King-Kok Cheung, professor emeritus of English and Asian American Studies at UCLA, was recognized with a lifetime achievement award by the Association for Asian American Studies for her lifelong contribution to advancing the field of Asian American and Pacific Islander studies.
Cheung, the author of “Articulate Silences” and “Chinese American Literature without Borders,” is a literary critic with a specialization in ethnic American literature. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she was the first woman of color in the humanities division and the first faculty member of Asian descent to join the English department at UCLA in 1984. She has received fellowships and awards including the Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Award in Asian American Studies and two Fulbright fellowships.
Since joining the UCLA faculty in 1984, Cheung has helped shape several courses including a 1989 workshop to transform the curriculum by integrating material by women of color, a 2000 general education series on interracial dynamics in American law, history and literature, and an English course on ways of reading race. She currently teaches the Fiat Lux seminar “Taichi, Martial and Literary Arts: Unexpected Affinities” with tai chi sifu master Yun Zhao.
Before receiving her award April 8 at the association’s banquet, Cheung brought 10 former students to the stage with her and acknowledged that “to make an Asian Americanist, it takes a village without borders, be they geographic, linguistic or disciplinary.”