This course is designed as a capstone course offering students an opportunity to integrate and reflect upon what they have learned in the major while focusing on current topics and critical debates in English studies. Students are expected to be able to build on courses they have taken before and should consult individual colloquium co-ordinators before registering for the course. There will be no formal lectures but weekly meetings for the discussion of texts and issues, led by students. Assessment will be based on contributions to colloquium discussions and a final essay.
Wednesdays, 12:30 - 14:20, CPD-1.45
This course builds to the collaborative reading of three late-twentieth-century novels: Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water (1993), Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987), and Bharati Mukherjee’s The Holder of the World (1993). It begins by looking back to earlier authors whose writing echoes in these later works: Mary Rowlandson, Aphra Behn, John Locke, Daniel DeFoe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Jacobs, and Herman Melville. By identifying and assessing literary influences across centuries of global movement the course will consider revisions to philosophical concepts and generic conventions central to the cultural development of the United States. Student presentations will compare and contrast authors’ literary styles and political opinions in building a context for enjoying, analysing, and interpreting the work of King, Morrison, and Mukherjee.
Wednesdays, 12:30 - 14:20, CPD-3.06
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 (relationship-oriented) 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.
Wednesdays, 14:30 - 16:20, CPD-LG.54
This class features your work as a creative writer, an artist, and storyteller.
As the writer Maya Angelou puts it, the challenge or call of the creative writer “is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” This is not easy. It is labor of love and vision that takes time and patience. It also draws from your life-long studies, your courses and readings, and the company of fellow writers. To get a manuscript to go “straight to the heart” of the reader, paradoxically, requires an unusually high degree of awareness and self-reflection. As a creative writer, you are studying the precise and historic craft of self-invention and revision of a story or memoir, play or poem. You are building an original work of art. At the same time, you are designing a social, historical, and intellectual environment for questioning and refining your initial vision, as a 21st century writer.
You are also, therefore, always joining with other writers, other readers, like you, and unlike you. Each time you write, you take part in formal and historical conversations with earlier and contemporary writers. You are constructing an invitation to your audience. As Angelou says, I want to write so that the reader in Des Moines, Iowa, in Kowloon, China, in Cape Town, South Africa, can say, “You know, that's the truth. I wasn't there, and I wasn't a six-foot black girl, but that's the truth.”
To discover your own story’s truths, there are big questions and small questions, which merge: how do you know, and overhear, what you most want to write? how do you end a story that you have started? how do you start a story that keeps changing? how do you age a character in a short space? how many characters does your story demand? what makes good dialogue good? what is the main character’s point of view? what is your own point of view? how do you make a story that makes a reader yearn to turn the page or scroll to the next window?
With an eye on your materials, staging and perspective, our focus this term, especially, will be on fiction and creative nonfiction, the short story and memoir, evolving in the digital age of fluidity of genre, including poetry and drama.
No previous course or formal study of creative writing is required.