Hong Kong: Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations

The Francis and Rose Yuen Hong Kong: Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations Program
A woman sits among other passengers on a streetcar at night.

Program Term:


Language Requirement:



 Naira Ovsepyan

Application Deadline:


Note: The program will take place in London, U.K., in Autumn 2022.

The College’s Autumn Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations in Hong Kong program aims to provide students with a global perspective on gender and sexuality.

    The courses aim to expand students’ exposure to an array of texts—theoretical, historical, works of art, literary, visual—that address the fundamental place of gender and sexuality in the social, political, and cultural creations of different civilizations. All three courses will provide credit in the Core curriculum (if needed), beginning with two quarters of Gender and Sexuality in World Civilization and concluding with a related Arts core class. The civilization sequence focuses on bodies, sex, and gender by introducing concepts in feminist, gender, and queer theory and will use feminist and queer critique to frame analyses of power, desire, and sexuality. The Arts core class will change each cycle.

    In addition to classroom instruction, the program features a number of excursions to sites of historic and cultural interest both within and in the vicinity of Hong Kong. Long considered one of the most important crossroads of the Asia Pacific region, this modern mega-metropolis is a flourishing cultural, economic, and geopolitical nexus for people and populations from across the world. As a city known for its “East meets West” cosmopolitanism, Hong Kong offers numerous opportunities to engage with otherwise abstract ideas about colonialism and its effects, making them alive in the present. It is assumed that students will use their free time to explore this diverse city apart from program-organized outings.

    The following courses will be taught in Autumn 2022:

    • GNSE 15002. Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations I. 100 Units. (Eman Abdelhadi)

      The first quarter of the GNSE Civ sequence offers a historical examination of bodies, sex, and gender. Through a series of readings that include historical primary sources and examples of cultural production from antiquity to the present, we will investigate how bodies across a variety of cultures become sexed and gendered. In particular, we will ask how the very categories of sex and gender not only produce social meaning from bodies and their anatomical differences but may also be complicit in acts of violence, oppression, and colonization. Thematically we will pay attention to the emergence and critique of the distinction between sex and gender; resistances to the gender binary; the relationship between gender, power, and authority; feminism and critiques of Western feminism; the category of woman as an object of scientific knowledge; and the flourishing of and violence against trans life. Finally, while we will be dealing with historical accounts in this course, the aim is to understand how the regulation of bodies in the past has informed and may challenge our understanding of the diversity of embodied experience in the present.

    • GNSE 15003. Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations II. 100 Units. (Kristen Schilt)

      The second half of the civ sequence will extend our earlier interrogation of bodies, sex, and gender into an examination of sexualities and society. We will investigate a series of important critiques of biopower, or statist strategies for regulating bodies and controlling populations. These interventions include critiques of nationalism, colonialism, capitalism, and heteronormativity, all of which, as we will see, contribute to our understanding of sexuality. Reflecting our location in the U.K., we will look at the history of regulations around homosexuality in England, the fraught history of abortion access in Ireland, and the push against transgender rights and gender studies spreading across Europe and the United States. Throughout the course, feminist and queer critique will fundamentally frame our analyses of power, desire, and sexuality.

    • CRWR 12153. Reading as a Writer: The Walker in the City. 100 Units. (Anna Torres)

      Flâneur: from French, “to stroll, loaf, saunter”; probably from Old Norse flana, “to wander aimlessly”; Norwegian flana, “to gad about.”

      “If dance is the city’s mother tongue, as Fred Moten says, then what secret lives inside the city, in us, before the city, as us, before the clearing, inside air?” – fahima ife, maroon choreography

      The image of the poet as flâneur—a metropolitan artist in motion—emerged as an archetype of romantic and modernist literature. We will consider the walking poet in interaction with race, mobility and disability, gender and queerness, class, migration, ecology, movement and dance, and other embodied experiences. Texts will include work by Kathy Ferguson, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Walter Benjamin, William Blake, Judith Butler, Sunaura Taylor, June Jordan, Walt Whitman, and others. Students will lead one presentation during the quarter and keep a notebook/sketchbook. On Fridays, we will have field trips to literary sites around London. This course will fulfill the College’s General Education requirement in the Arts (Arts Core).

    The language course (Cantonese or Mandarin) will normally count as an elective and earn 100 units of credit. Course titles, units of credits, and grades are placed on the College transcript.

    The College’s study abroad programs in Hong Kong are based at The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong. Located on Mount Davis, the campus in Hong Kong features classrooms, offices for faculty, student gathering spaces, and conference areas. For participants in Chicago’s programs, the campus in Hong Kong provides a focus for academic activities, a central meeting place, and a continuing Chicago “presence” within one of the most dynamic cities in Asia and the world.

    Students in the Hong Kong: Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations program will be housed in the Robert Black College guest house on the campus of the University of Hong Kong. Living on the campus of the University of Hong Kong enables students to take advantage of the campus’s resources and live alongside local students and faculty. The location is convenient to Hong Kong’s Central District, and students will be proximate to the HKU MTR station and other public transportation options. Students will normally be housed in double rooms with a bathroom, and they will also have access to the Robert Black College lounge, library, and other on-site facilities. Breakfast is provided daily in the Robert Black College dining room.

    Participants in the Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations in Hong Kong program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They take and receive credit for four courses: two civilization courses, one additional course that will fulfill the arts core requirement, and the Chinese language class. The two-course civilization sequence aims to expand students’ exposure to an array of texts—theoretical, historical, religious, literary, visual—that address the fundamental place of gender and sexuality in the social, political, and cultural creations of different civilizations. The two civilization courses may be used toward the College’s civilization requirement, and the arts core course may be used toward the College’s arts core requirement. If not counted toward the core requirements, all three courses can be used toward the major or minor programs in Gender and Sexuality Studies, or as electives. Their use, partial or total, in any other program of study (major) must be approved by the undergraduate chair of the respective department. The language course will normally count as an elective. Course titles, units of credit, and grades are placed on the College transcript.

    Study abroad students pay regular College tuition, a program fee, and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and program fee are paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Precise figures for the Hong Kong program during the 2022–2023 year are listed below:

    Autumn tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

    Study abroad administrative fee: $675

    Hong Kong program fee: $5,200

    Program fee includes:

    Out-of-pocket expenses include:

    • Round-trip airfare to and from the program site
    • Transportation on site
    • Meals
    • Course materials
    • Personal entertainment and travel
    • Communications (including cell phone usage)
    • Health insurance and upfront payments for care
    • Other miscellaneous expenses

    We estimate that program participants can spend in the range of $200 to $250 per week on meals and incidentals while on the program, though frugal students may spend less, and others could spend much more. Bear in mind that cost of living in Hong Kong can be relatively high and is substantially higher than the cost of living in Mainland China. While it is possible to live frugally, it is also possible to run short of money if you are unwary. It is therefore essential that you budget your funds prudently, apportioning your resources so that they may last for the duration of the program. If you are planning to travel before or after the program or on weekends, you should budget accordingly.

    Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.

    The Hong Kong: Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations study abroad program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

    The program is designed for undergraduates in good academic and disciplinary standing who are beyond their first year in the College. While the program stipulates no minimum grade-point average, an applicant’s transcript should demonstrate that they are a serious student who will make the most of this opportunity. Because the civilization sequence and arts core course are taught in English, there is no language prerequisite.

    Because of the considerable demand for the Chicago civilization programs abroad, no student may participate in more than one of these programs. Each application is examined on the basis of the student’s scholastic record and personal statement. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out the online application.

    Students who are accepted into the Hong Kong: Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations program will apply in advance for a student visa in order to legally enter Hong Kong for the purpose of study. The Hong Kong Immigration Department retains sole control of the visa application process, and according to its guidelines for entry under the student visa scheme, “This entry arrangement does not apply to: […] nationals of Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Nepal and Vietnam.”

    Students who are citizens of these countries and interested in studying in Hong Kong should contact the Program Coordinator prior to application.

    To discuss the Hong Kong: Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations program and the possibility of participating, please contact Naira Ovsepyan.