“Asia’s Global University”: Academic Event Posters as Branding Devices for a Hong Kong University

Corey Fanglei HUANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearch


Critical (multimodal) discourse studies of marketing or corporate documents of universities have shown the rapid neoliberalization of higher education and academia around the world. However, little attention has been paid to promotional materials for academic events. This chapter examines posters advertising invited lectures, colloquiums and conferences displayed on the campus of a “top” university in Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong (HKU). The study draws on multimodal discourse studies and social theories of branding to analyze how different discursive components and semiotic placements of the posters create particular social meanings and values for the academic events and/or institutions. It identifies several dominant “tropes of branding” emerging from the displayed posters such as global connection and leadership, hierarchical internationalization with local advantage and interdisciplinarity. It shows how these tropes manifest or resonate with HKU’s more general self-branding enterprise of building itself into “Asia’s Global University”. The chapter concludes by discussing how its findings can deepen our understanding of institutionality in the areas of higher education and academia under the conditions of neoliberalism and globalization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInstitutionality : Studies of Discursive and Material (Re-)ordering
EditorsYannik PORSCHÉ, Ronny SCHOLZ, Jaspal Naveel SINGH
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783030969691
ISBN (Print)9783030969684
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Neoliberalism
  • Branding
  • University
  • Academic event posters


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