Meet the new faces of UBC Arts 2019-2020

August 30, 2019

The Faculty of Arts is welcoming several new faculty members to its departments, schools and institutes during the 2019-2020 academic year. Get to know who they are, what they’re working on and why they are excited to be at UBC.


Kelly Allison

Instructor, Chair of Field Education, School of Social Work

What is your area of research or teaching?
I come to UBC after being a practitioner in health social work for 20 years. My areas of teaching are direct practice with individuals and families, health social work and communication skills for direct practice. As a faculty in the Educational leadership stream I hope to pursue research related to the scholarship of teaching and learning and the most effective ways of teaching social work practice.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
The School of Social Work at UBC is in an exciting time of transition as nine of the fifteen faculty are new to UBC in the last three years. I very much look forward to working with my knowledgeable colleagues who teach and conduct research in exciting and diverse areas. In terms of being a part of the larger UBC community, I am thrilled to be part of an institution who is committed to diversity, decolonization and fostering and promoting a more just society.


Donna Baines

Director, School of Social Work

What is your area of research or teaching?
My research focuses on paid and unpaid care work, and the shifting lines between what kind of care is professionalized and well-paid and what is left to the unpaid work of family (usually women), and why. I also explore the policy, economic and organizational contexts in which paid and unpaid work takes place. I am also very interested in intersectional approaches and teach and write on anti-oppressive theory and practice.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
This year is the 90th anniversary of the School of Social Work at UBC. It is a great opportunity to look back at what we have achieved and to assess where we want to go in the coming years. It is an honor to be part of a School with a clear, long-term commitment to social justice. During this anniversary year, we will be undertaking local and international activities to celebrate and, to share our research with the community, policy makers and other scholars globally. It is a very positive time to be joining this outstanding team of scholars and educators.


Billy-Ray Belcourt

Assistant Professor, Indigenous Creative Writing

What is your area of research or teaching?
I work primarily in two genres – poetry and non-fiction. Trained in the humanities, I make use of interpretive strategies in queer, feminist, and cultural theory to examine the conditions by which Indigenous peoples suffer and make joy. My doctoral project is a work of cultural criticism and memoir called “The Conspiracy of NDN Joy” that theorizes and operationalizes a modality of writing about the coloniality of the world that brings into focus rather than obfuscates the ways Indigenous peoples exceed the violence of the long twentieth century so as to perform a world-to-come in the present. My current and forthcoming books are This Wound is a World (Frontenac 2017), NDN Coping Mechanisms (House of Anansi 2019), and A History of my Brief Body (Hamish Hamilton 2020).

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am looking forward to joining the vibrant community of Indigenous and queer scholars and writers at UBC, as well as to the work of teaching Indigenous art and writing from across North America!


Amanda Cheong

Assistant Professor, Sociology

What is your area of research or teaching?
I study the links between legal status and the reproduction of inequality. Currently, I’m working on a book project called Omitted Lives, which explores the causes and consequences of being left out of civil registration systems. My other work draws on a range of methods, including large-scale survey data analysis and community action research, to examine the impacts of documentation and legal status on migrants’ health trajectories, naturalization intentions, and other dimensions of integration.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am a proud Vancouverite and alumnus of UBC, having graduated in 2012 with a BA Honours in Sociology. I am ecstatic about the opportunity to rejoin the university’s diverse and social change-oriented community in the capacity of a faculty member.


Antoine Coulombe

Instructor, School of Social Work

What is your area of research or teaching?
I am a classically trained Social Worker, with over two decades of experience in advancing human dignity, respect, social justice and solidarity. My fields of interest within social work are diverse, including LGBTQ+, youth, poverty and health. While I enjoy practicing social work, I am also passionate about teaching. In this capacity, I am particularly excited about sharing how to create accessible, safe, engaging and self-reflective learning environments in which students can thrive and become active citizens. I love to challenge my students to further consider society’s strengths and challenges as they develop their critical thinking abilities, take initiative and exercise autonomy.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am grateful to join the UBC School of Social Work on the beautiful, traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people at a time when the university is focused on reconciliation. As an academic, I am excited to work with a talented set of students and colleagues who conduct research in exciting areas, and who are interested in partnering in the community to renew the Social Work profession. I am also excited about the amazing opportunities UBC offers to engage and continue learning as an active citizen on campus and in the greater community.


Carey Doberstein

Assistant Professor, Political Science

What is your area of research or teaching?
My research interests and publications traverse several core domains of political science and public policy and administration in a Canadian context, but is united by a focus in studying both the democratic and policy implications of collaborative forms of governance that include citizens and civil society actors in policy planning and decision-making, with a particular focus on urban or local government issues. I also maintain a research programme using experimental methods, including surveys of citizens and public servants, as well as participatory planning simulations related to urban development, housing, and homelessness.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am excited to be at UBC and in particular among the extraordinary faculty and students in the Political Science, a department which has contributed so much to our field over the years. I am also eager to take advantage of the various opportunities to interact across disciplines in this rich intellectual environment.


Kay Duffy

Assistant Professor, Asian Studies

What is your area of research or teaching?
I’m a specialist in early medieval Chinese literature. My current research project looks at festivity in court literature as a way of thinking through the role and meaning of the act of poetic composition in Northern and Southern Dynasties China. At UBC, I look forward to teaching courses on literature in translation, as well as research seminars on literary writing in premodern East Asia.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I’m excited to join the robust – and growing – Department of Asian Studies at UBC and to be living in the beautiful Pacific northwest again, after many years away.


Vincent Gélinas-Lemaire

Assistant Professor, French, Hispanic & Italian Studies

What is your area of research or teaching?
Why do we, as readers, give all our attention to characters, themes and plots, but spend so little time thinking about the invention of fictional worlds? Some we wish we could inhabit, while others oppress us; some feel familiar and some utterly foreign. Much of my research has been devoted to this intersection of literature and architecture, most notably in narratives of the 20th and 21st century, in France and Québec. As a teacher, I make it my goal to give my students a strong grasp of our fields of study, helping them gain the freedom to navigate them further independently. My classes can be devoted to an historical movement, such as the turmoil of the world wars, or to the intricacies of an abstract question, such as that of shades of truth and fiction in present-day novels.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
It is a great pleasure to be joining UBC and the Department of French, Hispanic & Italian Studies! As a professor in the Humanities, a Francophone, and a native of Montréal, I will have the opportunity to strengthen some of the cultural links that are at the roots of our institution.


Jessica Hanser

Assistant Professor, History

What is your area of research or teaching?
My research explores the connections, relationships and interactions between Britain and China from 1600 until the First Opium War (1839–1842). Originally trained as a British social and cultural historian, I became fascinated by Chinese history after attending several of Jonathan Spence’s lectures during the first year of my PhD at Yale University. Weaving my interests in Britain and China together, I set out on a new intellectual path to examine the history of Britain in China and China in Britain.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
After having lived in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan for nearly a decade, I am very excited to be living on the other side of the Pacific Ocean and to having an opportunity to teach at such a high caliber research university with a student body from all over the globe. I’m also really happy to be at a place where students and faculty alike seem to be seeking a balance between mind, body, and spirit. The appreciation for nature here, in addition to the many mindfulness and yoga opportunities on campus, are very heartening.


Dallas Hunt

Assistant Professor, English Language and Literatures | Twitter profile

What is your area of research or teaching?
I am interested in the role of Indigenous aesthetics in the creation and nurturing of complex Indigenous lifeworlds and socialities. I believe that this work is vital in the context of a colonial aesthetics that is designed to perpetually foreclose on Indigenous futures and erase Indigenous existence. I research and teach in the areas of Indigenous literature(s), De/anticolonial theory, Canadian literature, Critical theory, among others. Special topics include urban Indigeneity, contemporary Indigenous scholarship, affect, prairie literatures, and the environmental humanities.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am excited and honoured to be a visitor on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. The city of Vancouver has one of the largest urban Indigenous populations in Canada, something that appeals to my intellectual and personal interests. UBC is a vibrant and dynamic research and teaching environment, and I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, and politically active student populace at the university. I’m also thrilled to be working in collaboration not only with my colleagues in the Department of English, but also to cultivating relations with members of the First Nations and Indigenous Studies program and the Social Justice Institute. Hiy hiy!


Hannah Kia

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

What is your area of research or teaching?
My program of research broadly addresses aging in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit, and other sexual and gender minority (LGBTQ2S+) communities, and additionally centres questions related to social work practice with these populations. At present, I am particularly interested in examining expectations and experiences of aging in trans and gender diverse communities, and intend to draw on a variety of critical and intersectional traditions of scholarship to inform this work.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
Prior to starting my academic career, I practiced as a clinical social worker in Greater Vancouver, and actually completed both my Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees at UBC, so I am very excited to be back in my home city! I am especially looking forward to reconnecting with local LGBTQ2S+ communities after my time away, and learning about new opportunities for partnership and collaboration. I am also thrilled to build relationships with students at the School of Social Work and learn about the wonderful work of learners, practitioners, activists, advocates, and emerging scholars in this community.


Elizabeth Lagresa-González

Assistant Professor, French, Hispanic & Italian Studies

What is your area of research or teaching?
I am a specialist of early modern Hispanic literature and culture, which I address from an interdisciplinary perspective privileging the intersection of literature and gender theory, visual studies and material culture. In my first monograph, The Business of Romance, I focus on the complex relationship between romance novellas, monetary networks and female figures. The project aims to shed light on the overlooked role women performed within cross-cultural economic transactions in 17th century Spain. My second book project continues to expand on my interest in the exchange of objects and subjects across national and disciplinary borders by investigating how and why the early modern stage became a pivotal space for the representation of transcultural encounters.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am delighted to join the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies at UBC and form part of an innovative and dynamic research institution. I look forward to collaborating with interdepartmental colleagues, contributing to an inspiring research environment, and working with students to promote diversity and inclusion both inside and outside the classroom.


Colleen Laird

Assistant Professor, Asian Studies

What is your area of research or teaching?
I study and teach about Japanese media and popular culture, particularly the relationship between gender and film industries, consumers, and creators. In my scholarship and in the classroom, I approach Japanese media, and for that matter most Japanese popular culture, as transnational media and transnational culture. I challenge students to deconstruct notions of borders and essentialist illusions of cultural isolation, whether we are discussing food, video games, or, say, the art of tidying. I am currently working on a book project entitled Sea Change: Japan’s New Wave of Female Film Directors, the first monograph-length study of Japanese women working behind the camera.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am coming to UBC from just across the border down in Bellingham, Washington and so I am no stranger to the beauty and majesty of the Pacific Northwest. It’s hard to imagine living anywhere else! Although it has been my great privilege to teach Japanese language and culture studies at various institutions over the past eight years, I am so excited to join the Department of Asian Studies at UBC. Here, I have the great fortune to focus solely on my areas of expertise and share my passion for Japanese visual media with a community of exceptional colleagues and students—an extremely rare opportunity in my field.


Moberley Luger

Instructor, English Language & Literatures

What is your area of research or teaching?
I am a literature scholar specializing in contemporary American poetry. My work asks questions about the value of literature in times of crisis; I have studied, for example, the surprising popularity of poetry after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. More recently, I have turned my attention to matters of pedagogy, considering how a focus on poetry’s cultural role can invigorate the poetry classroom. I also have interests in the pedagogy of scholarly communication and just received a TLEF grant to enhance how we teach oral genres in the university. While my appointment is in English, I do a lot of my teaching in the Coordinated Arts Program. In CAP, I introduce first-year students to contemporary literature and to the research and writing methods literature scholars use.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I have been at UBC for a long time—first as a student and then as a Lecturer. I am grateful to be in my new position which can make my connection to UBC (and to Vancouver) more permanent. How lucky I am to live and work in such a vibrant place, among my community of family, friends, and colleagues. At UBC, I have been fortunate to work with talented and supportive faculty and staff and have taught many smart, wonderful students. I look forward to discovering the ways that UBC can support me in being the best researcher and teacher I can be.


Georgios Makris

Assistant Professor, Art History, Visual Art and Theory

What is your area of research or teaching?
An art historian and archaeologist, I specialize in the arts of Byzantium and its neighboring lands, with particular emphasis on the material culture and archaeology of monasticism as well as the dissemination and usage of portable objects across the medieval Mediterranean.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
From the moment I stepped on UBC’s campus and got up to the fourth floor of Frederic Lasserre Building, I realized that this was where I wanted to work. UBC’s Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory consists of creative and committed people who strive to understand works of art across all media, as well as the processes of production, reception and display. As an art historian and archaeologist, I appreciated AHVA’s dedication to the study of diverse cultures over time, to critical discourses and to humanistic values. I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory and UBC’s family.


Kelly McCormick

Assistant Professor, History

What is your area of research or teaching?
I focus on Japanese photography as part of larger historical questions related to gender, technology, consumer culture, and environmental activism. An interdisciplinary scholar by training (I received my Ph.D. in history at UCLA and also was involved with the University of Southern California’s Visual Studies Research Institute in addition to working at the Getty Research Institute), I situate my research on photography within broader questions of modern visual and material culture.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am very excited to work with a group of students who themselves have such diverse histories. Together we will explore the holdings of the special collections at UBC’s libraries as well as objects and images in Vancouver museums and public art spaces.

 


Tamara Mitchell

Assistant Professor, French, Hispanic and Italian Studies

What is your area of research or teaching?
My research focuses on 20th- and 21st-century Mexican and Central American narrative fiction, political philosophy, and border and diaspora studies. My current book project considers how globalization is being leveraged, even embraced, by Mexican thinkers and artists as a means of critiquing and shaping world relations in the present epoch. This research examines the ways in which literature—both written in Mexico and by authors of the Mexican diaspora—indexes, shapes, and critiques burgeoning neoliberal globalization as a means of destabilizing boundaries between the Global North and South.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am thrilled to work at an institution that values interdisciplinary scholarship and has a demonstrated commitment to the arts and humanities. I look forward to participating in the many centers and initiatives across campus that promote collaborative research, teaching, and community engagement. Finally, I am particularly excited to be joining the vibrant intellectual community in the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies.


Terry (Seok Min) Moon

Assistant Professor, Vancouver School of Economics

What is your area of research or teaching?
My research and teaching area is public economics. Currently, I am doing research on how capital taxation affects firms’ investment and how patronage appointments through CEO networks shape the allocation of resources in the economy.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am excited about being at UBC because my department has a very supportive group of colleagues whom I share not only research but also personal interests. Moreover, UBC is located in Vancouver, where it is full of attractions to explore with my family and friends.

 


Tara Mulder

Instructor, Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies

What is your area of research or teaching?
I work on the history of ideas about human generation and reproduction with a focus on ancient Greece and Rome. In my research I draw on feminist theory, the history of medicine and science, and a variety of literary and material sources including medical, philosophical, and legal texts, amulets, votives, myth, and literature. I teach courses on ancient Greek and Roman literature, language, myth, and history and on the history of medicine and science. In my first year at UBC I am teaching Greek and Roman Myth, Introductory Latin, Intermediate Ancient Greek, and Roman Culture. In my courses, I encourage students to consider the ways that the ancient world is relevant to them today. I am interested in open access pedagogy and in fostering the growth of students as producers of knowledge.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am excited to be at a large, diverse, multicultural research university, teaching students from all over the world and working in a department that takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the ancient Mediterranean world. Already in my first couple months on campus I have started to make connections with colleagues across campus, based on personal research interests and through the CTLT. I am excited about the large number of resources available for creative teaching and learning.


Shunya Noda

Assistant Professor, Economics

What is your area of research or teaching?
My research covers various aspects of Market design and Microeconomic theory. In particular, I am interested in the analysis of new markets raised by new technologies, and I have worked on several projects on blockchain economics and smart contracts.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
UBC has a very strong economics and computer science team. Here must be a great place to conduct exciting research! I am looking forward to collaborating with faculty members and students in UBC.


Catherine Prueitt

Assistant Professor, Philosophy

What is your area of research or teaching?
My research engages Sanskritic pre-modern South Asian philosophies of perception with a focus on how these traditions contribute to our contemporary understanding of human experience, particularly with regard to how conceptual processes relate to experiences of pain and selfhood. I’m also working on understanding how these theories provide new frameworks for contemporary theories of embodied ethical action.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
This is pretty much my dream job. I’m so excited about opening up the incredible riches of South Asian philosophy for my students, and about contributing to contemporary research on what it is to be human in an interdependent world.


Jason Rights

Assistant Professor, Psychology

What is your area of research or teaching?
As a quantitative psychologist, my research is primarily focused on addressing methodological complexities and developing statistical methods for multilevel/hierarchical data contexts (e.g., patients nested within clinicians or repeated measures nested within individuals). Specifically, I am currently pursuing several interrelated programs of research: (1) developing R-squared measures and methods for multilevel models; (2) addressing unappreciated consequences of conflating level-specific effects in analysis of multilevel data; (3) delineating relationships between multilevel models and other commonly used models, such as mixture models; and (4) advancing model comparison methods for latent variable models. I also develop freely available software to aid researchers in practice.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
UBC is an amazing school, and the psychology department here is one of the best in the world. I’m thrilled to be joining a department with faculty who are not only intelligent and productive, but also passionate about their work and about progressing the field of psychology. Also Vancouver is such a fun and beautiful city! I’m really looking forward to getting to know it better.


Elise Stickles

Assistant Professor, English Language and Literatures

What is your area of research or teaching?
As a cognitive linguist, I study the relationship between linguistic structures and general cognitive processes. Most of my research focuses on “everyday metaphors”, which are both pervasive in language and critical to how we reason about the world. For example, if we say “the weekend is coming”, is that different from “we’re coming up on the weekend”? I use computational methods to identify and analyze this sort of language in large amounts of text, and experimental methods to find out how people produce and respond to it. I also study how metaphors are expressed non-linguistically, particularly in gesture, and I’m working to develop methods for representing how linguistic and gestural meaning and structures interact when we produce them at the same time.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
UBC is a great place to be a linguist! There is an incredible diversity of languages in the Lower Mainland, from those spoken by First Nations communities to those spoken by the many different communities who have moved here. Researchers across UBC also study language from many different perspectives, supported by the university’s emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches. With such an accomplished student body and an ongoing institutional commitment to linguistic social justice, there are so many opportunities to research and support our languages.


Marina Thibeault

Assistant Professor, School of Music

What is your area of research or teaching?
The viola is an instrument that is still developing in the solo path. Working together with today’s composers, helping to shape the repertoire and extending the possibilities of the instrument is an important part of my artistic research. In the past years, I have also been researching the music written by women composers for strings. This resulted in my second album, ELLES, under the Atma Classique label. Incredibly interested in yoga, meditation and sports psychology, I look forward to include various methods to my teaching to help students grow to their full potential, as artists and as human beings!

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
The UBC School of Music has a long and exciting history of producing some of Canada’s top violists, thanks to the great pedagogue Gerald Stanick. Following his foot-step is a dream come true! I am thrilled and honoured to join this established and innovative School of Music as Assistant Professor of Viola and Chamber Music and I look forward to working and collaborating with the outstanding faculty and students, developing research and contributing to the rich music scene of Vancouver and BC area.


Hannah Turner

Assistant Professor, iSchool | Twitter profile

What is your area of research or teaching?
As a critical information studies scholar, I study the connection between documentation, culture and technology. Much of my work is with museums, artists and communities, and I am interested in figuring out how we can use new technologies to better document and represent cultural heritage. I study the histories of classification in museum settings, and I also experiment with with photogrammetry and 3D printing to document objects and information. In my research, I ask questions like: What is the legacy of ethnographic data, and how can we protect and return cultural heritage? What new ethics of care do museums need as they work with digital objects, now and in the future?

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am really looking forward to being back on the west coast, I was born in the area and am so happy to return. I am also particularly excited to be in an iSchool and working with new colleagues in library and archival studies. In my research and teaching, I am eager to continue working with local museums and organisations, and I can’t wait to engage students in projects around the city (and world!). There is so much happening here at UBC, and I feel lucky I get the chance to be a part of it, and hope to meet many other colleagues from across the departments.


Ramón A. Victoriano-Martínez

Assistant Professor, French, Hispanic & Italian Studies

What is your area of research or teaching?
I am a recovering lawyer that specializes in Dominican and Hispanic Caribbean literatures and cultures. My first book, “Rayanos y Dominicanyorks” analyzes Dominican identity, departing from the figure of the “rayano” (the one from the border) and leaning on a critical reading of the following texts: “El Masacre se pasa a pie” (Freddy Prestol Castillo), “The Farming of Bones” (Edwidge Danticat), “Dominicanish” (Josefina Báez), and “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” (Junot Diaz). I am currently working on a book length project tracing the literary production of the so called “Doce años,” the period between 1966 and 1978 when Joaquín Balaguer conducted a civilian lead dictatorship in Dominican Republic. During this time new representations of women and black people began to emerge.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am super excited about being at UBC due to its reputation as an excellent hub for researchers and teachers and the welcoming nature of the people that I have been in contact with so far. After 18 years in frigid Ontario, I look forward to enjoy the famously milder winters in BC!


Michael Weaver

Assistant Professor, Political Science

What is your area of research or teaching?
I examine the politics of violence, in particular, contests over the legitimacy of state and non-state violence, how changes in these public norms constrain and enable violence, as well as the causes and consequences of ethnic violence. My current project examines how lynching became publicly unacceptable. In other work, I examine the effects of electing ethnic political parties and violence in India and Indonesia, the effects of military service in the American Civil War on racial attitudes, and the effects of inflammatory political rhetoric on violence.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am excited to be at UBC, because it is a place where scholars not only engage seriously in research, without deference to disciplinary boundaries, but also commit to bringing their insights to the wider public.


Matthew Wright

Assistant Professor, Political Science

What is your area of research or teaching?
I study political psychology, and in particular questions about how both political identities and core values influence peoples’ attitudes about immigrants, immigration policy and diversity more generally. My work has been published in numerous journals, and my book (co-authored with Morris Levy) Immigration and the American Ethos is forthcoming at Cambridge University Press.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
Mainly the large (and growing) group of scholars here devoted to the studying all aspects of migration. Also, being on a beautiful campus and back in my home country after years in the U.S.

 


Renren Yang

Assistant Professor, Asian Studies

What is your area of research or teaching?
I am a scholar of modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture. I study twentieth and twentieth-first century Chinese literature, cinema, and popular culture, with an emphasis on literary and media analysis. I am particularly invested in the studies of the novel, materialities of communication, and digital folklore. My first book project, A Media Genealogy of Literary Fame in Modern China: Paper, Stage, Screen, and Sphere, investigates how literary fame is made by tracing constitutive roles of material interfaces for literary communication throughout twentieth-century China. It brings celebrity studies and media studies together. My other research and teaching interests include Chinese Internet literature, road movie, and surveillance cinema.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I am thrilled to become a UBC citizen because of its diverse student population, stimulating intellectual community, and amicable infrastructure for interdisciplinary learning, teaching, and research. I am excited to join the Department of Asian Studies, which is one of the largest of its kind in North America, and delighted to be able to contribute to the studies of Asian popular culture at the moment of its growth. I also look forward to the opportunities for collaboration across the university and with the larger community in Vancouver.


Yang-Yang Zhou

Assistant Professor, Political Science

What is your area of research or teaching?
In my research, I try to understand the complex dynamics surrounding national identity, conflict, and development in the context of migration, often using experimental methods. Some of the questions I ask include: How does the presence of refugees affect the social and political identities of nearby citizens? Does the settlement of displaced populations introduce new conflict? Do economic interventions like cash transfers decrease support for political violence? Regionally, my work has mostly taken me to East Africa, but I also have projects in Afghanistan and on the US-Mexico border. My teaching will focus on the political economy of “development,” where we unpack the many ways that concept is measured and what factors, from historical legacies to modern political institutions, affect it.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
Few political issues today are as contentious as migration, particularly with respect to refugees and asylum-seekers. I’m thrilled to be working on this topic with the support of my diverse and incredible colleagues in the Political Science Department and the UBC Migration Research Excellence Cluster. I’m also excited to mentor students in becoming politically-aware and active citizens.


Mila Zuo

Assistant Professor, Film

What is your area of research or teaching?
My areas of research and teaching include non-Western cinemas; transnational Asian cinemas; film philosophy; star studies; and critical theories of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity. My current book project focuses on the affective world-building of global Chinese women film stars. In addition to my scholarly work, I write and direct films, including CARNAL ORIENT (2016) which screened at Slamdance and other international film festivals. My forthcoming film KIN was awarded the 2019 Oregon Media Arts Fellowship in support of production.

Why are you excited to be at UBC?
I’m very excited about joining the vibrant Department of Theatre and Film at UBC and to working with such inspiring colleagues, staff, and students. I’m also looking forward to beautiful, multicultural Vancouver and attending VIFF and other film events.