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ENGL6073 - Introduction to Literature and Cross-Cultural Theory
2021-2022 First Semester
Form of Assessment
100% coursework
Wednesday , 6:30 pm - 8:50 pm , CPD-LG.10

** The first day of the course will be held on 1st September, Wednesday, 6:30 pm, in Room CPD-LG.10 **



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 film, a novel and an external project, the course will raise a number of important cross-cultural issues, which include definitions of culture; the crossing of cultures in history; theories of gender, 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 MA electives that follow this Introduction.



  • To understand and utilise critical vocabulary in discussing cross-cultural perspectives and approaches in literature
  • To examine elements of diaspora literature, including ideas of home, migration, nostalgia and assimilation
  • 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                                                 15%

Short Writing Assignment                                      20%                       

External Project Reflection                                     20%

Final Essay                                                                35%



Most of the readings will be available on Moodle, but you should try to purchase the following books and get a head start on the reading. I would highly recommend physical texts over e-books.

  1. Julie Otsuka, The Buddha in the Attic
  2. Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis

Some of the other works we may cover include Arthur Conan Doyle, Joseph Conrad, Salman Rushdie, Maxine Hong Kingston and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,  .

Theoretical texts may include Stuart Hall, Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Wendy Griswold, Judith Butler, Raymond Williams, Arjun Appadurai, Elaine Kim and others.

Further readings available in the HKU Library:

Annesley, James, Fictions of Globalization (London: Bloombury, 2006).

Appiah, Anthony, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (New York: Norton, 2006).

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

Ashcroft, Bill and Gareth Griffiths, Helen Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures (London: Routledge, 1989)

Baucom, Ian, Out of Place: Englishness, Empire and the Locations of Identity (Princeton: Princeton University        Press, 1999).

Booth, Howard J., The Cambridge Companion to Rudyard Kipling (Cambridge: CUP, 2011).

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

Connell, Liam and Nicky Marsh, Literature & Globalization: A Reader (London: Routledge, 2011).

D.C.R.A. Goonetilleke, Salman Rushdie (New York: Palgrave, 2010).

Featherstone, Mike (ed.), Cultural Theory and Cultural Change (London: Sage, 1992).

Geertz, Clifford, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973).

Gupta, Suman, Globalisation and Literature (Cambridge, Polity, 2008).

Kabbani, Rana, Europe’s Myth of Orient (London: Pandora, 1986).

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

Lane, Richard J. (ed.), Global Literary Theory: An Anthology (London: Routledge, 2013).

Li, Leiwei David, Globalisation and the Humanities (Hong Kong: HKU Press, 2003).

Melman, Billie, Women’s Orients, English Women and the Middle East, 1718-1918: Sexuality, Religion, and  Work (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992).

Moses, Michael Valdez, The Novel and the Globalization of Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)

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

Vertovec, Steven and Robin Cohen (eds.), Conceiving Cosmopolitanism: Theory, Context, and Practice (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).

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

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

2021-2022 First Semester
Form of Assessment
100% coursework
Wednesday , 6:30 pm - 8:50 pm , CPD-LG.10