Three UBC Arts faculty members elected to Royal Society of Canada

Three UBC Arts faculty members have been announced by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) as Fellows and as Members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

Jinhua Chen, a professor in the Department of Asian Studies, and Ara Norenzayan, professor in the Department of Psychology, have been named Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada – the highest honour a scholar can achieve in the arts, humanities and sciences in Canada. Catharine Winstanley, professor in the Department of Psychology, has been named a new member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists – Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leadership.

The 2020 Fellows and Members will be welcomed into the RSC at a celebration in November.

Read the RSC press release


Jinhua Chen (East Asian Buddhism)

Jinhua Chen is a professor in the Department of Asian Studies and was a resident scholar at UBC’s Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. His internationally recognized publications have been developed primarily through his research emphasizing trans-regional narratives in the history and contemporary practice of East Asian Buddhism. As a recipient of multiple research grants and fellowships, Chen’s broad range of scholarship is led by his endeavour to traverse boundaries between regional and sectarian forms of East Asian religions, and he has been adopting a pan-East Asian approach to understanding the various Buddhist traditions of China, Japan and Korea.

Ara Norenzayan (Psychology)

Dr. Ara Norenzayan is a professor in the Department of Psychology and a co-director of UBC’s Centre for Human Evolution, Cognition and Culture (HECC). His publications on the evolutionary origins of religion and the psychology of cultural and religious diversity in today’s globalized world are prolific and wide-ranging. Among his many achievements and awards, he is the author of Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict. More broadly, Norenzayan’s interests include supernatural beliefs, moral concern for the natural environment, human cooperation and conflict, issues of cultural variability and universality and cultural evolution.


Catharine Winstanley (Psychology)

Dr. Catharine Winstanley is a professor in the Department of Psychology, an Associate Member of the Division of Neurology, and an active member of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC. She is internationally recognized as a thought leader in the neurobiology of impulsivity and addiction disorders. Her translational research program investigates the neurobiology underlying risky decision making and motivated behaviour. Her exciting discoveries highlight the synergy in brain mechanisms between poor decision making and drug-taking, and how sensory stimulation provided by electronic gambling games promotes risky, maladaptive choices. She was a Michael Smith Early Career Scholar and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator, and has received numerous awards for her work.

See the full RSC class of 2020, courtesy of the Royal Society of Canada