Past Events

Celebrate the community launch of the Brief Chronology of Chinese Canadian History: From Segregation to Integration.


Chan/Zen Meditation Class

4:30–6:30 pm, Thursdays, Septebmer 29–December 15, 2011
SFU at Harbour Centre,
515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver.

With the support of two experienced teachers of Chan / Zen meditation a new group is forming for the purpose of weekly sitting meditation practice.

There is no charge to participate and beginners are welcome. Participation is open to SFU faculty, staff and students.

Once the group is established it is hoped that sessions can also be convened for the purpose of studying contemplative texts and discussing the process of cultivation.

For detail information about the Contemplative Practice Group, please visit this site.

Please reserve your seat online for each session at:
• September 29 - Room 1510 (online reservation closed)
• October 6 - Room 2205 (online reservation closed)
• October 13 - Room 1500 (online reservation closed)
• October 20 - Room 1510 (online reservation closed)
• October 27 - Room 1510 (online reservation closed)
• November 10 - Room 2200 (online reservation closed)
• November 17 - Room 2205 (online reservation closed)
• November 24 - Room 2205 (online reservation closed)
• December 1 - Room 1425 (online reservation closed)
• December 8 - Room 2510 (online reservation closed)
• December 15 - Room 2510 (online reservation closed)

DocuAsia Forum 2011: "Seeking a Sustainable Future"

The David Lam Centre is pleased to be working with Cinevolution Media Arts Society for a third year in bringing the DocuAsia Forum to SFU and Richmond.

The immediacy of well-crafted documentary film can be a powerful means for stimulating thought and discussion around pressing social, political, and economic and ecological challenges. Visual arts are often an ideal means for intercultural communication making it possible to discuss subjects that affect us all. The David Lam Centre's mandate, over more than two decades, has been to create opportunities for people of varying cultural backgrounds to enter into conversation. The DocuAsia Forum provides just such an opportunity.

This year we are pleased to welcome SFU's Institute for the Humanities as a co-SFU sponsor of DocuAsia. The Institute, founded in 1983, seeks to facilitate the development of attitudes that lead toward active engagement in society. In taking such a role, the Institute hopes to contribute reflective, contemplative, and critical public points of view on the conflicts and contentious issues of our time.

DocuAsia 2011 will screen two films that raise fundamental questions about the sustainability of our current civilizational trajectory: consumerism, unbridled development, infinite economic expansion with finite resources and the ecological ruin that accompany them.

Vancouver Screening

Ashes to Honey: Seeking a Sustainable Future
Hitomi Kamanaka / Japan / 2010 / 116 min / Japanese w/ English narration

July 16, 2011, 3-6 pm
Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre

Room 1800, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Ashes to Honey (2010), directed by Hitomi Kamanaka, looks at a struggle: On one side is a major Japanese electrical corporation following government directives to expand nuclear power generation as a means to lower carbon emissions while meeting the vast need for electrical power. On the other side is a small community on Iwaishima Island, in the midst of a bountiful inland sea. The cultural roots of the island are ancient and it's people do not view the building of a nuclear power plant and the filling in of their bay as progress but as an ecological, cultural and human tragedy. They have steadfastly opposed the government and the electrical corporation for twenty-eight years. Kamanaka has not created an "anti-nuke" film; she has produced a subtle and moving meditation on two profoundly differing views of life and the value of the earth we inhabit.

Guest Speakers

Dr. Timothy Takaro (BS, Biology Yale College, MD/MPH, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, MSc, Toxicology, U. Washington)

Dr. Takaro is Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of health Sciences at SFU. He is a physician-scientist whose work is directed primarily toward determining if linkages exist between occupational or environmental exposures and disease and finding public health based preventive solutions where such hazards exist. His practice includes nuclear weapons workers with beryllium and other pulmonary exposures, and children and adults with asthma and other chemically related illness. Additional interests include health effects of climate change, impacts of globalization on occupational and environmental health, biological effects of low-level radiation and mutagenic effects of pesticides.

Shing02 alias Vector Omega (director of soundtrack of Ashes to Honey)

Filmmaker & Musician Shing02 is a MC activist, rapper-songwriter, producer, peace advocate. As the director of the soundtrack of Ashes to Honey, he has been passionately and actively involved in the anti-nuclear energy movement. Born in Tokyo 1975, raised in Tanzania, England, and Japan, Shing02 landed in California at the age of 15, and soon thereafter got involved in creating art, which was the first love. After a move to Berkeley for schooling he became immersed in the local scene which also nurtured dozens of creative hiphop acts. Eventually in '96, Shing02′s music made its way back to Japan, partnered with Mr. Higo of Mary Joy Recordings, garnering tremendous support in his homeland. Currently touring in support of new Japanese album "Y-Kyoku", he's envisioning new music as member of Kosmic Renaissance trio and the inventor of the Vestax Faderboard.

Richmond Screening

Dragon Boat
Cao Dan / China / 2009 / 84 min / Cantonese w/ English and Chinese subtitles

Sunday, July 17, 7 pm
Performance Hall, Richmond Cultural Centre (7700 Minoru Gate)

Dragon Boat (2009), directed by Cao Dan looks at the yearly ritual of the Dragon Boat race in Lianxi village near Guangzhou. The villagers were relocated from their ancestral home, which was then transformed into a folk culture resort for the benefit of tourists who might wish to see genuine "folk culture" preserved in a museum. The villagers are allowed to preserve the head and tail of their Dragon Boat in their ancestral hall so that they can continue their tradition. Every year the villagers return to their home to perform the Dragon Boat rite in honour of the hero Qu Yuan, who as a poet in exile who drowned himself more than two thousand years ago, adds a twist of irony to this film.

The Root of Sorrow

Root of SorrowDr. Ashutosh Kalsi
7–8:30 pm, Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Room 7000, SFU at Harbour Centre, 515 Hastings Street, Vancouver
Free and Open to the Public.

The question of sorrow lies at the very heart of Indian religious and philosophical inquiry. In Indian tradition it is believed that sorrow is a common condition to the whole of humanity. No single word satisfactorily translates the meaning of original Pali word dukkha, which is roughly translated as sorrow. In Buddhism dukkha is described as a state of unsatisfactoriness or inward emptiness, but the word can include whole array of human emotions like fear, insecurity, anxiety, loneliness, stress, boredom, frustration, and so on. This can be expanded to include not only the psychological condition of human beings but also the larger problems troubling the world like personal and global conflicts, social and environmental problems, and so on. It reflects a state of general human disorder.

In this lecture Dr. Kalsi will examine the root cause of human sorrow. This is to be followed by an inquiry on ending sorrow. The approach will be based purely on inquiry & understanding, without reliance on any tradition, system or practice, Eastern or Western. The clarity itself will reveal the solution to the problem.

About the Speaker
Dr. Ashutosh Kalsi, a graduate from the premier Indian Institute of Technology, was head of Engineering of U.S. based software multinational. He later left his lucrative job to pursue a Ph.D. in philosophy from State University of New York. Awakened by a deep sensitivity towards human suffering, Dr. Kalsi spent many years inquiring into the problem of human sorrow. He travelled extensively in India and sought company of many scholars, sages and pundits. He studied in Varanasi close to Sarnath, a place where Buddha gave his first sermon. He later came to United States where he studied Western and Asian thought. A serious student of Buddha and the 20th century thinker J. Krishnamurti, Dr. Kalsi himself belongs to no tradition. He believes that the answers to the human problems lie not within but outside all traditional thinking, Eastern or Western.

The speaker can be contacted at

Chinese Gardens: Transitions across Time and Cultures

ChineseGardensFriday, May 20, 2011 | 8:30am–7pm
Segal Graduate School of Business
Simon Fraser University
Rm. 1200, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver

This conference is part of the community celebrations honouring the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden and its supporters on the occasion of its twenty-fifth anniversary. This was the first Ming scholar's garden constructed outside China and has become a valued hub for intercultural activity encompassing visual arts, music, calligraphy, and lectures on Chinese culture in the heart of Vancouver's Chinatown.

Since the founding of Sun Yat Sen Garden, several other cities including Montréal in Canada, Zürich in Switzerland, Portland, Seattle, New York, and San Marino in the United States, and Sydney and Bendigo in Australia have integrated Chinese gardens into their urban landscapes. A growing body of expertise has developed around the construction, maintenance, management and development of these gardens and a growing number of people outside China have been fortunate to walk through these tranquil spaces.

This conference has three purposes:

1. To reflect upon some of the cultural roots that led to the development and shaping of gardens in China.

2. To bring together managers and directors of gardens, gardeners, landscapers, architects, and scholars of Asian culture, to exchange ideas and deepen our understanding of these all too rare spaces.

3. To welcome members of the wider non-academic community who support the continuing growth and development of Chinese gardens and wish to join the conversation and efforts to educate more people about the value of these peaceful urban oases in which intercultural understanding and dialogue can occur.

The David Lam Centre at SFU has a mandate to encourage intercultural communication and to reach out beyond the university to stimulate dialogue around subjects of broad community interest. This event will do both and the format is such that there are fewer speakers and ample time for discussion; it is hoped that everyone will feel welcome to join the conversation and meet new friends with common interests and knowledge to share.

The Way of the Bachelor

A lecture and reading by Alison R. Marshall, Department of Religion, Brandon University

Wednesday, April 6, 7–8:30 pm
Room 7000, SFU Vancouver
515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
(entrance at the corner of Cambie and Cordova)
Free and Open to the Public

"The Way of the Bachelor is a beautiful, deeply moving portrait of the lived experience of Chinese immigrants in Manitoba. Through carefully nuanced historical and ethnographic analyses, Marshall explores the everyday practices and rituals through which these immigrants defined and transformed their relationships to each other and their community. Her book opens up a host of new perspectives on Chinese religions in practice and on the immigrant experience."

— Michael Puett, author of To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self-Divinization in Early China

"The Way of the Bachelor enriches our understanding of the Chinese immigrant experience by drawing attention to the life of these new Canadians outside of coastal areas or large urban centres. The harsh environment of the prairies and the paucity of population provided a unique social context for Chinese immigrants. Marshall provides an intimate and moving portrayal of the lives of these individuals, drawing on local newspapers, interviews, and various archival materials. Her book will be appreciated by scholars, while being very accessible to students and the general readers."

— Paul Crowe, Director, David Lam Centre, Simon Fraser University

The lives of early Japanese and Chinese settlers in British Columbia have come to define the Asian experience in Canada. Yet many men travelled beyond British Columbia to settle in small Prairie towns and cities. Chinese bachelors opened the region's first laundries and Chinese cafe. They maintained ties to the Old World and negotiated a place in the new by fostering a vibrant homosocial culture based on friendship, everyday religious practices, the example of Sun Yat-sen, and the sharing of food. This exploration of the intersection of gender and migration in rural Canada, in particular, offers new takes on the Chinese quest for identity in North America, in general. With a preface by the Honourable Inky Mark, former Member of Parliament for Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette.

Alison R. Marshall is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at Brandon University. Marshall's current SSHRC funded research examines overseas Chinese religious encounters and early prairie settlements. Her aim is to create a more complicated history of Chinese Canadian life by collecting and preserving oral histories, photographs and documents. Dr. Marshall is also a board member of the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre. Recent scholarly works include "Everyday Religion and Identity in a Western Manitoban Chinese Community: Christianity, The KMT, Foodways and Related Events." The Journal of the American Academy of Religion 77.3 (September 2009) and The Way of the Bachelor: Early Chinese Settlement in Manitoba (UBC press, 2011). She is currently writing a book on Diaspora Confucianism from 1911 to 1949 in Manitoba and Saskatchewan that examines Chinese Canadian masculinity, as well as Christian and political involvements.


Twenty Years of Underground and Independent Filmmaking in China: New Technologies, New Controversies,
New Audiences

7–9 pm, Friday, March 11, 2011
Room 3200, SFU Woodward's
149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
(entrance at the corner of Cambie and Cordova)
Free and Open to the Public

Paul G. Pickowicz will screen rare underground Chinese film clips at his lecture, "Twenty Years of Underground and Independent Filmmaking in China: New Technologies, New Controversies, New Audiences." Underground and independent filmmakers in China tend to tackle the sorts of social and cultural problems that state-sector filmmakers will not touch. Their work cannot be seen in state-controlled venues, including television and main-stream movie theaters, but is widely accessible on the internet, at private screenings, and in DVD shops. Some of their work is gut-wrenching and confrontational; some of it is downright funny. Some is self-indulgent; some amounts to social protest. Subject matter includes the AIDS epidemic, identities in flux, human trafficking, official corruption, sexuality, and the recovery of "lost" histories.

Paul G. Pickowicz is Distinguished Professor and UC San Diego Endowed Chair in Modern Chinese History at the University of California, San Diego. His recent publications include From Underground to Independent: Alternative Film Culture in Contemporary China and Dilemmas of Victory: The Early Years of the People's Republic of China.

Cover of Humans, Beasts, and Ghosts of Modern China

Humans, Beasts, and Ghosts of Modern China: The Comedic Vision of Qian Zhongshu

A lecture and reading from a new translation by Dr. Christopher G. Rea, Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Literature, UBC

7 pm, Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Room 1425, SFU at Harbour Centre,
515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver.
Free and Open to the Public

Was life in twentieth-century China humane, bestial, or ghoulish? And why was modern Chinese existence so often talked about in terms of the human versus the sub-human?

When the Communists won the Civil War in 1949, they promised that New China would be a more humane, and thus more "human," society. As the 1950 state-sponsored film The White-Haired Girl famously put it: "The Old Society forced humans to become ghosts, while the New Society turns ghosts back into humans." As it turned out, successive political campaigns discovered no shortage of "ox demons and snake spirits" and, during the Cultural Revolution, confined many intellectuals in so-called "cow sheds."

One of those intellectuals was Qian Zhongshu, whose brilliant career as a creative writer was confined mostly to one of modern China's darkest periods: the War of Resistance (1937–1945). Surprisingly, however, despite suffering his share of wartime hardships, Qian produced a body of work that was unremittingly witty, satirical, and comedic. Come hear UBC professor Christopher Rea read from a new translation of Qian's early works and talk about why Qian's wartime insights about China's humans, beasts, and ghosts remain prescient and entertaining today.

About Qian Zhongshu:
Qian Zhongshu 錢鍾書 (1910–1998) was one of twentieth-century China's most ingenious literary stylists, one whose insights into the ironies and travesties of modern China remain stunningly fresh. Between the early years of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and the Communist takeover in 1949, Qian wrote a brilliant series of short stories, essays, and a comedic novel that continue to inspire generations of Chinese readers. Hailed as twentieth-century China's "foremost man of letters," Qian is best known for his novel, Fortress Besieged, and his groundbreaking study of the Chinese literary canon, Limited Views: Essays on Ideas and Letters.

About Christopher Rea:
Christopher Rea Christopher G. Rea, assistant professor of modern Chinese literature at the University of British Columbia, is the editor and lead translator of Humans, Beasts, and Ghosts: Stories and Essays, by Qian Zhongshu (Columbia, 2011).




Global staffing: The many faces of the expatriation process in multinational companies in the Asia Pacific

2–3:30 pm, Friday, February 18, 2011
Room 2270, SFU at Harbour Centre,
515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver.
Free and Open to the Public
Watch the video recording of this event.

Global stafng as a managed process has a number of challenges and opportunities. This presentation will review the literature to date on decisions and functions related to managerial stafng decisions in multinational companies with an emphasis on those operating in and with home bases in the Asia Pacic region. In the focal study managerial functions valued by expatriate and reasons for appointing host country managers were examined in an exploratory, multi-method (interview and questionnaire) study with expatriates and local managers as the respondents. Based on theoretical perspectives of agency theory, transaction costs theory, resource-based views, and organizational learning theory agency theory changes in the valuation of these functions were hypothesized and examined for subsidiary age and nationality of the respondent. Expatriate and local managers' views supported previous research on certain management functions but differed on others (e.g. management development). The data indicated curvilinear relationships in stafng decisions (which have also been found in other studies) for a number of managerial functions between nationality of top manager and age of the subsidiary. Strategic factors were analyzed by subsidiary age and nationality of the respondent manager to understand more about maturity of host company operations and strategic orientations. The results indicated the growth in the strategic functions of technological leadership and market development/branding in older subsidiaries. Implications of these and other related study results and suggestions for future studies will be examined.

Dr. Sue Bruning is a Professor in the I.H. Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. In her years at the U of M she has served as the Director of the Ph.D.program and as the Department Head of the Department of Business Administration from July 2000 through June, 2005. During 2006 she served as the Canadian Studies Scholar at University of Trier, Trier, Germany, and in 2010 as a Visiting Professor at Kobe University in the Research in Economics and International Business (REIB) Institute. She has served as the President, Conference Chair for 2002 and VP of Membership for the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC) and as President of the International Scholarly Associations of Management (IFSAM). Dr. Bruning's research interests include work on high performance human resource practices, international human resource management, expatriate adjustment, diversity, workplace aggression and justice issues in organizations. Her current research is funded by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Worker's Compensation Board of Manitoba. Dr. Bruning has received rewards for her teaching, research and service activities. She has published a textbook in Organizational Behaviour and a number of academic and practitioner articles that have appeared in journals such as the International Journal of Human Resource Management, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Human Resource Planning, Journal of Management and others. She has taught courses or a visiting basis in a number of countries including Finland, Switzerland, Germany, China, Australia, Singapore, South Africa and Tanzania.

Press Reception: An Announcement of a Major Chinese Canadian History Project

10:30–11:30 am, Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Room 1430, SFU at Harbour Centre,
515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver.
* Press conference will start at 10:30 am promptly *

This by invitation only event is a press reception for the announcement of a major Chinese Canadian history project, sponsored and supported by prominent Chinese Canadian foundations and UBC's Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP).

Speakers and attendees include representatives from government, local Chinese Canadian community, private sector, and academia.

Ancestral Leaves: A Family Journey through Chinese History

7–8:30 pm, Monday, February 7, 2011
Room 1400, SFU at Harbour Centre,
515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver.
Free and Open to the Public

Watch the video recording of this event.

Joseph W. Esherick will speak about and read excerpts from his new book, Ancestral Leaves: A Family Journey through Chinese History. Ancestral Leaves follows one family through six hundred years of Chinese history from the fourteenth century through the Cultural Revolution. The lives of the Ye family—"Ye" means "leaf" in Chinese—reveal the human side of the large-scale events that shaped modern China: the vast and destructive rebellions of the nineteenth century, the economic growth and social transformation of the republican era, the Japanese invasion during World War II, and the Cultural Revolution under the Chinese Communists.

Joseph W. Esherick is Distinguished Professor and Hsiu Chair in Chinese Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of The Origins of the Boxer Uprising and co-editor of The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History, among many books.