Topics


Sub-group A:
Language, stereotype, and identity (Dr. Katherine Chen)

(Monday: 12:30 – 14:20)

The language we use and perceive, among other meaningful signs, contribute to our ideas about ourselves and other social beings, and in turn affect how we act and act upon others. We will explore the various dimensions of the relationship among language, stereotype, and identity in this colloquium. 

The content of this colloquium will be organized and created collaboratively with the students. The students will bring in academic readings they have encountered before that they considered relevant according to a list of themes and “startup” readings proposed by the teacher. Under guidance, the students will work in groups to lead a class discussion as well as produce a public knowledge-sharing platform in the form of a google sites on one of the themes of the colloquium. 

 

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Sub-group B:
Text, Travel and Mobility (Dr. Julia Kuehn)

(Tuesday, 10:30 – 12:20)

In this capstone course we will look at selected pieces of travel writing and/ or texts about travel and mobility, with the aim to compile an annotated, online anthology by the end of the semester. Students will chose – in consultation with their teacher – texts about travel and mobility which will then be pre-circulated and discussed in class. The texts can be primary texts about a particular travel experience, crossing centuries and regions (and students may want to consult an anthology like Paul Fussell’s Norton Book of Travel as a first instance) but also secondary texts of criticism or texts offering theories of travel and mobility.

We will meet once a week in the second semester. For the first eight weeks of the semester, meetings will consist of discussions of students' chosen and pre-circulated texts. Each student is responsible for choosing, preparing and guiding the discussion of one text about travel or mobility (or something related to travel and mobility). During the final weeks of the semester we will focus on writing up these introductions and discussions (i.e. annotating our texts), peer-reviewing and editing these and creating a simple Google website presence for each text which will go online into a School of English archive that showcases our BA students’ work.

 

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Sub-group C:
Talk at Work (Dr. Olga Zayts)

(Tuesday: 10:30 – 12:20)

In most, if not all, workplaces much of what gets done, for example, assigning certain tasks to employees, checking their progress, making decisions, is achieved through talk. Besides getting work-related things done, people also negotiate and maintain their workplace relationships through talk. Much of discourse-oriented research has been dedicated to professional and workplace communication and the role of language in achieving the so-called transactional (work task-related) and relational goals at work. The first part of this colloquium is designed to introduce the students to some theoretical foundations on workplace and professional communication through the work of some leading scholars in the field, and to enable them to gain a hands-on experience in a range of workplaces in Hong Kong. These readings and the practical experience will be consolidated in the form of google sites on identified topics of professional and workplace communication that the students will develop in small groups in the second part of the course.

 

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Sub-group D:
Literature and experiment (Dr. Otto Heim)

(Tuesday: 13:30 – 15:20)

Literary creativity always involves an adaptation of existing conventions to new purposes and some of today's most mainstream literary techniques originated as daring innovations. In this senior colloquium we will discuss and explore the role of experimentation in literature in different periods from as many angles as we can come up with. The course will be organized in two parts. In the first part (about eight weeks), students will be asked to choose and present their own examples of literary texts related to the theme for discussion in the colloquium, drawing on courses they have taken before and with guidance from the teacher. In the second part (about four weeks), the class will create a website (on google sites) showcasing, documenting and discussing selected examples as a collective project in which each student will be responsible for a particular section or task.

 

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Sub-group E:
Literature of the City (Dr. Jessica Valdez)

(Wednesday, 12:30 – 14:20)

Many contemporary forms of literature are deeply intertwined with the modern city. This senior capstone will examine depictions of “the city” in literature and the effects of changing urban experience on literary form and its representations of the self. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw rapid changes caused by industrialization and population growth, resulting in new understandings of the individual’s place in a larger community often characterized by dislocation and isolation. Although the colloquium will focus on British literature and its depictions of London, we will also consider other literary cities, such as Paris, New York, and Hong Kong.

 

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Sub-group F:
Diversity in language: theory, issues, practices and politics (Dr. Jon Orman)

(Thursday, 10:30 – 12:20)

Diversity has arguably become the key concept in modern sociolinguistics and the sociology of language. But how exactly are we to understand the notion of ‘linguistic diversity’? Is it something that can be measured and/or modelled? And if so, how? How do different theoretical approaches to language and communication impact upon or determine one’s view of what constitutes diversity and difference (and, as a necessary corollary, unity and sameness) in language? What political and social issues may arise from or be connected to such understandings?

This broadly conceived colloquium offers students the chance to reflect in-depth upon a wide range of issues in linguistic theory, sociolinguistics and the sociology/politics of language in relation to the topic of linguistic diversity. Possible areas of investigation include:

  • Theoretical and philosophical understandings of linguistic diversity
  • Language loss and endangerment (case studies and theory)
  • Globalisation, mobility and the emergence of new forms of (super)diversity
  • The management and regulation of diversity through language policy and planning

Weekly sessions will involve a mixture of theoretical reflection, student-led discussions of key literature and case studies and presentations of students own work.

 

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Last updated: 22 July 2015