Before coming to HKU in February 2001, I taught at several universities in Switzerland, where I also received my PhD, at the University of Basel, with a dissertation on Māori fiction in English. My main research interest, in the field of postcolonial studies, has evolved from this and currently focuses on writing from the Pacific region, or Oceania, specifically poetry and theatre. My second research interest is in American studies, especially its transnational and cross-cultural dimensions, and the critique of imperialism. I am particularly interested in studying the role of literary practices in globalized cultural and political contexts and their relationship with popular traditions and cultural memory. A major focus of my current research is a book-length study of the theatrical work of Samoan playwright John Kneubuhl, recently supported by a GRF grant from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong. With a particular interest in the study of island cultures, I am also a member of the editorial boards of Shima and the Urban Island Studies journal and was co-convener of the second Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos conference, held at HKU in March 2016, and the symposium "The Space Between: Creativity, Performance and Impact in Contemporary Island Society", hosted by the School of English in December 2018.
At HKU I have served on multiple committees and boards in various capacities and was an Associate Dean and Chairman of the Board of Examiners in the Faculty of Arts from 2006 to 2010 and Head of the School of English from 2010 to 2013. I have been awarded a Faculty Teaching Excellence Award and am currently the co-chair of the School Research Committee.
On sabbatical leave in 2019-20