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Dr. Daniel Vukovich 胡德

  • PhD (Illinois)
  • Undergraduate Coordinator
  • RRST* 9.34
  • 3917 7934

Academic and Research Bio

I started at HKU in 2006, and teach a wide range of courses for the dept. in cultural or inter-disciplinary studies, with an emphasis on post-colonialism, the P.R.C., and historical and ‘theoretical’ reasoning. This includes Great Books and Great Ideas types of classes, as well as reading or watching texts from around the world. (Though China, the U.S. and even Hong Kong all figure prominently into my classes.) My classes also involve a good bit of student writing, because that activity is central to the mission of the Arts faculty and higher education in general. Writing is where you try to make sense of the class and texts at hand, and where you learn the most. We don’t stuff ducks, as the saying goes here, in the liberal arts and humanities. Teaching is very important to me, and I welcome inquiries from students. You can find more info about my courses here:

My research stems from the same inter-disciplinary orientation, and reflects the influence of China (Maoism and the rise of the PRC from imperial degradation), as well as Hong Kong now, on my otherwise firmly American or ‘Western’ backgrounds. In my writing I am especially interested in the political – social antagonisms, dyadic conflicts, and competing interests and claims to truth, and how this relates to cultural and intellectual history. Put another way, my work examines how certain discourses and ideologies circulate in societies and globally, and what such conflicts or battles over discourse and the interpretations of ideas and values tell us about the world. I publish in a range of places, especially the US and UK, but also in China and elsewhere.

My book China and Orientalism: Western Knowledge Production and the P.R.C. (Routledge 2012) makes a case for the transformation of orientalism since the 1970s, to one now centered on sameness as opposed to difference. It critiques ‘expert’ and popular knowledges about the PRC; it defends some of the political, ideological or cultural, and historical complexities of the revolution after 1949. Subjects range from film to famine statistics to Tiananmen, 1989 to the place of China in ‘theory.’ The book was widely reviewed, thankfully including in China, and joins the efforts of others to re-orient the study of the PRC towards taking the revolution and ‘positivity’ of the PRC more seriously, as well as to push post-colonial and global studies forward.

My more recent work examines post-1989 developments in the mainland (e.g. the rise of the New Left), the very different place called Hong Kong since 1997, Maoism and critical and post-colonial theory, and the global conjuncture. I’m particularly interested in the degradation of liberalism – and of politics more generally -- since the 1970s, including the fate of Chinese socialism after Mao. Like many others, I’m intrigued by the possible intellectual and political consequences of the rise of China. I’m uninterested in getting China “right” for liberal consumption and more interested in understanding the ‘state of the world’ as seen from a conflict or comparison between China, Hong Kong, or “Asia” and the “West.”

My second monograph, Illiberal China: The P.R.C. as Ideological Challenge, pursues these themes by looking at events such as the Wukan uprising of 2011, the Hong Kong protests of 2014 and beyond, and the limits of liberalism and anti-statist political theory. It is forthcoming (2018) from Palgrave McMillan, in the “China in Transformation” series.

I’ve also published about twenty journal articles and book chapters, on related and unrelated topics. Some of them can be found here:

Or alternatively a few here:

While graduate student spots are limited at HKU, I welcome inquiries from prospective applicants with solid, well prepared proposals in critical Asian/cultural studies or within critical theory and cultural critique.

*RRST: Run Run Shaw Tower