CCHU9055 Arts and Humanities
Metamorphoses: Tales of Transformation

Course Description

Mutant superheroes, zombies, vampires, and sentient robots—tales of transformation fascinate the popular imagination as we struggle to figure out what it means to be human in the twenty-first century. In this course, we will consider stories of transformation (or metamorphosis) that have themselves undergone transformations as they are told, and retold in written, oral, and visual media. Such stories often use an element of fantasy in order to question our assumptions about identity, power, the boundaries between humans and other life forms, and between humans and their creations.

We will trace such concerns and questions across a wide range of materials, from old tales to popular fiction, to science and journalism, visual media, performance, and film. Throughout the course, we will thus also explore the critical potential of art and storytelling in different media to ask ourselves how thinking about imaginary transformations can equip us to deal with the challenges posed by likely transformations in the contemporary world. In your final project, you will have a choice to reflect on what you have learned in the form of an essay or by creating your own story of transformation.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

    1. Analyze the idea of metamorphosis through a number of literary and media manifestations from different times and cultures.
    2. Produce critical analyses of written and multimedia texts and situate them in a larger historical and social framework.
    3. Demonstrate an understanding of the ideological and cultural nature of storytelling and textual/media adaptation.
    4. Demonstrate how the interconnectedness of people across time through their creative thoughts and artistic products.
    5. Relate stories of transformation to situations of cultural and social conflict and change.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

First semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials / Workshops 10
Reading / Self-study 60
Assessment: Workshop participation 10
Assessment: Writing assignments 30
Total: 134

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
In-class participation 25
Response essays 40
Final project 35

Required Reading and Viewing

All readings and course materials will be available on Moodle with short texts related to each week’s course topic.

The course may include one film screening. Additional film and media excerpts will be introduced in class and/or posted on Moodle.

Please refer to the course web page for updated and detailed information.

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr E.H.L. Ho
School of English, Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 2766
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr E.H.L. Ho
School of English, Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 2766