HELEN LEUNG (she/her)

Professor & Chair

AQ 5104A
Personal website 
Google Scholar

Born and raised in Hong Kong during the 1970s, I left home at age 16 to study at the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales, where I spent my most formative years with classmates who came from all over the world. As an undergraduate student at Oxford during the 1980s, I heard Terry Eagleton lecture on marxism and discovered Gayatri Spivak’s postcolonial writing in the library. Attending graduate school in Madison-Wisconsin during the 1990s, I encountered feminism as much in Nancy Fraser’s critique of Foucault as in Nawal El Saadawi’s fiction and activism, while learning that queer theory mattered but so did Queer Nation marches and ACT UP protests. Grounded in this rich and varied intellectual foundation, I pursued my first major research project on queer culture in Hong Kong as a Killam Postdoctoral fellow at UBC during 1999-2001. In 2002, I started a tenure-track position at SFU where I have continued my intellectual adventures as a Professor in GSWS and, more recently, as a founding co-director of the Institute for Transpacific Cultural Research.


  • PhD, MA (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • BA (University of Oxford)


I am currently working on projects in three research areas: A SSHRC-funded project on Transpacific Film Cities explores how screen-based media projects which mobilize transpacific migrant connections contribute to placemaking and urban identity in the filmmaking cities of Vancouver, Hong Kong, and Singapore. As a founding co-editor of HKUP’s Queer Asia book series, I mentor and support young scholars — especially those based in Asia — in the field. I am working with co-author Audrey Yue on a critical dialogue on “Queer Asia  as Method,” as well as creating an oral history audio project to document Queer Asian cultural activism in Vancouver during the formative period in 1990s-2000s. Building on my many publications on Queer Cinema, I continue to explore new angles on queer screen culture, especially issues in film sound, audio-visual translation, and sonic perspectives.

Community Engagement

I am a member of Out On Screen’s Director’s Guild, a core group of patrons who act as ambassadors and advisors for Out On Screen’s various programs, including the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and Out In Schools.


I am a member of the Vancouver Hong Kong Forum Society, an organization which facilitates cultural exchanges between Vancouver and Hong Kong through community events and media projects.


I created and host Transpacific Stories — a podcast about “the people behind the scholarship” — as an outreach project for the Institute For Transpacific Cultural Research. I invite Cultural Studies scholars to tell personal stories about their transpacific journeys and experiences.



Recent Articles

“Multiple Queer Asias: An Intimate Reflection from Vancouver.” TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies 38 (2018): 87-92.


“Richard Fung's Re:Orientations in Vancouver” (co-authored with Richard Fung, Phanuel Antwi, and Christine Kim). Asian Diaspora Visual Cultures and the Americas (ADVA) 4 (2018) :165-178.


“Our City of Colours: Queer/Asian Publics in Transpacific Vancouver.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (2017) 18.4: 482-497.


“Notes Towards the Queer Asian City: Singapore and Hong Kong” (co-authored with Audrey Yue). Urban Studies (2017) 54(3) 747–764.


“Always In Translation: Trans Cinema Across Languages.” TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 4.3-4 (2016). 433-447.


“New Queer Angles On Wong Kar-wai.” Martha P. Nochimson, ed. A Companion to Wong Kar-wai (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016). 250-271.


Journal Special Issues

“Inter-Asia Beyond Asia.” (Co-edited with Christine Kim). A Special Issue of Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. Volume 20.2 (2019).

“Trans-in-Asia, Asia-in-Trans.” (Co-edited with Howard Chiang and Todd A. Henry). A Special Issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. Volume 5.3 (2018).


Farewell My Concubine: A Queer Film Classic (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2010)


Undercurrents: Queer Culture and Postcolonial Hong Kong (UBC Press, 2008).


Other links 


Summer 2024

Future courses may be subject to change.