King-Kok Cheung Honored with AAAS Lifetime Achievement Award

April 21, 2023

King-Kok Cheung, professor emeritus of English and Asian American Studies at UCLA, was honored earlier this month with a lifetime achievement award by the Association for Asian American Studies. Her two greatest curricular contributions to UCLA are coordinating the 1998-2000 GE Cluster “Interracial Dynamics in American History, Society, and Literature,” a joint effort with Richard Yarborough and other UCLA faculty, and facilitating the 1989 Ford-funded workshop to transform the curriculum by integrating material by women of color, a project made possible by Professor Karen Rowe, the Ford grant recipient.

Pictured: Original GE Cluster team, 1998-1999. From the left: Richard Yarborough, King-Kok Cheung, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Henry Yu.

Professor Cheung is also a special advisor for the US-China Education Trust, and was featured in a recent interview where she discussed her scholarly work and her lifelong commitment to humanity and the humanities.

Cheung also discussed her scholarship and the AAAS recognition with UCLA Newsroom. In her acceptance video for the award, Cheung acknowledges Professors Paul Lauter, Russell C. Leong, Karen Rowe, Valerie Smith, Richard Yarborough, and the late Don Nakanishi, who was Director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center.

Cheung’s former students from both English and Asian American Studies at UCLA attended the ceremony and gathered at the stage with Cheung during her acceptance of the award.

(Except for Russell C. Leong, all pictured above are former UCLA graduate students of King-Kok Cheung.) Back row from left: Karen Umemoto, MA AAS (thesis directed by Don Nakanishi) Professor of Urban Studies and Director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center; coauthor of MOUNTAIN MOVERS: STUDENT ACTIVISM AND THE EMERGENCE OF ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES; Dominika Ferens, PhD English, Professor of English, U of Wroclaw, Poland; author of EDITH AND WINNIFRED EATON: CHINATOWN MISSIONS AND JAPANESE ROMANCE); Julia H. Lee, PhD English; Professor and Chair of AAS at UCI, author of INTERRACIAL ENCOUNTERS: RECIPROCAL REPRESENTATIONS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN AND ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURES 1896-1937); Erin Suzuki, PhD English (diss. directed by Ali Behdad), Associate Professor of Undefined Department, UCSD, author of OCEAN PASSAGES: NAVIGATING PACIFIC ISLANDER AND ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE); Tamara Ho, PhD Comp Lit (diss. co-directed by Katherine King and King-Kok Cheung), Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies and former Director of California Center for Native Nations at UCR, author of ROMANCING HUMAN RIGHTS: GENDER, INTIMACY, AND POWER); Denise Cruz, PhD English (diss. co-directed by Richard Yarborough and King-Kok Cheung), Chair and Professor of English, Columbia, author of TRANSPACIFIC FEMINITIES: THE MAKING OF THE MODERN FILIPINA; Robert Kyriakos Smith, PhD English, diss. directed by Jenny Sharpe, coeditor of “Interracial Dynamics in Asian American Literature,” a special issue of Literature; King-Kok Cheung, PhD English, UCB, recipient of the AAAS Lifetime Achievement Award; Brian Niiya, MA, AAS (thesis was the very first directed by King-Kok Cheung), editor of JAPANESE AMERICAN HISTORY: A TO Z (Brian is the indefatigable RA for ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY); Lynn Mie Itagaki, MA, AAS, PhD English, Associate Professor of English at U of Missouri, author of CIVIL RACISM: THE 1992 LOS ANGELES RIOTS; Sean Metzger (PhD Theater, diss. directed by Karen Shimakawa, Associate Dean of UCLA Dept of Theater, author of CHINESE LOOKS: GENDER, PERFORMANCE, RACE; Qinglan Li, MA Soc. Sc, COO, Crescent Bloom Society, a bilingual transpacific literary cabal cofounded by King-Kok Cheung and Yong Ho; Front row: James Kyung-Jin Lee, MA AAS, PhD English, diss. co-directed by Richard Yarborough and King-Kok Cheung, Professor of AAS and Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, author of URBAN TRIAGE: RACE AND THE FICTIONS OF MULTICULTURALISM; Russell C. Leong, MFA (thesis directed Teshome Gabriel), former editor-in-chief of the UCLA Amerasia Journal; Hans Yi Su, MA, English, U of Auckland, Exchange Student from New Zealand. Photo taken by David Martinez (diss. directed by Rafael Perez-Torres), freelance editor. Missing in the photo but present in spirit (in order of UCLA seniority): Stan Yogi, BA English, ABD, UCB, coeditor of Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography; Susan Koshy, PhD English, Professor of AAS, UIUC, author of SEXUAL NATURALIZATION: ASIAN AMERICANS AND MISCEGENATION; Rachel H. Lee, PhD, English, Professor Of Gender Studies, English, and Institute of Society and Genetics at UCLA, author of THE AMERICAS OF ASIAN AMERICA; Michael Murashige, PhD English, editor of Equity and Inclusion at UO; Brenda Kwon, PhD, English, poet and author of BEYOND KE’EAUMOKU: KOREANS, NATIONALISM, AND LOCAL CULTURE IN HAWAI’I; Tooktook Thongthiraj, PhD English, Dean of English and Language Studies, PCC; Joyce W. Lee, PhD English, Senior Associate Director, University Principal Gifts, Stanford U; Khanh Si Ho, PhD English, fiction writer and Senior copywriter at Fleur’t Lingerie; Christina Nagao, PhD English (diss. co-directed by Grace Hong and King-Kok Cheung), Associate Professor of English, El Camino College; Hannah Nahm, PhD English (diss. codirected by King-Kok Cheung and Richard Yarborough), fiction writer and Visiting Assistant Professor of English, U of Mississippi, coeditor of “Interracial Dynamics in Asian American Literature,” a special issue of Literature.

From the left: Denise Cruz, Chair, English, U of Columbia; Erin Suzuki, prospective Chair, Literature Department, UCSD; King-Kok Cheung; Julia Lee, Chair, Asian Am Studies, UCI; Dominika Ferens, Chair, English, U of Wroclaw; Tamara Ho, Gender and Sexuality Studies and former Director of California Center for Native Nations at UCR.

King-Kok Cheung with Julia Lee, PhD English, and James Kyung-Jin Lee, MA AAS; PhD English, both full professors at UCI.

King-Kok Cheung with Robert Kyriakos Smith, PhD English, Assist. Prof of English and African American Studies at CSUSB.

From the left: Denise Cruz, King-Kok Cheung, Sean Metzger, Dominika Ferens.

From the left: UCLA English Professor and former student Rachel Lee with King-Kok Cheung.