PhD students currently enrolled

Thomas Chan

Ching Hung Chen

Title of thesis
Interactional metadiscourse and citation use in rhetorical moves: A cross-paradigm comparative study of literature reviews in published research articles (Provisional)

Short abstract of thesis
Using a cross-paradigm approach, Thomas' current study aims to examine how interactional metadiscourse and citations are used in different sections (i.e., rhetorical moves) of literature reviews in published research articles following three epistemological paradigms. It is expected that the study can offer insights into how paradigms influence the two linguistic features in research writing.

Name of Supervisor
Dr Becky Kwan

Jason Edward Collins

Jason Edward Collins

Title of thesis
From “Fair Use” to “Should Use": 
Toward a New Transtextual Poetics of the Novel

Short abstract of thesis
Jason Edward Collins’s book-length research project, From “Fair Use” to “Should Use": Toward a New Transtextual Poetics of the Novel, considers the diachronic and synchronic nature of influence in English-language novels, particularly dealing with modernist, postmodernist, and contemporary works of fiction at the intersection of law, culture, and criticism. 

Collins’s project aims to problematize current notions of authorship, originality, and legality in relation to contemporary fictional production. His primary research questions are: What has constituted and what now constitutes the fair use of another writer's ideas, themes, structures, and/or language? What has been and is now considered acceptable use? And what, ultimately, should be used now and going forward to make the novel novel, again, thus ensuring its competitive status with contemporaneous forms of cultural media? 

Collins posits that contemporary writers of fiction (literary fiction, genre fiction, popular fiction, fan fiction, et al) should continue to indulge themselves in the intertextual practices recently adopted by writers of all stripes; more importantly, contemporary writers should embrace a new transtextual poetics of the novel (founded upon homage, collage, and remixing) for their works to (1) standout from those of their peers and (2) survive alongside and compete with other cultural practices and artefacts.

Name of Supervisor
Dr Eric Sandberg

Ffion Davies

Ffion Davies

Title of thesis
Reconceptualising the homme fatal in Early Twentieth-Century American Crime Fiction

Short abstract of thesis
This project will trace the appearance and development of the homme fatal – or, the archetype of the dangerous man – in early twentieth-century American crime fiction. By investigating the ways in which this archetype acts as a signifier of deviant masculinities, we can trace the resulting phenomena whereby the homme fatal undergoes a process of queering in its codification of changing conceptions around masculinity and maleness. The research will be based on, and contribute to, three main research fields: crime fiction studies (particularly of the noir and hard-boiled subgenres, though the theories will apply to a broader view of the genre), Queer studies, and the study of masculinities. This project will fill a significant research gap, for the figure of the homme fatal has not received adequate scholarly attention despite its vital bearing on, and powerful reflection of, changing conceptions of masculinity within early twentieth-century American culture.

Name of Supervisor
Dr Eric Sandberg

Alice Feng

Alice Feng

Title of thesis
CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) Applications in Hong Kong secondary schools: Reading and Writing Connections in Humanity and Arts Subjects 

Short abstract of thesis
Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), a dual-focus teaching approach, has been implemented for almost a decade in Hong Kong. In CLIL teaching, reading and writing are two inalienable language competencies that teachers should teach secondary students in order to develop critical thinking and help them to succeed at university levels. This project aims to examine the effectiveness of implementing reading and writing pedagogical tasks along with Humanity and Arts subject in Hong Kong secondary schools. The project will employ a mixed-method approach, requiring qualitative and quantitative data collection. The quantitative method will involve comparative statistics between pre-and post-tests, whereas the qualitative method will include semi-structured interviews from both student and teachers’ perceptions.

Name of Supervisor
Professor Diane Pecorari

Xian Jin

Xina Jin

Title of thesis
Development of undergraduates’ incidental vocabulary learning in academic reading context: An experimental study at an English medium university in Hong Kong (Tentative)

Short abstract of thesis
Students’ skills in second language (L2) use strongly depend on the number of vocabularies they know. In the context of incidental learning, it is assumed that L2 learners learn unfamiliar words through contextual exposures and clues, through which they fully engage in the process of decoding the meaning of novice words, and eventually merge those words into their own lexicon. In spite of its potential benefits in terms of vocabulary growth have been repeatedly highlighted in previous studies, students’ development of incidental vocabulary learning (IVL) in academic reading context has yet been focused. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data from a reading experiment and follow-up interviews at an English medium university in Hong Kong, my study aims to reveal undergraduate students’ 1) IVL through reading academic texts; 2) process of inferring unfamiliar words in the texts; 3) development of IVL skills through comparing different student groups. 

Name of Supervisor
Dr Jack Pun

Christine Kan

Christine Kan

Title of thesis
Exploring Canine Representation and Perception in Selected Twenty-first Century English Novels 

Short abstract of thesis
This research aims to explore and examine how canines are represented and portrayed in twenty-first century English novels, and what these depictions reveal to us about the human. Though a close discussion of six contemporary canine-centric novels, narrated from a mixture of perspectives, this research will hopefully help us gain a better understanding of our own thoughts and feelings towards our non-human counterparts, and in the process, re-evaluate how such portrayals of the canine stabilize or disrupt the human-canine relationship. 

Name of Supervisor
Dr Joanna Mansbridge

Fenglin Liu

Fenglin Liu

Title of thesis
Identity, Transformation, and Performance: Investigating Androgyny in Chinese Theatre Arts

Short abstract of thesis
The research explores the representation of gender identity of androgynous characters in the development of Chinese theater. Drawing on examples of transformative politics of androgyny in textual representation as well as stage direction, this research foregrounds different socio-political, aesthetic, and cultural reasons that propel such changes. A secondary aim of this research is to compare the different development and representations of androgyny in Chinese and western theatres, and to analyze the androgynous features of both theatres that helped to pave the way towards a more vocal and visible LGBTQ+ community in China.
 

Name of Supervisor
Dr Joanna Mansbridge

Gabriel Tetteh

Gabriel Tetteh

Title of thesis
A Cross-cultural Multimodal Genre Analysis of PhD Oral Thesis Defence

Short abstract of thesis
Although multimodality has been applied to the study of various spoken academic genres, the PhD oral thesis defence (TD) has virtually become an exception. Consequently, my study seeks to undertake a multimodal genre analysis of TDs conducted in selected universities in Africa, Asia and Europe. Video recorded TDs will be analysed via an analytical framework involving tools from the multi-perspective genre approach, multimodality, interactional sociolinguistics, and positioning theory, and results triangulated with findings from fieldnotes and interviews from participants of TDs subjected to thematic analysis. The study seeks to unravel not only how interactants in TDs utilise various semiotic resources to achieve intended communicative purposes, but how students and examiners position themselves towards the other during the interactions, and the cultural differences that underlie TDs in the selected contexts. Findings from the project, therefore, will have implications for theory, and practice in terms of advanced literacy studies. 

Name of Supervisor
Dr Christoph Hafner

Nicole Wan

Nicole Wan

Title of thesis
Hong Kong Literature’s Connection Across the Globe: The Possibilities and Limitations of Translation in the Unfinished Project of World Literature

Short abstract of thesis
This project argues that it is time to (re)embed the study of Hong Kong literature in the larger and continuous project of world literature, by carefully gesturing toward a critical examination of three Hong Kong writers and their literary texts in different temporalities, through the means of critical translation, which gives readers of world literature a unique purchase on what can be gained or possibly lost in the process of reading Hong Kong’s culture. Where translation is concerned in the part of conceptualizing world literature, the tasks of literary translators remain necessary in order for global readers to be able to read much beyond a certain specific range of material. This proposal thus suggests how literary translators can translate Hong Kong works into English, taking into account Hong Kong cultural particularities to increase its chances at a “continuous life” in the age of globalization.

Name of Supervisor
Dr. Klaudia Lee

Donald Yee

Donald Yee

Title of thesis
Promotion of Social Licence to Operate - A Critical Approach to Analyse Online Corporate Discourse 

Short abstract of thesis
Donald's research project aims to adopt a contemporary outlook to scrutinise corporate discourses to shed light on linguistic choices that corporations make, in order to persuade, dissuade and influence audiences to buy-in to the appropriateness of corporate actions. The discourse-analytical perspective within the research aims to help shareholders and the public at large to read the corporate text and talk in order to reveal the mechanics of corporate persuasion or dissuasion. This understanding could help validate the influences from corporate rhetoric, and so we may be in better position to challenge or reject it.

Name of Supervisor
Dr Xiaoyu Xu

Qianwen Yu

Qianwen Yu

Title of thesis
Understanding Chinese doctors’ professional identity in geriatric care: a sociocultural linguistic perspective

Short abstract of thesis
Informed by the sociocultural linguistic framework, Joyce’s study seeks to investigate the discursive process of doctors’ identity construction in providing geriatric care within the sociocultural context of mainland China. Drawing on audio-recorded medical consultations and semi-structured interviews with participating doctors, this study is expected to demonstrate how Chinese doctors’ professional identities are negotiated during medical consultations with older patients, and how they perceive their professional identities in practicing geriatric medicine.

Name of Supervisor
Dr Jack Pun

Ranran Zhang

Ranran Zhang

Title of thesis
Making a Queer World: Madness, Affect and Citizenship in post World War II American Theatre

Short abstract of thesis
In postwar American theatre, a series of influential playwrights centered characters’ fantasia of affective attachment on stage, formulating a theatre of ‘madness’. Drawing upon affect theory which construes individual’s affect as corporeal intensity that could act and be acted upon, this dissertation examines ‘mad’ character’s affect and subjectivity in relation to the national sentimentality in postwar America. Under national sentimentality, individual’s personal attachment is regulated and manipulated by the government to develop an antipolitical politics and affective citizenship. Through analyzing characters’ fantasia in five plays—A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962), Funnyhouse of a Negro (1964), And Baby Made Seven (1984), and Angels in America (1991)—this dissertation attempts to explore how individual’s affect and subjectivity is shaped by and at the same time reshaping the affective discourse in postwar America.

Name of Supervisor
Dr Joanna Mansbridge

Wenhao Zhang

Wenhao Zhang

Title of thesis
Hong Kong Science and Engineering Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions, Problems, and Strategies Regarding English for Academic Purposes Oral Presentations: A Mixed-Methods Case Study

Short abstract of thesis
Taking on a mixed-methods case study research design, I investigated nine Hong Kong engineering undergraduates’ perceptions, problems and strategies throughout their preparation and delivery of an English for academic purposes (EAP) course presentations, with a multimodal perspective. Major findings show that for the student participants, maintaining a balance between presenting academic and technical information and interacting with the audience is the primary challenge during the preparation and delivery of engineering presentations, while effectiveness of students’ individuality construction is found closely accounted by their prior experiences, kinesics management competences, and degree of appropriate understanding of their engineering practices. Based on the empirical findings, a bottom-up recognition, conceptualization, preparation, and presentation (RCPP) model is proposed in systematically categorizing particular skill sets, contextual and student presenter’s individual factors along with guiding questions for oral presentation course design and material development. 

Name of Supervisor
Dr Lindsay Miller