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Elective Modules

Elective Modules offered by School of General Education and Languages

Module Information

GEE5401 Between Empires: A Short History between Hong Kong, China & Britain


Why study Between Empires?


“History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul”.


We cannot understand the present without studying the past. Have you ever thought about how Hong Kong came to exist? How are contemporary issues affecting Hong Kong informed by the past? What can people learn from history for a better Hong Kong?


Between Empires introduces students to history as a mode of analysis. Tracing the history of Hong Kong from the late Qing Period to the heyday of the British Empire, you will explore the historical narrative of the ‘Pearl of the Orient and how the history of the city has contributed to the identity and material culture of its residents. The ultimate aim of Between Empires is to stimulate your curiosity of history, better enabling you to maintain good human relationships. Free intellectual inquiry helps us to reconstruct our history, which is key to nurturing whole person development. 


Between Empires: A Short History between Hong Kong, China & Britain


The module is composed of four units, each exploring themes and contexts of different periods in history. Students will explore each period thematically, encouraging them to understand history through the lens of practical and empathetic perspectives. The organization of this module is designed to promote deep learning, rather than the traditional approach of memorization of dates.


Between Empires also encourages students to take a life-long interest in history through exposure to material culture – physical evidence and artifacts handed down through family, active encouragement to visit cultural and historic places of Hong Kong, and through the viewing of quality television documentaries. These activities aim to build and develop an academic framework around personal interests.



GEE5403 Hong Kong Society: Continuity & Change


How much do you know about Hong Kong society? What makes Hong Kong Asia’s World City? This module aims to provide students with a better understanding of the different social, economic and political processes in Hong Kong in the colonial and post-colonial periods. It develops students’ awareness of the continuity and change in Hong Kong society and strengths their ability to examine social, political and economic issues. Mostly importantly, this module enhances students’ critical thinking in examining Hong Kong issues in relation to Hong Kong’s role in regional and global contexts.


The module is organised around a set of essential questions for Hong Kong studies that require students to engage in historical analysis and social scientific thinking and inquiry as well as situating Hong Kong issues in the broader regional and international contexts. Various teaching and learning approaches and strategies (lecture, news debate, group discussion, policy making simulation and field trip) will be adopted to facilitate student learning.  On completion of this module, students should be able to:


  1. identify major social, economic and political changes in Hong Kong since the 1950s;
  2. compare and contrast factors that shaped Hong Kong’s social structures, institutions and class dynamics in the colonial and post-colonial periods;
  3. critically analyse Hong Kong’s changing strategic positions in relation to China, Asia and the rest of the world; and demonstrate the ability to think critically and creatively through group projects and individual essay assignments.


GEE5404 Literature & Modern China 現代中國與文學



Note: This module is taught in Chinese.


GEE5405 Modern Europe: History & Culture


Modern Europe: History & Culture is taught as a three hour combined lecture, reading and discussion seminar and introduces students to history as a form of story telling and culture as a form of analysis. Through the tool of historical narrative, we will take a ‘big picture’ survey of modern European history and culture from the French Revolution of 1789 to the end of Cold War in the late twentieth century.


GEE5406 Language, Culture & Society


This module aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of language, culture and society from multi-disciplinary perspectives, as well as in-depth understanding of key research areas of language learning and language use.


It also attempts to introduce core concepts and theories of language learning and language use in different schools of thoughts, and link the study of language to the local culture and the societies of students in order to help them understand better language learning and language use in the ever changing global context.


GEE5407 Translation in Everyday Life (English-Chinese)


This module is designed to develop students’ ability to translate various text types/genres from English into Chinese, and vice versa. It aims at enabling students to develop their translating sense and deploy, accordingly, their technical, commercial and artistic skills in translation of different topics commonly encountered in everyday life in Hong Kong. Teaching and learning materials will be drawn and tailored from a wide variety of authentic bilingual sources. 


GEE5408 Journey to the Exotic World of Microorganisms


Microorganisms have been heralded as a solution to many of the contemporary world’s most pressing issues.  These tiny living things feed, decompose waste materials, make oxygen, control pollution, fuel our world, or even keep humans healthy.  Most importantly, microbial biotechnology harnesses the power of these creatures to solve environmental, medical, and sustainable resources problems. This module unveils the diverse spectrum of this “Exotic World” in an attempt to demonstrate to the students an in-depth understanding of the complexities and interdependence of microorganisms-humans relationship.  Lectures (approximately 14 hours), tutorials and practical sessions (approximately 28 hours) will be used to facilitate free exchange of ideas, opinions, and beliefs in order to encourage and nourish students’ critical and analytical thinking through discussions, problem-based learning, demonstration, and group assignments.  By linking our knowledge of microorganisms to their applications to industrial and medical sectors, we will discuss the problems and challenges for solving many of the human’s and world’s major problems.


GEE5409 Plants & Human Civilisations


The module is organized around the exploration and understanding of the intimate relationship between plants and humans, with an aim to provide students with a critical analysis on the role of plants as the single most influential factor that dominate human survival, rise and fall of civilisations and continuity of human societies. Fundamental concepts of life sciences, including the plant and human biological systems, will be introduced at the beginning and throughout the topics of the module, which support students in analysing the impacts brought by the uses and abuses of plants. A selection of plants that played pivotal roles in mankind will be introduced and their impacts on human civilisations will be investigated with a combination of scientific, cultural and societal perspectives.


GEE5410 Creative Writing in Chinese 中文創意寫作




Note: This module is taught in Chinese.


GEE5411 China Through Western Eyes


This course is designed to give students an understanding of how Western views of China have changed through history and how many of the same views still resonate today. Through this course, students would be able to acquire a sound understanding of the development of popular Western views of China in order to think critically and analytically, particularly concerning concepts of representation of ethnicity and culture and the interrelationship between social attitudes and historical development. The course will also include adequate discussion of Hong Kong in its historical role as a crossroads between East and West. The aim of this course is to encourage students to look beyond stereotypes and distortions for understanding, and to develop reflexive understanding of their own culture.  



GEE5412 Introduction to Spanish Language & Culture


This module aims (i) to develop the language skills to enable students to communicate in Spanish at a survival level (A1.1, European Framework of Reference), dealing with short simple messages concerning themselves and their immediate surroundings and (ii) to provide an overview of the Hispanic Civilization on aspects related to history, arts, culture and society.

On completion of the module, students are expected to be able to demonstrate acquisition of basic language skills for communicating in Spanish at a survival level and the capacity to discuss and analyse common topics and issues associated with the Spanish speaking world. Specifically, students should be able to:


  1. familiarize themselves with the basics of Spanish pronunciation so that they can be understood when communicating simple messages to Spanish speakers or reading aloud short texts in Spanish;
  2. develop strategies for communicating at survival level in a class where Spanish is being used and for learning vocabulary and Spanish grammar;
  3. acquire basic Spanish vocabulary commonly used in everyday situations and employ basic grammar structures including agreement rules (singular/ plural, masculine/feminine); the possessive adjectives; the demonstrative pronouns; the definite and indefinite articles; common quantifiers, adverbs and prepositions; conjugate regular verbs, some common irregular verbs and reflexive verbs in present tense; use the verbs “Ser” and “Estar”;
  4. communicate simple messages in survival Spanish: greetings and introductions (formal and informal), spell and count; give and request basic personal information, talk about friends and family, talk about professions and nationalities, describe people and places;
  5. respond critically to questions covered in the readings and lectures concerning the Hispanic cultures and societies;
  6. provide some in-depth analysis of one topic related to the Spanish-speaking world chosen by the students. 


GEE5415 Cantonese in Hong Kong Popular Culture 從香港流行文化看粵語




Note: This module is taught in Chinese.



GEE5416 Beyond Hollywood: Introduction to World Cinema


This module aims to help students develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of film as cinematic art. It will nurture students’ sensibility and sensitivity to the medium and stimulate their awareness of the world. The module will examine World Cinema through a programme of great works from around the world, including modern films from India, Europe, Iran, and Brazil.



GEE5417 Western Classical Music Appreciation


What is western classical music? How do you start exploring the overwhelming world of western classical music and pick music which you enjoy?


This module not only aims to help students understand western culture, history and society through music, but also broaden their horizon and develop artistic and aesthetic sense. It will foster skills such as critical listening, learning basic music vocabularies, and understanding different performance practices, as well as equipping students with the ability to evaluate and understand certain classical masterpieces. Upon completion of this module, students should possess basic skills to appraise the development of western classical music through critical analysis. No musical knowledge is required.

Teaching & Learning Activities

GEE5401 Between Empires: A Short History between Hong Kong, China & Britain


A mixture of teaching and learning approaches and strategies will be adopted to facilitate student learning. Lectures are will provide a sense of chronology and context through direct instruction. Tutorials will provide students with the opportunity to engage with the lecture materials through discussion, primary source analysis, role-play, documentaries, field trips and group work. 


All activities encourage the development of critical and analytical thinking through interactive group discussions supported by reflective questions that are intended to stimulate debate among different schools of historical interpretation. Evidence based approaches to learning, through training students to think and write like a detective, encourage research skills and critical thinking abilities.