Ka-Kin Cheuk

WEBSITE(S)| Curriculum Vitae

Ka-Kin Cheuk’s work revolves around the anthropology of globalization and transnationalism, interdisciplinary migration studies, and inter-Asian connections with geographic focuses on China, Hong Kong, and South Asia. Ka-Kin completed his DPhil in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford, and he previously held teaching and research positions at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Universiteit Leiden, and NYU Shanghai. He has conducted a decade of ethnographic fieldwork on the Sikh diaspora in Hong Kong and Indian textile traders in southeast China.

Ka-Kin’s ongoing book project 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 of the annual turnover of made-in-China fabrics – the semi-finished textiles that are industrially woven, knit, 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 businesses, with most of them coming from India, Pakistan, South Korea, Afghanistan, and several Arabian and Central Asian countries. In Keqiao, Indian traders have established a particularly vibrant trade economy in which they have been exporting a large volume of fabrics to not only South Asia, but also Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Western Africa, and South America. Based on his fieldwork in 2010-2012 and 2016-2017, Ka-Kin's book explicates the significance of such Indian-Chinese trade in terms of transnational connectivity and global economic influences.

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

He has published articles in journals such as The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology and recently joined the editorial board of Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration (Intellect Ltd).


Sikh Diaspora: Theory, Agency, and Experience
Michael Hawley (editor)

Brill's Encyclopedia of Sikhism
Knut A. Jacobsen, Gurinder S. Mann, Eleanor Nesbitt, and Kristina Myrvold (editors)

Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism
Knut A. Jacobsen (editor)


Interviews about Ka-Kin's work (in English and in Chinese)

Everyday Diplomacy among Indian Traders

‘Little India’ in China