DLC Funded Research

SFU Researchers' Projects Funded by the DLC

SFU David Lam Centre (DLC) offers funding opportunities to continuing 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

Taiwan Studies Group's Speakers Series
Weiting Guo, Department of History

Speakers Series

The Taiwan Studies Group is a working group that brings together scholars and students who are interested in studying Taiwan through diverse methodological and disciplinary approaches. Aiming to enhance the understanding of Taiwan, TSG hosts a regular monthly series of brown bag lunch meetings for members and interested scholars to share ideas and experiences related to studying Taiwan. Scholars and students are invited to present their works in progress and share innovative ideas and newly- discovered sources. TSG also invites researchers, artists, and scientists to present in its Speaker Series to foster intellectual and scholarly conversations.

Digitalization of Chinese Grassroots Documents for the Global Scholarly Community
Jeremy Brown, Department of History

Research Project

Grassroots documents from flea markets and private vendors in China have been discarded by offices, work units, and archives in China because these places have determined that they are no longer worth keeping. According to China's archival law, the documents are no longer considered "archives" because they are not valuable enough to continue to store. For historians, however, they are a treasure trove, revealing how government and Communist Party officials at the lowest levels of the grassroots (city neighbourhoods, villages, and local police stations) interacted with ordinary citizens during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s

This project will involve graduate research assistants locating, cataloguing, adding metadata, digitizing, and transcribing every document from Jeremy Brown's personal collection that he has ever cited.

Asian Transmedia Storytelling in the Age of Digital Media
Dal Yong Jin, Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology


The conference, which is held in Vancouver on June 8-9 2018, attempts to investigate the recent surge of webtoons and manga/animation as the sources of transmedia storytelling. It discusses whether cultural products utilizing transmedia storytelling take a major role as the primary local cultural product in the Asian cultural market and potentially the North American market—the largest cultural market—in the 2010s. This conference historicizes the evolution of regional popular culture according to the surrounding digital media ecology, driving the change and continuity of the manhwa industry, now focusing on webtoons, over the past 15 years. Through the conference, the discussion of transmedia storytelling based on manga/animation and webtoon will shed light on the extension of the current debates on transmedia storytelling in the cultural industries.

Inter-Asia Beyond Asia Graduate and Early Career Researchers Workshop
Christine Kim, Department of English


This event is a day-long graduate student research and writing workshop held on September 9, 2018 that will be open to the public. During this workshop, students and early career researchers (ECR) will receive detailed feedback from local and international faculty mentors on their research. These faculty mentors have strong expertise with InterAAsia cultural studies, diaspora studies, postcolonial theory, and media studies. Seven graduate students at the M.A. and Ph.D. level will circulate drafts of their research before the workshop for faculty mentors and the other graduate students and ECR to read and comment on.

Processing Time, Accent, and Comprehensibility in the Perception of AudioDvisual Native and Foreign-Accented Speech
Murrary Munro, Department of Linguistics

Research Project

With increasing globalisation, immigration has become a major international issue. Despite the many advantages of the resulting multicultural societies, prejudice and discrimination against visible minorities remain important concerns. It is therefore useful to gain insights into how people communicate with, and develop attitudes towards each other, especially when those attitudes are prejudicial. In recent years, linguists have shown a growing interest in the relationship between speech and social processes, with more attention being given to how a speaker’s physical appearance can influence the perception, categorisation and mental representation of spoken language. Past research has already shown that language cannot be divorced from its social context. Indeed, numerous studies have provided ample evidence that manipulating linguistic features can influence the way a person is perceived, judged and socially categorised. Many of these studies have used the matched-guise technique, in which participants rate several voices on perceived personal qualities without being aware that some (or all) speech samples have in fact been produced by the same bilingual speaker.

Symposium on Research, Innovation and Best Practices in Person Centred Care for Older Adults with Dementia in British Columbia and Hong Kong
Habib Chaudhury, Department of Gerontology


This 2-day Knowledge Mobilization (KM) Symposium brings together a group of researchers, healthcare providers and policy makers from British Columbia and Hong Kong to highlight salient empirical research evidence and current key issues and challenges in implementing personAcentred dementia care in residential and acute care settings in these two regions. A critical and comparative look at the latest research, innovative personAcentred care practices, organizational policies, staffing models and resident/patient outcomes in BC and Hong Kong would provide a useful platform for cross national and cross cultural exchange, learning and adaptations.

Colonial Legal Structures around the Pacific Rim: Positioning Aboriginal Peoples in Japan, North America and Australia, 1868-1940
Andrea Geiger, Department of History

Research Project

This project examines ways in which Aboriginal people in Japan, Canada, the United States and Australia were positioned under the law during the late 19th and early 20th centuries including, in particular, Japan's attitudes to its indigenous people, the Ainu, as expressed in Japanese colonial law and policy between 1868 and 1940. Because MeijiAera Japanese policy pertaining to the Ainu was partly modeled on “federal Indian law” in the United States but also shares elements with that of both Canada and Australia, this project will compare these bodies of law and policy to identify parallels and contrasts in the ways that legal categories intended to limit the rights of indigenous peoples were deployed to further the colonial ends of each nation.

Transpacific Memories of the Long Sixties: An Oral History of Beng Huat Chua’s Canadian Years
Helen Leung, Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies

Research Project

This oral history project examines the tumultuous period of radicalism and resistance in Canada through the memories of Beng Huat Chua, one of Asia’s leading intellectuals and a renown scholar in comparative politics, urban planning, and cultural studies in Asia. He is also a coAfounder of the InterAAsia Cultural Studies society and journal and currently a Provost Chair Professor at the National University of Singapore. Before he began his scholarly career in Singapore, Chua spent two decades in Canada, first as a foreign student and later as a professor of sociology at Trent. During this time, he travelled (often hitch-hiking) across the country, meeting African-Canadian activist Rocky Jones in Halifax, witnessed Expo 67 in Montreal, and participated in the alternative education and co-operative living at Rochdale College in Toronto. While Chua’s scholarship on liberalism and communitarian politics in Singapore as well as on popular media and consumption in East Asia is well-known and oft-cited, his experiences during a pivotal period of Canadian history have never been documented.

Building an Interconnected Speech Error Database of Cantonese
John Alderete, Department of Linguistics

Research Project

The PI will this seed funding to develop existing digit assets in order to enhance understanding of the influence of word structure on natural speech in Cantonese. This research will support an Insight Grant application at SSHRC and help the PI extend his network of linguists and psycholinguists, and in doing so raise the profile of the David Lam Centre and the university.

The research builds on two projects on Cantonese, namely a digital dictionary and a database of speech errors in Cantonese natural speech. Speech errors, or slips of tongue, are a principal form of evidence for studying the mental life of speaking. The PI, together with Henny Yeung (SFU Linguistics), has already began using this dataset to investigate how the unique structures of Cantonese impact speech accuracy (journal article in second round of review with Cognition, a top-tier psycholinguistics journal). The existence of these two digital assets provides an opportunity to contribute to an extremely important issue in psycholinguistics, namely how lexical properties impact fine-grained speech articulation. In essence, the seed funds will be used to hire research assistants to connect information in the digital dictionary with the speech error database so that facts about specific words can be associated with speech errors that use these words. By connecting these two existing assets, the PI will be able to address questions about how higher level psycholinguistic processes like word-finding interact with lower-level processes, like the execution of a speech motor plan. This research takes place against a backdrop of an urgent problem in psycholinguistics, namely that the vast majority of psycholinguistic research has been on English and closely related languages, and under-studied languages have not been investigated, despite research showing that their unique properties affect language processing. The proposed research addresses this gap directly by creating the largest and most linguistically sophisticated data collection of speech errors in any Asian language.

"Imagining Taiwan, Understanding Taiwan", a Book Project
Shuyu Kong, Department of Humanities

Research Project

During my sabbatical leave in 2016/17, I was supported by a prestigious Taiwan Fellowship to carry out a 3-month fieldwork research project that investigated how media, arts and culture work as critical and creative forces in building a democratic and humanitarian society. I visited galleries, studios, media institutes, bookstores, and cultural cafes, and interviewed many Taiwanese artists, writers, scholars, journalists and publishers during that period. Based on these on-site interviews and personal observations, I have written a series of Chinese literary essays which integrate my academic work with creative writing. Some of these essays were published in different journals in mainland China and Taiwan last year (enclosed) and were intended for general audiences to better understand Taiwan’s unique cultural identity in the current geopolitical context of Greater China.

During my writing and subsequent publication of these essays, I came to realize that my research could appeal to a broader audience and have a higher impact on global Chinese communities if it were delivered in a more accessible book format, while maintaining a language style that bridges the gap between academic work and public knowledge/reading. In the context of the long term separation and mutual misunderstanding of people across the Taiwan Straits, the increasing risks of a return to totalitarianism in China, and the lack of public knowledge of contemporary Taiwan among mainland and overseas Chinese people, an unconventional hybrid research/creative writing format is likely to have much more social impact than a traditional scholarly work. So I plan to edit these essays into a publishable book using the reader-friendly form of literary essays (sanwen).

Entangled Spaces Self-Making: Gender/Sexuality-based Social Movements in Taiwan and China
Cindy Patton, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Research Project

This project uses the historiographical method of “entangled histories,” or histoire croisse, which has only recently emerged as a method for understand global flows that include East Asia. Combining an interest in very recent history and an ethnographic orientation to both persons and texts, this method looks for unexpected interconnections across space, without insistence on any particular symmetry of scale, as is required in some competing approaches to comparative history/culture. Using this method, one can entertain, and try to trace out, the interactions between micro-scale actors (specific people, who travel to specific places) and macro-scale actors (national and supra-national organizations), and take seriously the “impact” on and inter-relatedness of each to the other. Archival sources from all levels, as well as interviews and ethnographic inquiry can be integrated into the fabric of description of phenomenon (or cases) that exceed the space, scale, and even time boundaries that often force historical accounts into a linear narrative, or cultural accounts into unidirectional flows of influence.