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Ah Li Cheung

Ah Li Cheung

Ah Li Cheung

Ph.D. Student (Scholarship holder 10/2012 - 09/2015)
1st Supervisor: PD Dr. Christoph Brumann
2nd Supervisor: Prof. Dr. David Berliner (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Mentor: PD Dr. Ralph Buchenhorst

Morphing “Chineseness”:
The Negotiation between History and Modernity in Xi’an

Xi'an, the former Chang'an – 3100 years old and capital to 13 dynasties
of Chinese emperors – experienced World Heritage fame in 1987 when the
mausoleum of the first Qin emperor with the stunning terracotta army was
listed. The city centre too is full of famous heritage buildings. For
instance,the Wild Goose Pagoda, the Tang dynasty palaces, the ancient
city wall, and the Forest of Steles are World Heritage candidates. The
glorious history characterizes the city and dominates the mindset of its
inhabitants. However, here as well, due to rapid modernization, the
cityscape is as much shaped by high rises as by historical buildings
Based on literature review, archival studies, participant observation,
and interviews, this project intends to explore the interaction between
modern development and historical preservation in the city.
Both modernisation and the advance of heritage and heritage tourism have
a strong impact on the social life of the local residents. The project
therefore seeks to understand how historical and archaeological sites
are displayed and in what ways this has changed in recent years along
with the general social and economic change in Xi'an. How do different
social actors understand heritage, perceive their own history and
remember their past, and how do they react, negotiate, or compromise in
situations when modernity, history and heritage cannot be reconciled so

Curriculum vitae


Since 10/2012Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
Doctoral candidate (Anthropology)
08/2010- 07/2012The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Master of Philosophy (Anthropology)
Mphil Thesis: Dissonance in Harmony: The Cantonese Opera Music Community in Guangzhou
09/2006-07/2010The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Bachelor of Arts (Major: Anthropology, minor: Germany Studies)
Graduated with First Class Honours
B.A. Thesis: Chocolate Revolution: The Struggle between Tastes, Minds and Hearts
08/2008-06/2009The University of Zürich
Semesters Abroad (Ethnology)

Work Experience

09/2010-07/2012Teaching Assistant, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)
Courses: Understanding Anthropology, Humans and Culture, Seminars in Hong Kong Studies, Reading Ethnography
01/2012- 07/2012Language Coordinator, New Asia College, CUHK
01/2011-07/2012Research Assistant, Centre for Cultural Heritage Studies, CUHK
12/2009-06/2010Research Assistant, Antiquities and Monuments Office, Hong Kong
08-09/2009Intern, Museum of Human Cultures, Vienna, Austria
09/2008-06/2009Intern, Ethnological Museum of the University of Zürich, Switzerland
06-08/2007Intern, China Cultural Heritage Information and Consulting Centre- Overseas Relics Department, Beijing, China

Academic Experience

2012Article Under Publication
Topic: The Voices of the Voiceless: The Cantonese Opera Music Community in Guangzhou, S.E. China
2012Article Under Publication
Topic: From Stereo to Stereotype: A Case Study of Cantonese Opera as Intangible Cultural Heritage in Guangzhou, S.E. China
07/2012Presented Paper in  East Asia Anthropological Association Conference, Hong Kong
Topic: From Art-form to Uni-form: The Cantonese Opera Music Community in Guangzhou
12/2011Guest Lecture on “What is Anthropology and anthropological Field Methods”
12/2011Presented Paper in Annual Postgraduate Student Forum, Hong Kong
Topic: Dissonance in Harmony: The Cantonese Opera Music Community in Guangzhou
11/2011Winner of the First Hong Kong inter-University German Speech Competition organized by the German Consulate General Hong Kong and Goethe Institute
11/2011Speaker of Chinese Cultural Talk, New Asia College, CUHK
Topic: Between Artform and Platform: History and Development of Cantonese Opera in Guangzhou
09/2011Presented Paper in Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde Conference 2011, Vienna, Austria
Topic: Behind the Mask: The Cantonese Opera Music Community in Guangzhou, South East China
02/2010Presented Paper in “Sustainability and Development” Symposium in Yale University, New Haven, U.S.A.
Topic: Sustainable Tourism Development in China and Hong Kong: A Comparative Study of Yunnan in China and Tai O in Hong Kong

Research Interest

Heritage management, ethnicity, Chinese society, history, urban development, social change, community identity, globalization, art and performance, and archaeology