SOAS University of London

China & Inner Asia Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures

Mr Michael Ka Chi Cheuk

  • Overview
  • Teaching
  • Research


Michael Ka Chi Cheuk
Mr Michael Ka Chi Cheuk
Email address:
Thesis title:
Aesthetics of Reflexivity in Gao Xingjian’s Pre-Nobel Plays
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


My current research on Gao Xingjian’s pre-Nobel plays is informed by my background in literary criticism and creative production. As an amateur songwriter and playwright myself, I resonate with Gao’s multi-faceted artistic vision: a novelist, a dramatist, a painter, and a philosopher. Prior to studying at SOAS, I taught English Language and Comparative Literature at the Community College, University of Hong Kong. I am grateful to have received a SOAS Research Studentship to enable me to pursue my research on a full-time basis.

PhD Research

My PhD thesis focuses on Gao Xingjian and censorship. Drawing insights from Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Pierre Bourdieu in particular, I understand censorship as a collaboration between the censoring subjects and the censored subjects. Censorship does not necessarily comply with traditional expectations, such as explicit and/or state-induced censoring practices. Instead, censoring forces are omnipresent in expression. I argue that Gao’s pre-Nobel plays successfully “escape” the ideological censoring forces of the New Era Chinese literary field (social realism) and the world literary field (orientalism) by way of reflection and reflexivity.


  • Cheuk, Michael Ka Chi. “The ‘Lazy’ Element: LMF and the Localization of Hip Hop Authenticity.”Cultural Conflict in Hong Kong: Angles on a Coherent Imaginary, eds. Jason S Polley, Vinton Poon, Lian-hee Wee. (Palgrave 2018).
  • Cheuk, Michael Ka Chi. “The Language of Trauma in Gao Xingjian’s Selected Short Stories.”Trauma, Memory, and Healing in Asian Literature and Culture, ed. Sharanya Jayawickrama. (In Press; Routledge 2018).
  • Cheuk, Michael Ka Chi. “From Lazy to Low: The Representation of pre- and post Umbrella Movement Politics in Hong Kong Hip Hop.” Hip Hop and Social Justice, eds Lakeyta M. Bonnette-Bailey and Adolphus G. Belk, Jr. (Accepted).


  • “Escaping Self-Orientalism in Gao Xingjian’s City of the Dead.” 2018 European Association for Chinese Studies Biennial Conference. University of Glasgow, Scotland. 29 Aug-1 Sep 2018 (Accepted).
  • “Insights about the Hong Kong Handover in Gao Xingjian’s The Other Shore.” Association for Asian Studies 2018 Annual Conference. Marriot Wardman Park, Washington, DC. 22-25 Mar 2018.
  •  “The Relevance of Gao Xingjian to the Contemporary Hong Kong Theatre Scene.” Hong Kong in Transition: Asian City-to-City Collaboration and Performing Arts Exchange, 1997-2017. SOAS University of London, 9-10 September 2017.
  •  “Warring Two Souls: A Comparative Study of WEB Du Bois’s Double Consciousness and Gao Xingjian’s meiyou zhuyi.” Texts-Vision-Method: Asian and African Area Studies in the Era of Globalization. Beijing Foreign Studies University, 14-16 Oct 2016.
  •  “‘I shall pretend I am travelling abroad:’ The Twee-Protest Songs of My Little Airport.” Paper co-presented at East Asian Popular Culture Conference with Jessica Siu-yin Yeung. The University of York, UK. 29 Jan 2016.
Invited talks
  • “Why Is It So Difficult For Post-Mao Chinese Literature to Become World Literature?” Critical Forum with Flair Donglai Shi at Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS) Critical Forum. SOAS, University of London. 30 Nov 2016.


  • Member, Association of Asian Studies


Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, SOAS Graduate Teaching Assistant (Lecturer) BA Chinese 103: History and Culture of China (Term 2)


  • Chinese Studies
  • African American Studies
  • Member, Association of Asian Studies