Dr Wah Guan   Lim

Dr Wah Guan Lim

BA Honours 1 UNSW,  MSt Oxford,  MA Princeton,  PhD Cornell



Arts,Design & Architecture
Humanities & Languages

Wah Guan LIM is excited to be back at his Alma Mater, UNSW.  After completing his B.A. (Hons 1) in Chinese Literature and Theatre and Performance Studies here, he went on to pursue an M.St. in Chinese Studies at Oxford, M.A. in East Asian Studies at Princeton and Ph.D. in Asian Literature, Religion and Culture at Cornell.  Upon graduating from Cornell, he served in a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of Chinese at Bard College, a liberal arts college in New York state, which he left to return to UNSW, favouring its proximity to Asia and strong research culture.

Dr Lim returns to UNSW as Lecturer in Chinese Studies and an Early Career Researcher (ECR).  He works across the interstices of Chinese literature, theatre and performance, and film studies.  His research examines the politics of culture and performance across the Chinese communities in East and Southeast Asia, demonstrating how theatrical performances complicate national or ethno-cultural discourse and explores the interplay between theatre and politics, cultural identity and artistic expression.

His essays and reviews, in English and Chinese, have appeared in the Journal of the Oriental Society of Australia (JOSA), Polyphony Embodied: Freedom and Fate in Gao Xingjian’s Writings, the Hong Kong Drama Review (HKDR), Singapore: Negotiating State and Society, 1965–2015, the Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese (JMLC) and Gao Xingjian and Transmedia Aesthetics.  He is currently completing a monograph titled Denationalizing Identities: The Politics of Performance in the Chinese Diaspora, which focuses on four of the most important director-playwrights in the contemporary Chinese-speaking world: Kuo Pao Kun (1939–2002, Singapore), Gao Xingjian (b. 1940, China), Danny Yung Ning Tsun (b. 1943, Hong Kong) and Lai Sheng-chuan (West. Stan Lai, b. 1954, Taiwan).

His work on transnational Chinese theatre has earned invitations to guest lecture and present papers on the topic in academic symposia and conferences in London, Taipei, Singapore, Sydney, Erlangen, Hamilton (New York), Ithaca and Harvard.  He was awarded the “Outstanding Thesis Presentation for Young Scholars Award” at the 10th Chinese Drama Festival (2016) — the oldest biannual platform showcasing the convergence of praxis and scholarship on theatre and performance in the Chinese-speaking world — as well as having been the recipient of external competitive fellowships such as the Center for Chinese Studies Research Grant and the Taiwan Fellowship.

Dr Lim’s varied interests go beyond his scholarly pursuits.  While doing his B.A., he was a thespian with the New South Wales University Theatrical Society (NUTS), having performed in every theatre space on campus.  A speaker of several Chinese dialects, in addition to Mandarin, he served as linguistic consultant to the international best-sellers Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems, by Kevin Kwan, and as a casting and script translation consultant for the production Dim Sum Warriors: The Musical, by the New York-based Singaporean filmmakers and comic artists Jocelyn Woo Yenyen and Colin Goh, produced by Stan Lai with a transnational Chinese cast that premiered in Shanghai.  As a past recipient of the New College Award, he is particularly eager to learn from and contribute to the vibrant scholarly communities in UNSW and the New College Postgraduate Village, where he has just been appointed Fellow.

+61-2-9385 1681
Morven Brown 245


  • Book Chapters | 2021
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2021, 'From 1989 to 1997 and Beyond: Zuni Icosahedron’s Transnational Explorations', in Ferrari R; Thorpe A (ed.), Asian City Crossings: Pathways of Performance through Hong Kong and Singapore, Routledge, London, https://www.routledge.com/Asian-City-Crossings-Pathways-of-Performance-through-Hong-Kong-and-Singapore/Ferrari-Thorpe/p/book/9780367488413
    Book Chapters | 2020
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2020, '“1980 niandai haiwai Huaren juchang de juhe yu zhangli: Yi Xinjiapo wei li” 〈1980 年代海外華人劇場的聚合與張力:以新加坡為例〉 (Tensions and convergences in 1980s Chinese diasporic theatre: The case of Singapore).', in Koh KH; Ong CW; Phua CP; Chong JI; Yang Y (ed.), Diversity and Singapore Ethnic Chinese Communities International Conference, City Book Room, Singapore, pp. 87 - 94
    Book Chapters | 2018
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2018, 'From Theater to Cine-Poetry: Gao Xingjian’s Performance Theories', in Lee M; Liu J (ed.), Gao Xingjian and Transmedia Aesthetics, Cambria Sinophone World, Amherst, New York, pp. 201 - 215, http://www.cambriapress.com/camber.cfm?port=8032&bookid=9781604979466&page=201
    Book Chapters | 2016
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2016, 'The Changing Landscape of Politics and Language Use in Singaporean Theatre: Towards a Multilingual Praxis', in Lim J; Lee T (ed.), Singapore Negotiating State and Society, 1965-2015, Routledge, London, pp. 76 - 93, https://www.routledge.com/Singapore-Negotiating-State-and-Society-1965-2015-1st-Edition/Lim-Lee/p/book/9781138998650
    Book Chapters | 2014
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2014, 'Between Memory and Forgetting: Ten Years After Gao Xingjian’s Winning of the Nobel', in Lackner M; Chardonnens N (ed.), Polyphony Embodied - Freedom and Fate in Gao Xingjian’s Writings, Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, Berlin, pp. 185 - 201, https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/248087
  • Journal articles | 2012
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2012, 'Danny Yung and Experimental Chinese Theatre', Zuni Icoshahedron Annual Report 2011–12, pp. 32 - 35
    Journal articles | 2009
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2009, 'Chuyu dongxi wenhua de bianyuan 〈處於東西文化的邊緣〉 (On the margins of East and West)', Hong Kong Drama Review, vol. 8, pp. 163 - 182, http://hklit.lib.cuhk.edu.hk/servlet/search?action=journal&startPos=-1&o=identifier%2floc_id&j=%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E6%88%B2%E5%8A%87%E5%AD%B8%E5%88%8A&ji=%E7%AC%AC%E5%85%AB%E6%9C%9F&d=2009
  • Conference Presentations | 2020
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2020, 'From 1989 to 1997 and Beyond: Zuni Icosahedron’s Transnational Explorations', presented at European Association for Chinese Studies (EACS), Leipzig, Germany, 25 August 2020 - 29 August 2020
    Conference Presentations | 2019
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2019, 'Stan Lai and Cross-Straits Chinese Theatre', presented at War, Love and Language: Taiwan and its Cultural Interlocutors Workshop, University of Melbourne, 12 December 2019 - 13 December 2019
    Conference Presentations | 2019
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2019, '“Mao de qishi: Xinjiapo juchang zhong de shenfen renting he yuyan zhengzhi” 〈貓的啟示:新加坡劇場中的身份認同和語言政治〉 (What can a cat teach us about identity and the politics of language in Singapore theatre?)', presented at International Conference on ‘Post’-Humanities 「人文之『後』」, National Chung-hsing University, Taichung, 23 November 2019 - 24 November 2019
    Conference Presentations | 2019
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2019, 'Articulating Alternative Cultural Identities: Kuo Pao Kun’s Multilingual Theatre Praxis in Singapore', presented at 2019 Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture (ACIAC) Emerging Scholars’ Forum on Australian and Chinese Arts and Culture: Compare, Contrast, Converge and Commingle, Western Sydney University, 22 June 2019 - 23 June 2019
    Conference Presentations | 2019
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2019, '“1980 niandai haiwai Huaren juchang de juhe yu zhangli: Yi Xinjiapo wei li” 〈1980 年代海外華人劇場的聚合與張力:以新加坡為例〉 (Tensions and convergences in 1980s Chinese diasporic theatre: The case of Singapore)', presented at Diversity and Singapore Ethnic Chinese Communities International Conference 新加坡華族之多元性國際會議, Singapore Chinese Culture Centre (SCCC), 13 April 2019 - 14 April 2019
    Conference Presentations | 2019
    Dr Wah Guan Lim
    Lim WG, 2019, 'The Surging of Local Consciousness in the Chinese Diaspora: The Unintended Consequences of Propaganda Drama', presented at Association of Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Conference, Denver, Colorado, 21 March 2019 - 24 March 2019


Awards & Honours

Early Career Researcher (ECR) Award, UNSW, 2019–

Outstanding Thesis Presentation for Young Scholars Award  青年學者傑出論文表現獎, 2016

The 10th Chinese Drama Festival, Hong Kong Federation of Drama Societies

Ta-Chung and Ya-Chao Liu Memorial Award, Cornell, 2011

Awarded to one student per graduate field of study, in recognition of excellent progress and high potential for a successful academic career

The New College Award, UNSW, 2005

The highest accolade the College can bestow on a Collegian

Chinese Studies Essay Prize, UNSW, 2004

For the best essay in Chinese Studies in any undergraduate program

Second Class Award, China Bridge Competition, 2003

Inter-University Chinese Competition, Sydney



Taiwan Fellowship, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan, 2019

Six-month fellowship for research in Taiwan

Research Grant for Foreign Scholars in Chinese Studies, Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

Six-month fellowship for research in Taiwan, 2019 (declined)

Sage Fellowship, Cornell, 2009–10, 2014–15

Full academic year fellowship

Hu Shih Fellowship in Chinese Studies, Cornell, 2013–14

Full academic semester fellowship

Taiwan Fellowship, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan, 2012

Full academic year fellowship for research in Taiwan

C.V. Starr Fellowship, Cornell, 2010–11, 2011–12

Full academic semester fellowship

Graduate School Fellowship, Princeton, 2007–09

Full academic year fellowship

University Honours Year Scholarship, UNSW, 2005


Conference Travel Grant, HAL, UNSW, 2019 (international), 2020 (domestic & international)

Writing Mentor Grant for Early Career Researchers, HAL, UNSW, 2019

Research Start-up Budget, Bard College, 2015–17

Chiang Ching-kuo (CCK) Junior Scholar Conference Attendants’ Travel, 2015

Travel grant for the 13th International Junior Scholars Conference on Sinology, Taipei

Einaudi Center International Travel Grant Award, Cornell, 2014

Travel fund for summer research in Hong Kong

Graduate Student Conference Grant, Cornell, 2010, 2012, 2013

East Asia Program (EAP) Lam Family Travel Grant Award, Cornell, 2013

Graduate School Summer Research Travel Grant, Cornell, 2013              

Summer research travel in Hong Kong

Travel Funding, Berkeley-Stanford Graduate Student Conference in Modern Chinese Humanities, 2013

Southeast Asia Program (SEAP) Conference Travel Grant, Cornell, 2013

National Chung-hsing University Conference Travel Support, 2013

Department Summer Research & Language Study Award, Cornell, 2011

Department Conference Travel Support, Cornell, 2010