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Current PhD Students

Sociology PhD Students

Abolfazl (Abu) Fakhri

Areas of study: diaspora, politics of remembrance, home and belonging, ethnography, migration in the Middle East

Abu entered the PhD program in Sociology in the Fall of 2019 after completing his MA in Anthropology at the University of Tehran. He did his BSc in Aerospace Engineering at Sharif University of Technology. His previous research was an ethnography on how young Hazaras, an ethnic community in Afghanistan and the majority of Iranian Afghans, remember a past from which they are geographically and generationally faraway. Hazaras have had a historical experience of violent discrimination in Afghanistan. As a diaspora, they now live in different places yet transnationally remember a shared origin and past. That being the case, his research dealt with the ways young Hazaras articulate their conceptions of identity and belonging once a neither-here-nor-there life is lived and wounded memory is remembered. For his PhD research, Abu intends to extend his research on place(s) and/of memory, and how a diaspora can politically aspire a future by remembering its traumatic past.

Supervisor: Lindsey Freeman

Abigail Franco Vazquez

Areas of study: social enterprise, island studies, sociology of labour, ethical capital

Abigail entered the PhD program in Sociology in the Fall of 2019. Abigail’s research is centred around ethical capital and social enterprise with an interest in the sociology of labour. Her previous research, via an internship, focused on youth engagement with marine resources in a project called “The Heart of Mother Earth,” where she became interested in continuing exploring the phenomenon of social enterprise. Her PhD draws on aspects of her master’s degree in Island Studies which centred around social enterprise and Islandness. Her MA offered an opportunity to better understand people’s experiences with social enterprise, and under what circumstances social enterprise affects the lives of those experiencing marginalization. Furthermore, it explored the effects that levels of inclusion of individuals within island societies have on their communities, and how social enterprise aids their members in improving their quality of life.

Supervisor: Kendra Strauss

Select Publications:

Heart of Mother Earth

Supporting Heritage Enterprise Development: the Island of Chiloe, Chile

Lisa Poole

Areas of study: social issues and movements; neoliberalism and citizenship; gender, sexuality, non-monogamy, and queer family relations; qualitative research design; and social theory (feminist, queer, trans theories)

Lisa entered the PhD program in Sociology in the Fall of 2011 after completing an MA in Sociology at the University of Victoria. For her master’s research she examined bisexual men’s identities, challenging the popular notion of bisexuality as fixed and binary. For her doctorate studies she is researching “poly politics” by exploring the sexual politics of polyamorous people in Canada through an analysis that is focused on sexual citizenship and equal rights. Committed to critical pedagogical practices, she is also engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Supervisor: Travers
Committee member: Michael Hathaway

Anthropology PhD Students

Linying Hu

Areas of study: psychiatric and psychological anthropology, gender and family, vulnerability, ethics in China

Linying entered the PhD program in Anthropology in the Fall of 2017. She holds an MA degree in Education from Shandong Normal University and a PhD in Ethics from Renmin University of China. She has joined the programs of public health ethics and research ethics in Harvard School of Public Health in 2004 and 2010. She had been teaching ethics and bioethics in Peking University Health Science Centre since 2003. She has been deeply involved in policy advocacy in fields of organ transplantation, mental health and medical professionalism in China. In her doctoral research, she engages the emotional, moral and cultural crisis and conflicts along the gender line through investigating current discourses on postpartum depression in contemporary China.

Supervisor: Jie Yang
Committee member: Cindy Patton

Madelyn Prevost

Areas of study: collective memory and community identity, memory sites, nostalgia, settler colonial museums, (in)visibility and representation

Madelyn entered the PhD program in Anthropology in the Fall of 2019 after completing her MA in the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. There, she conducted fieldwork at a Catholic HIV/AIDS organization. Using the theory of routinization, Madelyn found that the organization's staff and client memories of their charismatic period affected the expectations they had for the organization, their experiences of living with HIV, their daily work, and their interpretation of miracles. In her PhD, Madelyn intends to continue working on memory, identity, and health while studying settler colonial museums and the communities they live in along the St. Lawrence in Ontario. She seeks to complicate ideas of visibility around settler colonialism in Canada, analyze the ways identity is created and maintained in and out of the museums, and explore ideas around inheritance and nostalgia. 

Supervisor: Pamela Stern
Committee member: Dara Culhane

Bicram Rijal

Bicram entered the PhD program in Anthropology in the Fall of 2011. He is interested in understanding how the ideas of modernity, development, globalization, civility and citizenship figure into the everyday habits of defecation and sanitation in Nepal. His research deals with the changing ideas of the body and bodily habits and how they relate to the changing contexts of sanitation and beyond. In doing so, he will examine: how are sanitation and toilet programs perceived within and beyond Nepal’s national development programs? How have their focuses and priorities changed over time? How do the changes in everyday habits of defecation and sanitation relate to the notions of self, subjectivity, and personhood? He has received fellowships from Wenner-Gren Foundation (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14) and Open Society Foundations (2012-13).

Supervisor: Stacy Pigg
Committee member: Michael Hathaway

Yuan Wei

Areas of study: gender and sexuality, queer and transgender studies, medical anthropology

Yuan entered the PhD program in Anthropology in the Fall of 2016. He received his MA in Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and BA in International Politics at Fudan University. His doctoral research intends to delve into the medical practices around transsexualism and lived experience of gender variant people in post-socialist China. He is also enthusiastic about integrating social research with activism. Before entering SFU, he had worked in NGO development and gender equality for about two years.

Supervisor: Cindy Patton
Committee members: Helen Leung (GSWS) and Pamela Stern

Xiaowen Zhang

Xiaowen entered the PhD program in Anthropology in the Fall of 2021. 

Supervisor: Jie Yang

Jinglun Zhu

Jinglun entered the PhD program in Anthropology in the Fall of 2021. 

Co-Supervisors: Cindy Patton and Kendra Strauss