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Featured Researchers

Professor John Erni

Fung Hon Chu Endowed Chair of Humanics, Chair Professor in Humanities,
Head, Department of Humanities and Creative Writing

Professor John Erni



Professor John Erni ( has distinguished himself throughout his academic career in Hong Kong, Asia, and the US for achievements in his own research, and by cultivating successful research postgraduate students (RPgs). As an educator, Professor Erni has shown outstanding dedication to recruiting, training and supporting highly promising RPgs since joining HKBU’s Department of Humanities and Creative Writing (HMW) in 2013. Under his headship from 2014, HMW has adopted a system devised by Professor Erni for recruiting the best students to apply to the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS) through the development of an international and professional outreach network for the purposes of recruitment and research promotion. This system is continuously updated to connect HKBU research faculty and students with peers around the globe, and it has helped facilitate the recruitment of numerous talented emerging HKPFS scholars with a notably high success rate.


Professor Erni has also exhibited exceptional mentorship beyond the point of enrolment, demonstrating enthusiasm for supporting students’ personal, professional and career development. During his supervisees’ postgraduate studies, Professor Erni acts as a role model on how to think, read, write, and speak on scholarly matters through a shared process of teaching, inspiring, but also listening. He prioritises the need for understanding each student’s unique personal and learning background, in order to offer them freedom to explore, ask, and experiment, before they shape, focus, and sharpen their research process. His most effective modes of research supervision include a simultaneous focus on intellectual resource sharing and practical experience in writing and presentation.


Adopting a holistic approach to research supervision, Professor Erni has systematically provided information on larger debates and opportunities occurring in the field, and he has organised international postgraduate conference activities that have resulted in important publication opportunities for his students. He has also cultivated a “daily writing habit” as a life-long research practice, recognising that writing rigorously and reflectively is the core of academic and intellectual life. As students develop a vision for their own research within the field, Professor Erni provides continuous career support for them both before and after graduation. This has resulted in numerous overseas attachments, publications, and professional placements in academic positions, where former students are increasingly making their mark in humanities-related fields.


Professor Erni also leads by research example, with a prolific output of over 80 book, journal, and book chapter publications in the areas of international and Asia-based media and cultural studies; human rights philosophy, ethics, and politics; gender and sexuality studies related to media and visual culture; and other socially relevant issues. He is currently engaged in a large-scale study of the transpacific presence and public culture impact of national-level human rights museums. The project, which is funded by the RGC Humanities & Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship Scheme, conceives of human rights museums as a significant form of "cultural governance" entailing public history memorialisation, art and artifact curation, and the production and education of a legal common sense among citizens and visitors. The study covers six major world-class human rights museums in Canada, Chile, the US, Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan. Simultaneously, Professor Erni is actively working on an international collaborative research and advocacy project on Justice, Arts, and Migration; a GRF-funded project on international youth volunteerism; and another GRF-funded project modelled after UNESCO on ethnic minority youth cultural participation indicator study. 



  • HKBU President’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Research Supervision (2018-19)
  • Appointed Fung Hon Chu Endowed Chair of Humanics (2017)
  • President (Elected) of The Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities (2017-2018)


Research Outputs