CCHU9013 Arts and Humanities
Cultural Heritages in the Contemporary World


Course Description

This course examines the background, debates, policies and politics of cultural heritage from a sociological perspective and interdisciplinary knowledge. UNESCO includes a wide definition of cultural heritage, from tangible and intangible, natural heritage, to heritage in the event of armed conflict. All categories of cultural heritage are now taken as essential to community building, proper governance, and economic development. The conservation, destruction, demolition, listing and delisting of heritage sites and historic documents have regularly attracted media and public attention, commercial interest, and as well as disputes among different communities. By introducing thematic issues through examples, which are drawn from different places around the world, students will be introduced to basic readings on cultural heritage, conservation policies, heritagisation, creative and tourism industries and the latest trends of heritage preservation.

This course is divided into four components with the first part focusing on the emerging interest of cultural heritage in the contemporary world. The second element of the course explores thematic issues of cultural heritage in relation to its political, economic and socio-cultural terms. The third component will address future issues facing the ongoing development of cultural heritage, including the revision of heritage conservation policies, the use of technologies (e.g., digitalisation and image capture), and the impact of climate change, etc. Last but not least, students will learn to appreciate the historical and cultural values of a wide range of examples of culture heritage.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Connect the basic concepts and theories pertaining to cultural heritage using appropriate academic language.
  2. Critically examine the preservation and conservation of cultural heritage in Hong Kong and other Asian societies using relevant theoretical knowledge.
  3. Demonstrate an awareness of the need for the sustainability of cultural heritage in contemporary society.
  4. Explain the significance of cultural heritage in everyday life and society from historical and contemporary perspectives.
  5. Evaluate the relationship between intangible cultural heritages, and the tourist industry in the local and global environment.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Seminars / Tutorials 10
Reading / Self-study 20
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 30
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 40
Assessment: In-class test (incl preparation) 8
Total: 132

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Tutorial presentation and participation 20
Group project 50
Individual reflective exercises 30

Required Reading

  • Barreau, J. –B., Lanoë, E., & Gaugne, R. (2020). 3D Sketching of the Fortified Entrance of the Citadel of Aleppo from a Few Sightseeing Photos. In K. Horst (Ed.), Digital Cultural Heritage (pp. 359-373). Cham: Nature Switzerland AG.
  • Brumann, C. (2009). Outside the glass case: The social life of urban heritage in Kyoto. American Ethnologist, 36(2), 276-299.
  • Davis, T. (2014). From Babylon to Baghdad: Cultural Heritage and Constitutional Law in the Republic of Iraq. International Journal of Cultural Property, 21(4), 445-463.
  • Deyasi, M. R. (2015). Indochina, ‘Greater France’ and the 1931 Colonial Exhibition in Paris: Angkor Wat in Blue, White and Red. History Workshop Journal, 80(80), 123-141.
  • Harrison, R. (2012). Heritage: Critical Approaches. London; New York: Routledge. 
  • Terrio, S. (2014). French Chocolate as Intangible Cultural Heritage. In R. L. Brulotte & M. A. di Giovine (Eds.), Edible Identities: Food as Cultural Heritage (pp. 175-184). Surrey; Burlington: Ashgate Publishing.

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr G.P.F. Wong
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 2065
Email: garypfhk@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr G.P.F. Wong
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 2065
Email: garypfhk@hku.hk