Academic and Research Bio
I teach a wide range of inter-disciplinary courses, with an emphasis on post-colonialism, the P.R.C., and history and theory. This includes Great Books and Great Ideas types of classes, such as Comp Lit 1010, “Ways of Thinking,” that also feature classic European and American texts. My classes involve a good bit of student writing, because that activity is central to the mission of the Arts faculty. Writing is where you try to make sense of the class and texts at hand, and where you learn the most. Teaching is very important to me, and I welcome inquiries from students. You can find more info about my courses here: https://sites.google.com/site/honggangdaxue
My research is likewise inter-disciplinary, and reflects the influence of China, as well as Hong Kong and southern Asia, on my otherwise American intellectual foundation and working class background. In my writing I am especially interested in the political – social antagonisms, dyadic conflicts, and competing interests and claims to truth. I examine how these specific, political things relate to cultural and intellectual history as well as capitalism and postcolonialism. Or perhaps more simply, in my research I look at how certain discourses and ideologies circulate in societies, and what clashes over their interpretation and usage tells us about the world.
My first 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. It ranges from film to famine statistics and from Tiananmen, 1989 to the place of China in ‘theory.’ The book was widely reviewed, and joins the efforts of others to re-orient the study of the PRC by taking the revolution and positivity of the PRC seriously, and by bringing post-colonialism and Marxism as well as ‘theory’ into our understandings of the modern mainland and to historiography in general. https://www.routledge.com/China-and-Orientalism-Western-Knowledge-Production-and-the-PRC/Vukovich/p/book/9780415592208
My second book, Illiberal China: The P.R.C. as Ideological Challenge (Palgrave, 2018), examines mainland, Hong Kong, and global “intellectual political culture” since the 1990s. It examines the global degradation of liberalism on the one hand, and the rise or persistence of an “illiberal” or anti-liberal China on the other. In what sense can the latter be a good thing, or a legitimate, socially valid alternative to the anti-statism and anti-communism of so much of our received social and political theories? I examine recent events and intellectual developments in China, Hong Kong, and the world at large to try and understand the limits of liberalism and the nature of the political today. More info about the book here: https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9789811305405
I have also published, in the US, UK, Europe, and China, about twenty separate articles and book chapters on these and other topics. Some can be found here: https://hku-hk.academia.edu/DanielVukovich among other places online.
* While graduate student spots are limited and highly competitive at HKU, I welcome inquiries from prospective applicants with solid proposals in critical Asian/cultural studies or within critical theory.
Courses taught at the Department
Taught Postgraduate Courses (MALCS):
*RRST: Run Run Shaw Tower