europe.
- Wilkinson Daniel Wong Gonzales is engaged in a research project that aims to create a contemporary sociolinguistic corpus of Englishes in Hong Kong. He is collecting online (e.g., Twitter, WhatsApp) data as well as verbal communication data (e.g., narratives, interviews) from various social groups in Hong Kong, hoping to describe the development of Hong Kong English alongside the English spoken in Mainland China.