DLC Funded Research

SFU Researchers' Projects Funded by the DLC

SFU David Lam Centre (DLC) offers funding opportunities to continuing faculty DLC Members interested in organizing events and conducting projects that support the goals of the Centre. Besides projects listed below, also visit our events page for other events sponsored by the DLC.

Major projects

Guerilla Warfare and the Anthropologists
Robert Anderson, School of Communication

Research Project and Workshop

The purpose of this project is to identify, assemble, obtain permissions, and publish up to twenty images of the social and conflict history of the China-Burma-India frontier in the 1940s; these images will be used in a forthcoming book called “Guerilla Warfare and the Anthropologists” and in as many other public ways as permitted. Assistance is also sought for the sizing and positioning and captioning of these images in a camera-ready form, ready for projection and other uses. The project will be followed in FY 2021-2022 with a multi-site workshop, using these images (and others in Asia-Pacific) to appraise the use of images in research in histories of that region.

In addition to securing and publishing these images (with appropriate permission from the archives, and credit to the David Lam Centre), I am planning to gather other historians of the relation of guerrilla warfare and anthropology/ethnography and associated fields in the social sciences in the next phase of the project to explore sources from other periods.

Bio-cultural Diversity and Environmental Learning
David Bryan Zandvliet, Faculty of Education

Seminar Series

The theme for the 8 seminars is Bio-cultural diversity which can be described as the diversity of life in all its manifestations: biological, cultural, and linguistic. In the model, these are interrelated within a complex socio-ecological adaptive system. This diversity of life is made up of the diversity of plants and animal species, habitats and ecosystems, but includes the diversity of human cultures and languages.

This seminar series takes the local values and practices of different cultural groups as its’ starting point for sustainable living. For educators, the issue is to work to preserve / restore important practices and values, but also to modify, adapt and create diversity in ways that resonate with both rural and urban school populations.

Zheng Shengtian Art Archive: Documentation & Research Project
Shuyu Kong, Department of Humanities

Research Project

In the past twenty years, Mr. Zheng Shengtian has been working on several important research and exhibition projects, such as a contemporary Chinese artists archive, Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art; Chinese art in BC; the influence of Latin American Art on contemporary Chinese art; and Socialist Modernism, to name just a few. Several academic researchers including Julia Andrews (Ohio State University); Diane Freundl (Vancouver Art Gallery), Ma Nan (Chinese Academy of Fine Art), Juliane Noth (University of Hamburg), Dong Bingfeng (Beijing TaiKang Space), Claire Roberts (University of Melbourne) and myself have been involved in his research and curating works in different ways and have come to the conclusion that it is important and urgent to assist Mr. Zheng Shengtian to: 1) fully document and digitize his personal archive for a broader audience; 2) develop and promote his archive-based research projects, including through translation and publication; and 3) train young art history scholars in art documentation and research based on Zheng’s archive. This is the main purpose of our SSHRC Partnership Development Project.

The Zheng Shengtian Archive research project is significant for both the study of socialist art history as well as global art exchange, it will enhance scholarly collaboration between Canada, China and other countries; and will train SFU Humanities graduate students with essential skills via hands-on digital humanities work and specific research tasks. Making the sources/documents available to scholarly and artistic communities will greatly enhance research on contemporary Chinese art history, and raise DLC’s and SFU’s academic profile.

Transpacific Indigenous Articulations
Michael Hathaway, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Research Project

This project expands a DLC-supported research trip from two years ago, when I travelled to Hokkaido, Japan to interview the surviving Indigenous Ainu elders who travelled to China in the 1970s. This trip is part of my larger project called “Transpacific Indigenous Articulations” where I explore Indigenous-led efforts of transnational diplomacy, especially during the Cold War from 1968 to 1988. This project contributes to scholarship on the rise of global Indigenous rights and identity in two ways. First, most studies are focused on the Americas and Europe, as a Transatlantic engagement. Second, in turn, most of these studies look at the rise of an Indigenous presence in international institutions such as the United Nations. My project, on the other hand, reveals what was happening in the Transpacific. It takes a more grassroots approach, looking at a number of Indigenous-led trips, workshops and gatherings. I suggest that these were critical experiences in creating forms of global solidarity and exchange that turned “Indigenous peoples” from an idea into a political force and identity.

This work is important in two main ways. First, it contributes to growing scholarship on international Indigenous diplomacy. This project regards Indigenous peoples as active agents, explorers and diplomats, rather than the vast majority of accounts where they are framed as more passive victims of colonialism. These new narratives are important to help shift academic conversations as well as public conversations, to highlight Indigenous initiative and agency. Second, this is important to help shift the academic focus away from the Transatlantic that has tended to focus on Europe and institutional sites, such as the United Nations. My project, in contrast, explores the Transpacific and a diverse number of grassroots efforts. Groups across the ocean learned about each others’ situations and worked together to challenge the specific legacies of colonialism that each faced in Japan, Canada and New Zealand. Presently, there are almost no accounts of these travels in the scholarly literature, and I aim to make these histories widely available in publications and a public-facing website that documents these trips and their ongoing legacies.