The Liberal Art University in Hong Kong
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New cluster courses

(approved in 2019-20)


Humanities and the Arts Cluster

CLB9030 Vampires, Monsters, and the Gothic in Literature and Culture
This course introduces students to the concept and representations of the Gothic in early history, art, architecture, poetry, fiction, and film. As the longest surviving cultural tradition in the West, the Gothic has never lost its fascination. This is seen in the proliferation of vampire films, Gothic courses, Gothic sub-cultures, and the International Gothic in art. Via a variety of readings, discussions, classroom activities, media clips, film, written assignments and creative project presentations, students will study the elements of the gothic related to such themes as terror and horror, appearance and reality, setting and confinement, justice and injustice, and the politics of transgression. The focus in this course will be on the Western tradition from the 12th to the 21st centuries, but examples of Gothic youth cultures from Asia will be included as well.

CLB9031 Madness and Literature
Madness and theories about madness have nourished literature and art from antiquity, and it has been looked upon as divine, inspired, and insightful, but also as aberrant, inhuman and irrational. In this course, students will study central texts of several traditions that reflect various representations of madness and mental illness. Texts include pre-modern literature, modern and contemporary literature, fiction, drama and poetry, as well as some seminal texts of the psychoanalytical tradition. Materials are drawn from Western and non-Western, as well as Chinese writings.

CLB9032 Understanding Morality
This course invites the students to reflect on some of the most central questions in ethics: What is morally right and wrong? What is the morally good life? Is there a single moral theory or are morals specific to particular cultures, epochs or even individuals? Is the rightness or wrongness of an action determined exclusively by the foreseeable consequences that it has? Is pleasure the only moral good or does the notion of virtue have a role in determining morality? What is the role of emotions in the process of making a moral choice? The course discusses some of the answers to the previous questions that the contemporary major ethical theories offer.

Much attention will be paid to constructing a critical and rational approach to a wider understanding of human values. This will mean seeking both to understand other viewpoints sympathetically, but also subjecting them, and one’s own, to critical appraisal. As such, this course also tackles a range of specific moral problems including questions of cultural relativism, animal rights, euthanasia, and global poverty. The course will avoid technical terminology to the degree that avoiding it will not constitute a significant decrease in depth and understanding.


Science, Technology, Mathematics and Society Cluster

CLD9028 Who’s #1? Rankings, Ratings, Critics, and Society
Rankings and ratings affect many aspects of today’s world: whether our favorite sports teams advance in championships, who attends our school, whether our preferred restaurants remain open or must close. Yet, who constructs these rankings? How do they do it? What are the social consequences of these rankings? This course will lead students to answer these questions by teaching basic matrix mathematics in order to understand the language of rankings. Students will then construct their own rankings and study the social consequences of rankings generally. This course will be accessible to anyone with a basic understanding of arithmetic. The presentation of mathematics will focus on mechanical and computational aspects using software such as Microsoft Excel, not on proving mathematical theorems.

CLD9029 Consumers, Voters, and Information Technology
This course covers (1) the basic trends in the developments of information technology in recent years, (2) introduces the conceptual frameworks used in economics and political science (as well as other social sciences) to understand and analyze consumer/voter behavior in perceiving, interpreting and utilizing information in forming their preferences and making selection in the marketplace and political arena; and (3) helps students understand better such new phenomena as free goods, consumer lock-in, algorithms, and political polarization, etc.


Values, Cultures and Societies Cluster

CLE9033 Truth and Justice
How can we deal with the legacies of historical injustices and gross human rights violations? The course examines various measures of dealing with the past and their ability to meet diverging needs of divided societies. Namely, the course will examine the ability of various measures of justice to deal with instances of historical injustices committed by Japan in Asia, apartheid in South Africa, military dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, and Myanmar; the communist regimes in Eastern Europe, war in former Yugoslavia, genocide in Rwanda and Cambodia, and other instances. It will focus on the ability of truth commissions, lustrations, trials, amnesties, reparations, and apologies to deal with these historical legacies and at the same time assess their ability to meet various social needs for justice and reconciliation in cross-cultural and comparative perspective. It is an interdisciplinary course that welcomes students of sociology, psychology, political science, history, philosophy and other subjects.


CLE9034 Cultural Heritage and Sustainability
This course examines the relationship between cultural heritage and sustainable development. It considers heritage as a central thread of sustainability, not only as an issue of preservation but of creation, adaptation and resilience to change. It thus emphasizes the role that heritage can play in contributing through cultural substantiality to human well-being and social, economic and ecological development in the 21st century.
This course will first introduce key concepts and issues that are considered as indicators of the changing nature of cultural heritage in a sustainable society. It is followed by topics broadly divided into categories including memory and identity politics, World Heritage and tourism, intangible cultural heritage, heritage preservation and urban renewal, living heritage and community, and the issues relating to exhibiting, interpreting and digitizing heritage. Particular attention will be paid to the actors who preserve, use and develop cultural heritage at different levels, local, national and international. We shall discuss how their practices and policies have contributed to social sustainable and inclusive growth. The course will enhance students’ capability in understanding the theory and practice in heritage and sustainability and provides them with a chance to explore the heritage of Lingnan University.

Full list of cluster courses