Critical Theory is an area in which literary scholars develop systematic approaches to literature. These approaches offer tools to explore and discover textual structures and patterns, and methods to analyse how these dynamics relate to the wider context of worldly phenomena. Critical Theory has changed how literature is read - and, in some cases, how it is written; it has brought to attention the way in which literature negotiates complex subjects such as language, identity and society. The study of Critical Theory is to read the history of ideas - encompassing areas such as philosophy, aesthetics, politics and history - with literature as the main protagonist.
The English Department at CUHK is at the forefront of expanding the field of Critical Theory. Faculty members undertake research in some of the most dominant areas of Critical Theory, including Marxism, Feminism, Poststructuralism, Deconstruction, Eco-Theory, Psychoanalysis, Postmodernism, Phenomenological Criticism, Disability Studies, Queer Studies, Narratology and Object-Oriented Ontology. Evelyn Chan’s work focuses on critical discourses on modernism, Joseph Conrad and Virginia Woolf. Grant Hamilton specializes in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, literary theory, object-oriented ontology and postcolonialism. David Huddart’s fields include autobiography, postcolonial theory, poststructuralism and literary theory. Carmen Lee works on critical sociolinguistics, language and identity and multilingualism. Joanna Mansbridge’s research draws on various social, feminist, and ecocritical theories as frameworks for understanding and interpreting performance, film, and visual culture. Collier Nogues’s research interests include literary theory, postcolonialism and neocolonialism, queer theory, and ecocriticism. Tongle Sun’s research investigates the relationship between language, culture, and identity, as well as the role of power in intercultural communication. Prem Phyak draws on critical theories to investigate linguistic inequalities and social injustice in language policies. He builds on decolonial theories to explore the space of Indigenous languages in education. Eli Park Sorensen is working on literary theory, postcolonialism, and comparative literature.