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

South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN)
Robert Anderson, School of Communication


SACPAN is an annual conference held at one of the following universities; UBC, University of Washington, University of Oregon, University of Victoria, and SFU. It was last staged (by me and John Harris of the School of International Studies, and others) in 2013. The specific topics of the roundtables are chosen in consultation with other faculties and graduate students, some of whom want to stage panels on specific topics. The working title for SACPAN 2020 is “Blind-spots, Frontiers, and Gaps in South Asia” will take place on February 28 and 29, 2020.

Making Chinese Grassroots Documents Available to the Global Scholarly Community, Phase 2
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.

Graduate research assistantships of this project will make more grassroots Chinese history documents available to the scholarly community. Phase two consists of two parts: redaction of private information from documents to be uploaded to the PRC History Transparency Project website, and the addition of the Chen Xiuliang-Sha Wenhan Collection to the Grassroots Chinese History Archive database. These specific parts aim to achieve the following goals:
- Raise the DLC's profile by publicly highlighting DLC support on two prominent websites, one already published and the other to be published in 2020-2021.
- Provide financial support to SFU graduate students via hands-on digital humanities training in collaboration with the the SFU Library's Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL).
- Pursue social responsibility by protecting the privacy of individuals whose names appear in the documents.
- Enhance scholarly collaboration between Canada and China by working with Chen Xiuliang to make her family archive publicly available on the internet.

Inter-Asian Indigenous Diplomacy in the Cold War
Michael Hathaway, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Research Project

My research trip to Japan will have several benefits for the DLC, SFU, my academic career and my graduate students. First, I aim to establish a formal collaboration between the DLC and the Centre for Ainu and Indigenous Studies at Hokkaido University --- in December, I met the leaders of this centre and will host them again in March. Second, I will spend 15 days in Hokkaido, where I will present a paper and conduct a number of interviews to expand and deepen my research. My project explores how, during the 1970s to 1990s, indigenous Ainu used repeated engagements with China to build new indigenous futures. Third, I will spend 3 days in Tokyo to present this paper, discuss future collaborations for myself and my graduate students, and lay the groundwork for an MOU with SFU. This trip will also provide the basis for two peer-reviewed articles and a SSHRC Insight Grant application.

While in Hokkaido, I will carry out further research on a series of Ainu trips to China. I co-authored a paper with Dr. Harrison from the Asia Pacific Foundation on this topic that we presented at the University of Toronto. I will present an updated version at the world’s main centre for Ainu studies at Hokkaido University. This is part of the little-known "Red Power" movement in the Asia Pacific; almost nothing has been published about these events in English, Chinese or Japanese. We are currently working on two articles, one for the Journal of Global History and one for Comparative Studies in Society and History, but need additional oral histories and archival material only available in Hokkaido.

I am eager to gain feedback and advice from members of the Centre for Ainu and Indigenous Studies, and then carry out two weeks of interviews with some of the surviving elders from these trips to China. Dr. Harrison and I have contacted the few scholars knowledgeable about these events, and I will visit them with a translator in Sapporo or Nibutani.

A June visit will be excellent timing as my research and networking will be facilitated by the presence of SFU’s Dr. George Nicholas. He has twenty five years of collaboration with Ainu communities and Hokkaido faculty, and will introduce me to some of the top scholars at Hokkaido and some of the key Ainu activists. Such a relation will benefit SFU as we have a growing number of scholars on Asian indigeneity, and I've organized two meetings attended by Andrea Geiger, Scott Harrison, Jen Spear and George Nicholas.

Childhood Memoirs Database – Japanese Materials Stage
Melek Ortabasi, Department of World Languages and Literatures

Research Project

The perspective o fchildren themselves is often missing from historical studies of childhood. Childhood memoir, a well-established genre of world literature , is a valuable resource for addressing this absence . Emerging in the 19th century as a reaction to rising scientific and cultural interest in the child, childhood memoir quickly became a transnationally popular genre that still retains its popularity today. Replete with careful reconstructions of places, people, and experiences, as well as recollections of the younger self’s affective and developmental responses to that environment, these remembrances of things past are also records of a larger historical, cultural, and social moment.

This original digital humanities project seeks to tap into the rich cultural, social, and biographical data these understudied texts can offer on the reading cultures of children and youth between 1870 and 1930 in Japan, US, and Germany. By building a cross-cultural, multilingual corpus of significant examples in the genre, the researcher will  be able to examine an emerging cultural attachment to childhood reading as it was experienced by children in modernizing societies across the globe.

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.

"Asian A/sexualities in Conversation" Panel at the "Unthinking Sex, Imagining Asexuality: Intersectional and Interdisciplinary Perspectives" Conference
Helen Hok-Sze Leung, Department of Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies


This panel will explore asexualities and desexualization across Asia and the diaspora, with a particular focus on asexuality in China and in relation to Filipinx identity. Panelists will explore the intersections of racialization, gender, and a/sexuality to consider the ways in which different Asian communities and identities articulate forms of and experience of low sexual desire, desexualization, and compulsory sexuality. This panel aims to take a transnational approach to thinking asexuality in Asian and Asian American contexts.

Pre-conference: North Korea and Communication at the International Communication Association
Dal Yong Jin, Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology


North Korea has been an under-explored area in communication research. Limitations on movement and communication, as well as physical isolation of the country in the global arena, has made it difficult for scholars to produce meaningful research about North Korea. In recent years, however, there have been major developments in the communication infrastructure, with the introduction of cellular phones to the general public, resulting in over 70% of Pyongyang citizens having access. Foreign correspondents from the US, Europe and South Korea have been allowed to set up permanent foreign bureaus. In 2018, the North Korean leader has engaged in fast-paced diplomacy with the US, South Korea and China. Taken together, these changes are leading to a new era in communication about, within and around North Korea.

Considering the historical and geopolitical significance of such developments, it is therefore crucial for scholars to pursue theoretically and methodologically sound research on North Korea. This one-day ICA preconference, supported by the Political Communication and Journalism Studies divisions at the ICA, aims to bring together leading and emerging scholars around the world to register this shift and examine causes, components and civic consequences of a uniquely isolated – but rapidly changing – country.

The pre-conference also aims to bring scholars together with practitioners including diplomats, journalists, policy makers and those from international organizations, NGOs, and business sectors for constructive dialogue. We encourage submissions from scholars from other disciplines such as political science, international relations, sociology and East Asian studies. Discussions are currently underway to publish presented works in a journal or edited volume.

"Indigenous" Psychology and Mental Health in China
Jie Yang, Department of Sociology and Anthropology


This workshop examines the development of “Indigenous” psychology in China especially since 2013 when China’s first Mental Health Law was implemented. This law emphasizes psychiatric hospital care based on Western biomedicine as the only legitimate mental health care system in China. It is thus timely and important to examine the effects of this legislation on local, communal, and indigenous Chinese healing resources.

The workshop treats indigenous psychology (IP) as an intellectual movement across the globe to resist the hegemony of Western psychology in representation of the human mind, and in investigation of local mentality (Sundararajan 2016). IP consists of two major components: adapting theory and method from the West and drawing on traditional resources from the local culture (including literature, history, and philosophy) for hypothesis testing and theory construction. This workshop addresses both dimensions of IP by examining how Chinese psychologists seek parallel and cross-pollination between Western psychology and Chinese cultural traditions including Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and socialist legacy. It also considers Chinese people’s everyday practices of coping with distress based on understandings interconnected with the environment in which they live.

The papers presented at this workshop will be published in an edited volume.