Before coming to HKU in February 2001, I taught at several universities in Switzerland, where I also received my PhD, at the University of Basel, with a dissertation on Māori fiction in English. My main research interest, in the field of postcolonial studies, has evolved from this and currently focuses on writing from the Pacific region, or Oceania, specifically poetry and theatre. My second research interest is in American studies, especially its transnational and cross-cultural dimensions, and the critique of imperialism. I am particularly interested in studying the role of literary practices in globalized cultural and political contexts and their relationship with popular traditions and cultural memory. A major focus of my current research is a book-length study of the theatrical work of Samoan playwright John Kneubuhl, supported by a GRF grant from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, and together with colleagues in the School of English I am collaborating on a research project on “practices of literary culture”. With a particular interest in the study of island cultures, I am also a member of the editorial boards of Shima and the Urban Island Studies journal and was co-convener of the second Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos conference held at HKU in March 2016."

At HKU I have served on multiple committees and boards in various capacities and was an Associate Dean and Chairman of the Board of Examiners in the Faculty of Arts from 2006 to 2010 and Head of the School of English from 2010 to 2013. I have been awarded a Faculty Teaching Excellence Award and am currently the Undergraduate Coordinator for English Studies.


Courses taught in 2017-18:

CCHU9055       Metamorphoses: Tales of Transformation
ENGL3040       Internship in English studies



Postgraduate supervision

I welcome MPhil and PhD proposals interested in exploring practices of literary culture that critically and imaginatively test conditions of democratic politics in globalized contexts, especially from postcolonial and indigenous perspectives. I am particularly interested in projects studying the cross-cultural and transnational formation and circulation of poetry and theatre and the influence of popular traditions on literary practices.


Current students

Jennifer Gresham (HKPF) Popular Genre Fiction and Film and Taste Cultures

Collier Nogues (HKPF) Contemporary Trans-Pacific and U.S. Poetry

Giulia Usai (HKPF) The contemporary Mediterranean: borders, literature, and gender


Graduated students

Carmen Tomfohrde (PhD, 2017) “Contextualizing Iconoclasm: Early Missionaries and the Textuality of Culture Change in Polynesia”

Xu Daozhi (PhD, 2016) “Indigenous Cultural Capital: Postcolonial Narratives in Post-Mabo Australian Children’s Literature”

Nicholas Peter Webber (PhD, 2015) “Uncertain terms: creating, mediating and activating the portmanteau from Carroll to Vladislavić”

Sarah Downes (PhD, 2014) “Reading Jean Rhys: Empire, Modernism and the Politics of the Visual”

Su Ping (PhD, 2014) “Word into Image: Cinematic Elements in Caryl Phillips’s Fiction”

Chiu Wai Fong (MPhil, 2012) “Tradition as Inheritance and Departure: Transformation, Survival and the Trickster in Love Medicine, China Men and Illywhacker

Jia Qian (MPhil, 2012) “Envisioning Alternative Interiors: Space and Ecology in Margaret Atwood’s Short Stories and Oryx and Crake

Huang Lihua (PhD, 2009) “Class and Imperialism in Henry James”

Lee Hoi Ling (MPhil, 2008) “Trespassing and Redefining Boundaries: Edith Wharton's mobilization of her characters against prejudice and reproduction”

Pak Chiu Shuen (MPhil, 2007) “Stephen King’s Popular Gothic: Gothic metafiction, ideology, scatology and (re)construction of community”

Chin, Grace Voon Sheong (PhD, 2004) “Expressions of Self/Censorship: Ambivalence and Difference in Chinese Women's Prose Writings from Malaysia and Singapore”




Recent conference presentations

“The Arrival of Oceania: Ecology and Politics in Contemporary Pacific Island Performances.” Pacific Chapter of the Pacific Arts Association 2017 Conference: The Performing Arts: Making the Invisible Visible, National University of Samoa, Apia, Samoa, Nov.27-Dec. 1, 2017.

“Samoan Ghost Stories: John Kneubuhl and Oral History.” Brown Bag Biography seminar, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Oct. 26, 2017.  Expanded version of: "Pacific Ghost Stories: John Kneubuhl and Oral History." 13th International Small Island Cultures conference: Ballads, Stories and Island Narratives, Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland, June 15-19, 2017.

“Island logic and the decolonization of the Pacific." Keynote. All that Glitters Is Not Gold: Critiques of Globalization in New Zealand and the Pacific, Regent's University, London, July 8 -9, 2016.

"'Between Memory and Hope': John Kneubuhl and the Idea of a Polynesian Home." Diasporas of the Pacific: Multilateral, Intergenerational and Transnational Contexts, Institute of Interdisciplinary Inquiry & University of Fiji, Lautoka, Fiji, April 22-25, 2016.


Journal articles, book chapters and books

“Recalling Oceanic Communities: The Transnational Theater of John Kneubuhl and Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl.” Oceanic Archives, Indigenous Epistemology, and Transpacific American Studies. Ed. Yuan Shu, Otto Heim, and Kendall Johnson. Hong Kong: Hong Kong UP, forthcoming 2018.

“Beyond the Rim? Redrawing Boundaries in Pacific Theatre.” Shifting Grounds: Cultural Tectonics along the Pacific Rim. Ed. Brigitte Glaser and Jutta Ernst. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, forthcoming 2018.

Island logic and the decolonization of the Pacific.Interventions 19.7 (2017): 914-929.

With Adam Grydehøj and Huan Zhang .“Guest editorial: Islands of China and the Sinophone World.” Island Studies Journal 12.2 (Nov. 2017): 3-6.

“Locating Guam: The Cartography of the Pacific and Craig Santos Perez’s Remapping of Unincorporated Territory.” New Directions in Travel Writing Studies. Ed. Julia Kuehn and Paul Smethurst. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 180-98.

“Literary Citizenship in the Writing of Oceania: The Example of John Kneubuhl and Albert Wendt.” Literatures in English: New Ethical, Cultural, and Transnational Perspectives. Ed. Michael Kenneally et al. Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 2013. 135-154. (PDF)

“Breathing Space: Ecology and Sovereignty in Pacific Island Poetry” Dreadlocks: Oceans, Islands and Skies 6/7 (2010-11): 147-173. (copy in HKU Scholars Hub)

“Breath as Metaphor of Sovereignty and Connectedness in Pacific Island Poetry.” New Literatures Review 47-48 Special issue on Postcolonial Island Literatures (2011): 165-180. (copy in HKU Scholars Hub)

"Fall and Response: Alan Duff's Shameful Autoethnography." Postcolonial Text 3.4 (2007).

"The Interplay of the Local and the Global in Witi Ihimaera's Revisions." Journal of Postcolonial Writing 43.3 (Dec. 2007): 310 - 322. (copy in HKU Scholars Hub)

"Allegories of awakening: Melancholy, repetition and 'race' in Charles Chesnutt's The House Behind the Cedars." Inventing the Past: Memory Work in Culture and History. Ed. Otto Heim and Caroline Wiedmer. Basel: Schwabe, 2005. 117-37. (copy in HKU Scholars Hub)

"Introduction: Figures of memory." With Caroline Wiedmer. Inventing the Past: Memory Work in Culture and History. Ed. Otto Heim and Caroline Wiedmer. Basel: Schwabe, 2005. 1-14.

"Time and Mobility in the Writing of Charles W. Chesnutt." Comparative American Studies 1.2 (June 2003): 222-45. (copy in HKU Scholars Hub)

"Traditions of Guardianship in Maori Literature." Colonies, Missions, Cultures in the English-Speaking World. Ed. Gerhard Stilz. Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 2001. 299-306.

"Resisting Incorporation: The Melodrama of Agency and the Naturalist Text." The Limits of Textuality. Ed. Lukas Erne and Guillemette Bolens. Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature 13. Tübingen: Narr, 2000. 53-76. (PDF)

"Reading off the Map, or: What, and Where, is Experience in the Writing of Aritha van Herk and M. Nourbese Philip?" Theory and Literary Creation. Ed. Jean-Pierre Durix. Dijon: Editions Universitaires de Dijon, 1999. 129-44.

Writing Along Broken Lines: Violence and Ethnicity in Contemporary Maori Fiction. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1998. 247pp. (much of it on Google books)

"The Moko of the Pakeha: Syncretism in Maori Literature." Syncrétisme et Interculturel. Ed. Jean-Pierre Durix. Dijon: Editions Universitaires de Dijon, 1997. 91-102.

"Magic and the Great Trust: The Place of the Intellectual in Mark Twain's and Edward Bellamy's Visions of Distant Societies." Empire: American Studies. Ed. John G. Blair and Reinhold Wagnleitner. Swiss Papers in English Language and Literatures 10. Tübingen: Narr, 1997. 211-23. (copy in HKU Scholars Hub)

"Unfinished Visions Beyond Nostalgic Mimicry: Derek Walcott's The Last Carnival in a Modernist Light." Aspects of Modernism. Ed. Andreas Fischer et al. Tübingen: Narr, 1997. 295-312.

"'To Be True One Must Find One's Kaupapa': Moments of Agency in Maori Fiction." Commonwealth 19.2 (Spring 1997): 1-21. (copy in HKU Scholars Hub)

"Supplement to the Voyage of Columbus: Literary Voyages of (Un-)Discovery in the South Pacific." Deferring a Dream: Literary Sub-Versions of the American Columbiad. Ed. Gert Buelens and Ernst Rudin. Basel: Birkhäuser, 1994. 48-75.

"Hu(l)man Medi(t)ations: Intercultural Explorations in Keri Hulme's The Windeater / Te Kaihau." With Anne Zimmermann. Australian and New Zealand Studies in Canada 8 (Dec. 1992): 106-35. (copy in HKU Scholars Hub)



Last updated: 7 December 2017