The anthropology program at HKUST is exclusively concerned with the study of Hong Kong and southern China. Areas of particular research interest are historical anthropology, the ethnohistory of southwestern China, and cultural heritage preservation in Hong Kong.
The history program in the Division of Humanities at HKUST has several areas of unusual strength. In terms of historical periods and world regions, we focus almost entirely on the history of Qing China and on Chinese, European, and transnational East Asian history of the twentieth century. We have particular strengths in social history and intellectual history. In terms of historical methods we are well-known for our achievements in social scientific history, big data history, ethnographic history, and the intersection of Chinese cultural studies and historical studies focusing especially on the twentieth century.
Within the Division of Humanities at HKUST, strengths in linguistics and applied linguistics lie in three broad areas. A well-established area of expertise is the study of synchronic variation and diachronic evolution in the Chinese language, contributing to the understanding of the use of, and change in, language. Researchers in this area, under the aegis of the Center for Chinese Linguistics (CCL), conduct qualitative and quantitative studies on the comparison of contemporary Chinese dialects as well as on various types of Chinese language historical documents, with a particular emphasis on vernacular records of regional varieties. The CCL houses a number of databases of early Chinese dialects. The second area of specialism is the study of Chinese tones (pitch variation signaling word identity) and how they are learned, through phonetic and psycholinguistic research. This program of research activity aims to uncover the mechanisms in native and non-native listeners’ use of prosodic information, and thereby to explain speech processing in Chinese as a second language. The third research area lies at the intersection of language education and the sociolinguistics of mobility. Attention here is upon the critical analysis of communicative practices relating to migrant language pedagogy, language diversity, language policy, and literacy, identity and culture.
The literature program in the Division of Humanities at HKUST has a concentration of expertise in the study of Chinese literature and film from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. We have particular strengths in Chinese and transnational/Asian literature of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and in modern and contemporary Chinese literature. Our faculty have also pioneered the study of other media, from photography to animated film. A unique feature of literary study at HKUST is our creative writing program, providing students with hands-on writing experience and close interaction with the leading Chinese writers of the day.
The philosophy program in the Division of Humanities at HKUST has a distinctive profile. It focuses on Chinese and Comparative Philosophy in cooperation with the China Studies oriented mission of the Division of Humanities. Our program promotes knowledge and appreciation of ancient and contemporary Chinese thought and the philosophical dialogue between East and West. We value and promote a variety of approaches to doing philosophy and have broad strengths in Chinese and Japanese Confucianism, classical Daoism, Chinese and Indian Buddhism, comparative philosophy, as well as analytical and continental philosophy.
Our philosophy program is a unique place to pursue Chinese and comparative philosophy. Our graduate students (M.Phil. and Ph.D.) include local as well as international students from countries such as Germany, India, Netherlands, Philippines, and South Korea. They find themselves in a stimulating intellectual environment that promotes philosophical inquiry, discussion, and close interaction with faculty members and peers. Many of our Ph.D. graduates have contracted postdoctoral fellowships and long-term appointments across East Asia.