china: Humanities I in hong kong

HUMN 220, or "HUMN I", is the first installment of Geneseo's Humanities-core requirement and is a required course for all Geneseo students.  This course will take place in Hong Kong, where students will read and study the traditional Humanities texts while exploring the interaction of East and West.  The course will also travel to Lantau Island to visit Christian and Buddhist Monasterieis, and to Macau.


Fast Facts

Program Type: Faculty-ledTerm/Duration: Summer/4-weeksSummer 2014 Program Dates: June 2 - June 27, 2014
Credits: 4Application Fee: $20Application Deadline: December 15, 2013
Estimated Study Abroad Fee: $5940Estimated Tuition: $980 in-state; $2552 out-of-stateApplication: Online - Apply Now!

Course DetailsThe SettingOrientation
FacultyProgram CostsHousing and Meals
EligibilityApplication DeadlineHumanities Selection Procedures

Course Details

Some courses you take to get a job.  This course you take to get a life.  This is an interdisciplinary course in literature, history and philosophy (although you will see other disciplines and methodologies as well).  Our goal is to help you develop skills of critical thinking, writing and speaking while exploring some of the great intellectual achievements of the early centuries of the Western Tradition.  This course examines why the world is the way it is and allows you to contemplate what can be done about it.  Some of the ideas you encounter will be strange and new.  Others will seem strangely familiar.  As your teachers, we will challenge you to take the next big steps in your own intellectual development.  Our objective is clear.  We want this to be the best course you take in college.

In one sense, this is a course about great individual thinkers.  But those thinkers were often responding to crises in their own society.  HUMN I is also a course about the communities that produced them, their triumphs and their tragedies.  We will have fun exploring those communities: what defined them, and what about them fueled such intellectual creativity.  Perhaps we will succeed in creating an extraordinary intellectual community ourselves.

Why Hong Kong?  In HUMN I students read, analyze, contextualize and discuss core texts of the Western Tradition, starting with Greek thinkers such as Plato and Thucydides, and ending with Shakespeare.  What happens if...?  What happens if we look at those same texts from a very different perspective by placing them in a new environment?  We propose Hong Kong, a part of China and yet also a place greatly influenced by its encounter with the West, as a place ideally suited to host this encounter.  Using the resources of Hong Kong, we will be able to bring East and West together.  To help us in this endeavor, we will add selections from eastern authors such as Confucius to our readings, explore connections between Eastern and Western monasticism, look briefly at the history of China, and listen to what our colleagues at our host university can teach us.  Our goal is to provide as rich an experience as possible for a course that is one of the cornerstones of a Geneseo education.

The Setting

For centuries, Hong Kong has been a meeting place of East and West.  Reading some of the great books of the Western Traditions in this great Asian port city will challenge us to see those books from a new perspective.  Our interaction with faculty and students from Shue Yan University will inspire an intense critical reading of those texts and locate us in the middle of the historic dialogue that has come to define Hong Kong's role in the world.

The course will make use of the immediate environs of Hong Kong.  We will travel to Lantau Island to visit Christian and Buddhist Monasteries, and we will also visit Macau on the mainland to explore the interaction of East and West.


Meetings are held on campus to prepare students for the experience.  Written information and personal communication with the program instructor and director, as well as Geneseo Study Abroad staff, will also help orient students for the trip.


Course Instructor: Dr. Ron Herzman is a Distinguished Teaching Professor of English at SUNY Geneseo, and a world-renowned Dante scholar.  He has taught and led many study abroad programs during his long and distinguished Geneseo career, both for undergraduates and (most recently) for Geneseo Alumni.  In addition, every other summer Dr. Herzman leads a Dante seminar for high school teachers, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, in Siena, Italy.  Dr. Herzman is uniquely suited to teach this new and challenging Humanities course in Hong Kong.

Program Director: Wes Kennison, Faculty Fellow for International Programs and lecturer in Humanities and Latin at SUNY Geneseo, has taught and led multiple study abroad courses.  His most recent study abroad endeavors include Humanities II in El Sauce, Nicaragua, Humanities II: Tuscany to Vienna, and Service Learning programs in Borgne, Haiti, and El Sauce, Nicaragua.  Having established Geneseo's Humanities II course in El Sauce, Wes has particular expertise in exploring the great works of the Western tradition in new and challenging contexts. 

Program Costs

For complete cost details, download and read the HUMN I Hong Kong Program Cost Sheet.

Estimated Total Due to Geneseo and/or home SUNY Campus: $6,943.40


  • International airfare from major east coast metro area airport.
  • Accommodations.
  • Some group meals.
  • Teaching facilities.
  • Field trips, scheduled museum and entrance fees, guided tours, guest lectures, etc.
  • Travel between cities.

Does Not Include:

  • Passport.
  • Travel from your home to major east coast metro area airport.
  • Personal spending money.
  • Flight Deviation Fee (if applicable).

Housing and Meals

We will be housed in student accommodations at the Shue Yan University and will take advantage of dining facilities there.


Priority will be given to Geneseo students who are in good academic standing; non-Geneseo students are welcome to apply.  Applicants with a disciplinary record or pending disciplinary hearings must schedule a meeting with the Office of International Programs.

Application Deadline

Application Deadline: December 15, 2013

Humanities Selection Procedures