Universiteit Leiden

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Ka Kin Cheuk

Guest researcher

Dr. K.K. Cheuk
+31 71 527 2727

Fields of interest

Anthropology of migration and transnationalism
Globalization and development studies
International development
Ethnic entrepreneurship and business studies
State and society
Sikh diaspora
Immigrants in China
Geographic focuses: China, Hong Kong and South Asia

Dr Ka-Kin Cheuk was a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), where he was part of an interdisciplinary research project entitled ‘Immigration and Transformations of the Chinese Society’ (2015-2018). In this international research project, which is supported by several European and Chinese fundings, Dr Cheuk collaborates with scholars and researchers from Oxford, Manchester, Lancaster, Cologne, Leiden, Fudan, and Peking Universities. More details about the consortium can be found at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/research/research-projects/humanities/immigration-and-the-transformation-of-chinese-society.

He completed his DPhil. in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford, where he remains as a Post-doctoral research associate. During his doctoral studies, he was a research student affiliated with the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS). From 2012 to 2013, 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 (http://www.oxford-mss.com) in May 2013.

His on-going book project, which is based on a doctorate in anthropology (Oxford) and post-doctoral research in interdisciplinary Asian Studies (Leiden), is an ethnographic study of a third-tier Chinese city called Keqiao. Located in eastern Zhejiang Province as a municipal district, Keqiao is not only a global trading frontier in Asia, but also a ‘Little India’ in China. Its wholesale market accounts for one-third annual turnover of China-made fabrics - the semi-finished textiles that are industrially weaved, knitted, embroidered, dyed, and printed in China before being exported to over 180 ports around the world. This makes Keqiao one of the major textile trading centers in Asia. In Keqiao, over 30,000 foreign traders have established intermediary trade business, with most of them coming from India, Pakistan, South Korea, Afghanistan, and several Arabia and Central Asian countries. In the local fabric market, Indian traders have established a particularly vibrant trade economy, in which they are exporting a large amount of fabrics to not only South Asia, but also Southeast Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Western Africa, and South America. Based on two-phased, long-term fieldwork in 2010-2012 and 2016-2017, this project aims to explicate the significance of such Indian-Chinese trade in terms of transnational connectivity and global economic influences.

In the Netherlands, Dr Cheuk is currently developing a new research project on the flower industries and its transnational circuits of environmental morality. The rapid growth of consumer market in China has re-oriented the Dutch flower trade. With the rise of China as a giant market for high-end western products, Dutch tulips, daffodils, and other bulb flowers become increasingly sought-after by the Chinese consumers. This research is set to examine how such trade development mediates the everyday notion of ‘sustainability’ in both Netherlands and China. As such, the research aims to theorize the ethics of sustainability and economic transnationality in the Sino-Dutch flower trade.


DPhil in Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford (2015), viva voce pass without correction
MPhil in Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2009)
BSSc in Anthropology, First Class Hons, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2006)

Key publications

  • Cheuk, Ka-Kin. 2017. “‘Little India’ in China.'' International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS) Newsletter, 76: 21.

  • Cheuk, Ka-Kin. 2016. “Everyday Diplomacy Among Indian Traders in a Chinese Fabric Market.” The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 34 (2): 42–58.

  • Cheuk, Ka-Kin. 2014. “Shaoxing, Shaoxing and ... Indians." Hong Kong Discovery, 84: 56 - 62. Reprinted in Cheung, Sidney Chin-Hung and Jiting Luo, eds.. 2015. Anthropologists on the Road, 114 - 125. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Discovery Limited.
  • Cheuk, Ka-Kin. 2013. “Capitalizing on Identity and Mobility: Sikh Mercantile Activity Across the Hong Kong-China Border." In Michael Hawley, ed., Sikh Diaspora: Theory, Agency, and Experience, 217 - 229. Leiden: Brill.

Grants and awards

Swire Cathay Pacific Scholarship, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford (2009 – 2013)

Guest researcher

  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS China

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 4
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 0.14a



No relevant ancillary activities

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