Asian Studies minor teaches James Luk about his own culture from different lenses

Author: James Luk

James 400 X 400

Having grown up in Hong Kong, I never considered taking classes about Asia. However, in the fall of senior year, I discovered some high school credits counted toward the minor, so I declared it. Looking back, the minor fits in well with my interests and activities.

I came to college with an interest in the Middle East—I learned Arabic and studied in Jerusalem. However, my non-class activities revolved around Asia. I founded the Hong Kong Student Association (HKSA) to share Hong Kong culture. Unfortunately, HKSA didn’t survive COVID-19 restrictions on clubs, but the two years were worthwhile for the ND community. 

My research interests also focused on Asia. I conducted research with Professor Michel Hockx on cultural policy in China, censorship theory, Chinese online literature, and the May Fourth Movement. Researching for Professor Hockx and taking his Chinese literature class gave me a greater appreciation of China beyond the perception of it as an authoritarian monolith. 

Coming to Notre Dame from Asia, I’ve experienced a duality of sharing my culture and learning about my own culture from different lenses. Grappling with complex issues in the classroom and beyond helped me approach Asia, specifically China, with more patience to dig deeper and understand the nuances of global, regional and local actors.