CCHU9016 Arts and Humanities
The British Empire in Text and Image

Course Description

In this course—in which we will use elements of online, face-to-face, and self study learning methods—examines textual and visual representations of contacts between Britain and her various colonies, focusing on (but not restricted to) Hong Kong, from the mid-19th Century to the late 20th. Students are thus invited to learn about, and reflect critically upon, a particular period in history – which is also their own – by approaching it through historical texts and the creative arts, as well as postcolonial representations of British imperialism, portrayed in texts, images, and on screen.

The course is thematically structured, examining the “reality” versus “representations” of the British Empire. Within the Common Core, it invites students to tackle a set of unfamiliar questions, texts and thoughts, and approach these in an intellectually rigorous manner. Within the Arts and Humanities Area of Inquiry, the course will show students that the human experience and representation of reality might be very different from “the truth”, and that knowledge and experience are always contextual. Each week, we will look at a film set in a particular colonial place and time (representation) and compare it with the reality (or lack thereof) found in art and written works.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the key features of the historical project, trajectory and history of the British Empire.
  2. Describe and critically examine a variety of representations of Empire in text and image with appropriate critical frameworks.
  3. Explain, explore and appreciate the form and function of historical texts, the novel, poetry, travel writing, painting, sketch and cartoon.
  4. Practice close reading strategies, analysis, discussion and argument.
  5. Use critical approaches to various genres of text and image, including genre and gender discourse, colonial discourse analysis and postcolonial theory.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Online course material 10
Reading / Self-study 50
Lectures / Seminars 20
Tutorials 10
Assessment: Project 30
Assessment: In-class writing exercise 3
Total: 123

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
In-class quizzes 20
Project 40
In-class writing exercise 40

Required Reading / Listening / Viewing

All texts and films will be freely available either through Moodle or online. Prior to the class lecture/seminar each week, you will need to prepare by working through the one-hour audio-recording. Other self-study materials, including films and readings, will be available in Moodle. The in-class writing assignment each week will be based on the audio materials.

Please note that the reading is appropriate for a 6-credit Common Core course in the Arts & Humanities, containing several short stories, poems, critical essays (or extracts), travel writing, and various works of art, totalling about 200 pages.

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr G.E. Gould
School of English, Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 2290
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr G.E. Gould
School of English, Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 2290