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ENGL6073 - Introduction to Literature and Cross-Cultural Theory
2020-2021 First Semester
Form of Assessment
100% coursework
Wednesday , 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm , TT404

** Date of Class Commencement: Wednesday, 2 September, 18.30-21:00**



The theme of cross-cultural contact is implicit in all of the courses in the MA in English Studies.  This foundation course prepares students by introducing them to the historical development of literature by studying different authors and genres within diverse cultural contexts. Traditional, western literature will be read alongside other ‘national’ and world literatures from post-colonial and global contexts to examine the sense of interconnectedness between various genres, movements and time periods. The primary texts will be supported by theoretical texts, which attempted to formalize cross-cultural relations through particular historical, ethnographic, literary and linguistic studies of cultural interaction.

Through poetry, short stories, a play, a film and a novel, the course will raise a number of important cross-cultural issues, which include definitions of culture; the crossing of cultures in history; theories of crossings, translation and hybridity; and issues of globalization, multiculturalism, transnationalism and cosmopolitanism in a modern world.

After this Introduction you will have an overview of what issues we understand as constitutive of cross-cultural studies in English, and you will have encountered a number of relevant literary texts and theoretical approaches to the field, which will then be revisited and discussed in more detail in the various M.A. electives that follow this Introduction.



  • To understand and utilise critical vocabulary in discussing cross-cultural perspectives and approaches in literature
  • To examine the poetics and politics of world literature
  • To offer contemporary approaches to cross-cultural studies through theoretical lenses of postcolonialism and globalisation
  • To write effective, argumentative essays comparing narratives of cross-cultural contact
  • To be able to communicate one’s ideas effectively in class and on online forums  



There will be 2.5 contact hours per week on Wednesdays from 6.30-9.00pm. Formal lectures and discussions from 6.30-7.45pm will be supplemented by smaller tutorial group discussions and presentations from 8-9pm.



Attendance/Participation/Presentation                      10%

Moodle Responses/Quizzes                                         15%

Short Writing Assignment                                             20%           

In-class Exam                                                                  20%

Final Essay                                                                       35%



Most of the readings will be available on Moodle, but the following texts should be purchased from the HKU Bookstore or from other sources (i.e. library, bookdepository.com, amazon.com or other online book retailers). Please note that the obtaining hard copies of the texts will be optimal for your learning and class discussion, so please try to purchase them in advance if you can.

  1. David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly. Please try to obtain the Plume or Dramatist Play Service editions, as they will be easier to find rather than the recent Broadway Revival Edition (2017) which has been revised since the original. 
  2. David Mitchell, Ghostwritten, Vintage 2001 or Sceptre 2000

Please note that there is a long lead time for delivery of the two required texts (4-6 weeks), so if you would like to order hard copies in advance, please use the attached form to order them from the HKU Bookstore. The texts will be used towards the end of the term, so you should order them by the beginning of September. Otherwise, please purchase them as e-books from online sources such as www.kobo.com and www.amazon.com.  All other readings will be available on Moodle. 

Some of the other works we may cover include Samuel Coleridge, Italo Calvino, Joseph Conrad, Jorge Luis Borges, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Louise Ho.

Theoretical texts may include Stuart Hall, Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Wendy Griswold, Franco Moretti, Arjun Appadurai, and others.


Further readings available in the HKU Library

Bill Ashcroft and Pal Ahluwalia, Edward Said (New York: Routledge, 2001).

Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 1994).

Casey Blanton, Travel Writing: The Self and the World (New York: Twayne, 1997)

Timothy Brennan, At Home in the World: Cosmopolitanism Now (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1997).

Mike Featherstone (ed.), Cultural Theory and Cultural Change (London: Sage, 1992).
Marjorie Garber, Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety (New York: Routledge, 1992).

Suman Gupta, Globalization and Literature (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2009)
Peter Hulme and Tim Youngs (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing (Cambridge:     CUP, 2002).

Stuart Hall and Bram Gieben, eds., Formations of Modernity (Cambridge and Oxford: Open University Press, 1992
Rana Kabbani, Europe's Myth of Orient (London: Pandora, 1986).

Valerie Kennedy, Edward Said: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge: Polity, 2000).

Douglas Kerr, 'Locating Louise Ho: The Place of English Poetry in Hong Kong', Critical Zone 3:   A Forum for Chinese and Western Knowledge, eds. Douglas Kerr, Q. S. Tong and Wang      Shouren (Hong Kong and Nanjing: Hong Kong University Press and Nanjing University      Press, 2008): 15-36.
Billie Melman, Women's Orients, English Women and the Middle East, 1718-1918: Sexuality,         Religion and Work (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992).
D.C.R.A. Goonetilleke, Salman Rushdie (New York: Palgrave, 2010).

Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media         (London and New York: Routledge, 1994).

Patrick Williams (ed.), Edward Said (London: Sage, 2001)

Robert J. C. Young, Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: OUP, 2003).

2020-2021 First Semester
Form of Assessment
100% coursework
Wednesday , 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm , TT404