Cultural exchange means cultural fusion and also the discovering of the necessary “other(s)” for a particular culture. Cultural exchanges and the processes of contestation and negotiation that go with it often take place within the context of political, economic, social, and technological shifts. In this sense, culture exchange does not necessarily mean a simple relationship of giving and receiving from other cultures. Trans-cultural encounters often result in transforming all the parties involved, and even in cultural hybridity.
This course aims to provide basic knowledge and scholarly frameworks to examine cultural exchanges in Hong Kong, Chinese, East Asian, and global contexts. We examine movements of people, commodities, and ideas that have shaped diverse expressions of cultures in these contexts, such as the cultural journeys of objects that are most basic to our everyday lives. To do this, we will draw from history to pursue a longer and more grounded view of what globalization mean, and also to rethink our presumed cultural traditions. With the pronounced flow of cultural forces on a global scale, we also need to be highly aware of the contemporary connectivity of economic, cultural, political, and social activities in different parts of the world. We will try to develop an understanding of the dynamics of these global flows in shaping the emerging and fluctuating world order.
This course analyzes these themes interdisciplinarily, with approaches drawn from the history of cultural contact, sociology, cultural studies, and anthropology. Through examining the interface of global, domestic, and trans-border cultures, this course helps students gain a better understanding of how exchange and contact is always critical to the making and remaking of culture(s). It also broadens and deepens our view of cultural globalization. By taking this course, students will also become more discerning in their assessment of information and opinions pertaining to global cultures.