Kirsten McAllister


T: 778-782-6917
Room: K9660

Kirsten E. McAllister is a Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. Her research and teaching focus on political violence, racism, migration and diaspora and her approach is interdisciplinary, drawing on Memory Studies, Visual Studies, Ethnography, Critical Race Studies and Indigenous Studies. She draws on methodologies from Art History and Ethnography, as well as creative practices from Literary Studies and Autoethnography. She has conducted community-based research projects in national and transnational contexts. In Canada has examined WWII Japanese Canadian internment camps, focusing on memorials, photographic records, oral accounts, archival documents and other media of memory produced by members of the community. In a transnational context she has researched community-based art and asylum seekers as well as contemporary Asian Canadian artists who explore different sites of memory regarding war, military occupation, colonialism and environmental disaster. Her publications include Photography Acts: Locating Memory (2006 with Annette Kuhn); Terrain of Memory: a Japanese Canadian Memorial Project (2010); The Geography of Asylum: Art Activism and the City of Glasgow (under contract with Palgrave-MacMillan); and she is currently completing a co-edited collection of essays with Mona Oikawa and Roy Miki entitled, “After Redress: Indigenous and Japanese Canadian Cultural Politics”.


  • S.S.H.R.C. Postdoctoral Fellowship, Lancaster University, England
  • Ph.D. (Sociology) Carleton University, Canada
  • M.A. (Communication) Simon Fraser University, Canada
  • B.A. (Geography) Simon Fraser University, Canada

currently teaching


Future courses may be subject to change.

recent courses


  • CMNS 855 The Media of Memory: Political Violence
  • CMNS 848 Global Justice and Communication
  • CMNS 424 Colonialism, Culture and Identity
  • CMNS 423 Globalization and Cultural Issues: from Diaspora to Refugees
  • CMNS 386 Photography and Reality



  • McAllister, Kirsten (under contract with Palgrave-MacMillan) The Geography of Asylum: Art Activism and the City of Glasgow (300 pages).
  • McAllister, Kirsten, Mona Oikawa and Roy Miki (eds.) (in progress) “After Redress: Indigenous and Japanese Canadian Cultural Politics”.
  • McAllister, Kirsten, Daniel Ahadi and Ayaka Yoshimizu (eds.) (development stage) “Migration and Communication Studies: Questions of Fieldwork, Cultural Politics and Voice” (tentative title).
  • McAllister, Kirsten (2010) Terrain of Memory: A Japanese Canadian Memorial Project: University of British Columbia Press.
  • Kuhn, Annette and Kirsten McAllister (eds) (2006) Locating Memory: Photographic Acts. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books.

A Selection of Articles, Book Chapters and Creative Essays

  • Hirji, Faiza, Yasmin Jiwani and Kirsten McAllister (in press) “On the Margins of the Margins: #CommunicationSoWhite in Canada”, Communication, Culture and Critique, Special Issue, “#CommunicationSoWhite”, Eve Ng, Khadijah Costley White and Anamik Saha, (eds.), 14 pages
  • McAllister, Kirsten (2019) “Transpacific Worlds: Spirit, Progress, Annihilation” in Makiko Hara and Cindy Mochizuki (eds.) K is for Kayashima, Artspeak, pp. 15-26
  • McAllister, Kirsten (2018) “Family Photography and Persecuted Communities: Methodological Challenges”, Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue Canadienne de Sociologie, 55:2, Special Issue, “Visual Sociologies/Visual methodologies”, Andrea Doucet (ed.), pp. 166-185.
  • McAllister, Kirsten (2017) “Science, Race and the Alchemy of Love in Postwar British Columbia”, BC Studies 195, pp. 109-112.
  • McAllister, Kirsten (2015) “Extraterritorial Spaces of Exclusion: Art, Asylum Seekers and Spatial Practices in the City of Glasgow” Visual Studies, 30:3, pp. 244–263.
  • McAllister, Kirsten (2013) “Du témoignage oculaire au témoignage comme acte: La photographie, les demandeurs d’asile et l’exposition ‘Life After Iraq’”/ “From Eyewitness to Bearing Witness: Photography, Asylum Seekers and ‘Life After Iraq’” in Suzanne Paquet (ed.) Errances photographiques: Mobilités et Intermédialité, Les Presse de L’ Université de Montréal, pp. 101-140.
  • McAllister, Kirsten Emiko (2011) “Memoryscapes of Postwar British Columbia: A Look of Recognition”, in Cultivating Canada: Cultivating Canada Through the Lens of Cultural Diversity, Aboriginal Healing Foundation, Volume III, Ashok Mathur, Jonathan Dewar, and Mike DeGagné (eds.), Ottawa. Aboriginal Healing Foundation, pp. 419-444.
  • McAllister, Kirsten (2011) “Asylum in the Home Territories: Crossing the Zones of Desire”, Space and Culture 14:2, pp. 165-182.
  • McAllister, Kirsten (ed.) (2011) Special Issue: Transnational Publics: Asylum and the Arts In Glasgow, West Coast Line 68
  • McAllister, Kirsten Emiko (2010) “Archival Memories” in James Opp and John Walsh (eds.) Remembering Place, Vancouver: UBC Press, pp. 214-246.
  • McAllister, Kirsten and Roy Miki (2008) “‘Always Slippage’: an Interview on a Collage/Poem in Process”, West Coast Line, 57, Special Issue, “Roy Miki”, Fred Wah (ed.), pp. 149-160.

conferences and public lectures

  • McAllister, Kirsten. Co-organized a roundtable on Migration, the Politics of Fieldwork and Questioning Communication Studies with Daniel Ahadi (SFU) and Ayaka Yoshimizu. The roundtable is part of a book project on migration and communication studies and fieldwork methodologies.
  • McAllister, Kirsten, Canadian Communication Association conference. Co-organized three panels on the theme of #CommunicationSoWhite: Canadian Style with Yasmin Jiwani (Concordia) and Faiza Hirji (McMaster) with BIPOC colleagues across Canada. Conference. The panel papers are the basis for a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Communication. June 2021.
  • McAllister, Kirsten. Presented on a panel for the nation-wide Scholarstrike Canada’s “Anti-Asian Racism Undone” 2-day symposium. Conference. May 2021.
  • McAllister, Kirsten, “Western Photojournalism, Refugees: A Critique of Empathy and Hyperrealism”, Invited Paper, “A Roundtable on Transcultural Solidarities across Global Divides: Histories, Institutions and Agencies”, School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China October 2019.
  • McAllister, Kirsten, “Memoryscapes and the Politics of Remembering Across Borders of Time and Territory”, Invited Lecture for Brandon Shimoda’s Artist Residency at the Bruna Archives, Bellingham, USA, August 4, 2019.
  • McAllister, Kirsten, “Writing Against the Structures of Whiteness in Communication Studies: the Silencing of Racialized Subjectivities in the Disciplinary Space of Academic Texts” #CommunicationsoWhite Preconference (co-organized the panel with Yasmin Jiwani and Faiza Hirji) International Association of Communication, Washington, D.C., USA, May 24, 2019.
  • McAllister, Kirsten, “Transpacific Memories of Post-war Yokohama: the Japanese Canadian Experimental Art of Cindy Mochizuki”, Invited Lecture, School of Intercultural Communication, Rikkyo University, Tokyo, April 2016.
  • McAllister, Kirsten, “From National To Transpacific Memoryscape: The Experimental Art of Jin-me Yoon”, Invited Lecture for The Research Unit on Public Culture, University of Melbourne, March 16, 2016.
  • McAllister, Kirsten, “Moving Beyond the Extraterritorial Spaces of WWII Internment Camps: Searching the Archive for Trans-pacific Voices of Longing and Belonging”, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Surabaya, Indonesia, August 2015.



  • Social Science and Humanities Research Insight Grant, “Transpacific Memories: Moving from the Trauma of Canada’s National Past to the Transnational Present, 2013-2016.
  • National Association of Japanese Canadians, Winnipeg, Funding for “Tracing the Lines: Tracing the Lines: A Symposium on Contemporary Poetics and Cultural Politics to Honour Roy Miki”, 2008.
  • Social Science and Humanities Research Standard Grant, “Public Discourses of Fear and Containment: Refugees in Canada and Scotland”, 2006-2010.
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Post-doctoral Fellowship, Institute for Cultural Research, Lancaster University, United Kingdom, “Re-presentations of Everyday Life in Internment Camps:  Hostile Environments or Familiar Landscapes?”, 2000-2002.


  • Visual Studies 
  • Cultural Memory
  • Political violence and Racism
  • Photography, memorials, community-based art, contemporary art
  • Community-based research, ethnographic fieldwork, visual analysis
  • Asylum Seekers, Refugees, Diaspora and Migration
  • Settler-Indigenous Relations
  • Japanese Canadian and Asian Canadian Cultural Politics