China and the West are interacting more than ever before. But what do they make of each other in cultural terms? Researchers at HKU are among the best-placed in the world to investigate this question.
The China-West Studies SRT places the rapidly increasing interactions between China and the West under a cultural lens. As these two realms engage in ever more exchanges of trade and knowledge, they are also sharing and experiencing each other's cultures. And that in turn may be having an impact on their own culture.
In this SRT, the researchers are looking at what happens when these two major civilisations come into contact. That contact could be seen as the mutual influences the cultures have exerted on each or, more productively, as the interpretations each culture has made of the other, and the dialectical way these changing interpretations continue to modify each culture's sense of itself.
The SRT focuses on four areas:
- The China diaspora.
- Language and culture (encompassing linguistic and cultural and philosophical understanding).
- Visual, literary and music arts.
- Rule of law development.
The researchers come from the Faculties of Arts, Law, Social Sciences and Education and their work is resulting in a number of international conferences, books and other publications, and a wide range of research grants. They are also actively collaborating with scholars from other universities in Hong Kong and overseas.
They have been exploring a wide range of topics, such as Chinese masculinity, the relationship between Western popular music sounds and images and Chinese nationalism, East-West perspectives on happiness, China's early trade relationship with the US, its strategic relationship with Europe, and the Chinese diaspora after the rise of China.
In this current SRT round, the team plans to open up more opportunities for interdisciplinary and interinstitutional collaboration and continue exploring the possibilities of not only transferring knowledge, but also making discoveries and new interpretations in the fields encompassed by the theme.
We are not content with Hong Kong’s historical function as a point of access for traffic between China and the West. Instead, we see HKU as a zone of contact that is substantial in its own right, a place of intellectual creativity.
Professor S.Y.W Chu, Convenor