Area 1: Chinese Culture in the 21st Century


The ethos of the University is to foster the Confucian spirit in students and this has been done through teaching classical Confucian works in First Year Chinese.  The proposed GE curriculum builds on this foundation and provides courses that make ancient Chinese philosophy and culture relevant to the 21st century.


Area Intended Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the courses in this area, students should be able to:

  • relate ideas and concepts in ancient Chinese teachings to the contemporary world;
  • analyze and evaluate the economic, social and political use of Chinese culture in the 21st century;
  • synthesize ideas and concepts in Chinese culture with knowledge in different disciplines; and
  • construct his/her own way to apply ideas and concepts in Chinese culture in the everyday life


Course Description

GEA 101 Food and Nutrition in Chinese Culture (3 credits)      
Medium: English

This course introduces the efficacy and application of commonly used foods for health enhancement. It aims to develop students’ understanding of the concepts of food nutrition and their influence on health in traditional Chinese culture. Our ancestors, in the process of searching for food, gradually recognized the tastes, functions, and health cares of certain plants and animals. Food is not just a source of nutrients to sustain life, but also a natural medicine. The Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic Tai Su reads: “Hungry people eat it as food, patients take it as medicine.” This statement reflects the concept of “medicine and food homologous”. Upon completion of the course, students will have a good understanding of Chinese medicine philosophy and its application to food nutrition.

This course also discusses the difference of food nutrition between Chinese medicine and western medicine as a cross-cultural comparison. Students will experience Chinese food culture and nutritional value from Chinese perspective through menu/dish design sessions and field trips to Chinese restaurants and Chinese herbal markets.


GEA 102 Philosophical Kitchen (哲學廚房) (3 Credits)         
Medium: Cantonese

飲食文化是中國文化的一個重要組成部份,它反映了古代的哲學思想及民族智慧。本課程結合哲學思想和飲食、烹調文化兩方面:一、從古代的哲學思想入手,介紹氣、陰陽五行、中和、圓融等基本觀念,並論述五行、中和、淡樸和 “不時不食” 等觀念與飲食、烹調的關係;二、以《說文解字》食部字分析古人的飲食風俗;三、以《本草綱目》配以實物介紹穀、菜、果的性質特徵。內容覆蓋佐料、烹調方法、八大菜系、麵食文化等話題,使學生掌握中國哲學思想的基本觀念及中國飲食文化的知識。課程強調烹調實踐,講師在課堂上(十一周)示範烹調技藝,目的是培養學生生活技能及對烹調的興趣。課程還培養學生:關注自然;中和、樸實的人生態度;具備運用中國哲學思想反省生活的能力及養成環保飲食意識。


GEA 103 The Origins and Transformation of East Asian Food Culture (EAFC) (東亞飲食文化演進史) (3 Credits)
Medium: Cantonese

To get to know a country, studying its food culture is a good starting point. Food culture reflects not only national lifestyles and preferences, but also traditional culture. Today, East Asian food culture (EAFC) plays an important role worldwide. For example, Chinese regional cuisines, Korean barbecue (gogigui) and kimchi and high-end Japanese cuisine are all very popular among international diners. Many East Asian restaurants and lovers of East Asian food can be found around the globe. The countries of East Asia are important food-culture exporters, with world-leading soft power. Their great range of food and diverse cultures play a part in their success. What are the components of these unique cultures?

This course will probe the following dimensions of global history and cultural studies: 1) the historical influence of Confucian culture on EAFC; 2) modern forms of EA cultural exchange, such as immigration, and their effects; and 3) the worldwide dissemination of EAFC as soft power in today’s globalised era, the factors leading to its success, and how EAFC has been reshaped into hybrid multicultural forms via localisation.


GEA 104 Knowing Hong Kong through Historical Sites (3 Credits)
Medium: Cantonese

This course will offer an introduction to cultural heritage in Hong Kong. Through field-trip activities, students will enrich their knowledge of cultural-heritage development in Hong Kong. Hong Kong combines Western and Eastern cultures, with the influence of both traditional Chinese culture and a former British colonial government. The course is designed to enable students to explore several historical routes and heritage sites in Hong Kong. A combination of teaching, learning and practical activities will help students to understand the history and culture of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. The theories learned in class will be applied on field trips, giving students direct contact with the environment under study and stimulating them to acquire and develop knowledge, skills and interests relating to Hong Kong’s economic, historical, cultural and social development.


GEA 105 The Making of Hong Kong Chinese Culture (港式華人文化) (3 Credits)
Medium: Cantonese

The rise of Hong Kong Chinese culture involves an intricate interplay in relation to Cantonese praxis, colonial modernity and cosmopolitan identification. By focusing upon family life, religious beliefs, arts and literature, this general education course examines how Hong Kong Chinese create a unique version of Chinese culture through varying cultural innovations and creative practices, particularly what the distinctive ingenuity and flexibility are in question. The general objective is not to trace the presence of a constant Chinese culture from the estranged past, but to demonstrate the innovative transformation of Chinese culture in the Hong Kong context.