Research interests: Anthropology of globalization and transnationalism, ethnic entrepreneurship and business, trade and traders, Sikh diaspora and immigrants in China
Geographic focuses: China, Hong Kong and India.
Ka-Kin Cheuk is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISCA). He is also Postdoctoral Researcher at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), where he is part of an interdisciplinary research project entitled ‘Immigration to China and Social Transformations’ (2015-2018). In this international research project, which is supported by several EU and Chinese fundings, he collaborates with scholars and researchers from Oxford, Manchester, Lancaster, Cologne, Leiden, Fudan, and Peking Universities.
He recently completed his DPhil in Social and Cultural Anthropology at St Antony’s College and was a doctoral student affiliated with the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS). He was the chairperson of Oxford Migration Studies Society (OMSS) from 2012 to 2013, during which he convened the inaugural Oxford Migration Studies Society Conference in May 2013.
His doctoral thesis research, which was funded by the Swire/Cathay Pacific Scholarship and other research grants, was an ethnographic study in Keqiao, a municipal district of eastern Zhejiang Province, China. Contributing to the turnover of one-third of China-made fabrics, Keqiao is the world’s trade centre for fabrics, the semi-finished textiles that are industrially weaved, knitted, dyed, and printed before being exported. Drawn by the enormous trade opportunities, around 10,000 Indians have flocked to Keqiao as locally-based traders. Based on fieldwork between 2010 and 2012, this study examined how these Indians run their trade business in Keqiao. One of its key findings was the survival tactics among the small-scale Indian traders, especially the business tactics that are made to overcome the global economic uncertainties. As such, the thesis explored the everyday strategies in which the grassroots players counteract the disruptive forces in today’s global trade economy.
Prior to his DPhil study at Oxford, he received a Bachelor degree (First Class Honors) and an MPhil, both in anthropology, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). During his studies in CUHK, he did a long-term ethnographic research on Sikh diaspora in Hong Kong and their transnational connections to India. From 2005 to 2009, he was the founding editor of The Hong Kong Anthropologist, an open-access anthropology journal published by the Hong Kong Anthropological Society.
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Cheuk, Ka-Kin. 2016. ‘Everyday Diplomacy among the Indian Traders in a Chinese Fabric Market.’ Cambridge Anthropology. Forthcoming.
Cheuk, Ka-Kin. 2016. ‘Sikhs in China and Hong Kong’ In Knut A. Jacobsen, Gurinder S. Mann, Eleanor Nesbitt, and Kristina Myrvold, eds., Brill Encyclopedia of Sikhism. Leiden: Brill. Forthcoming.