Faculty & instructors

SFU's World Languages and Literatures' faculty members are experts in their fields. We look forward to seeing you in class.

Continuing faculty

Mark Deggan
BA in Classical Studies (University of British Columbia); PhD in English (University of British Columbia)
Email: mdeggan@sfu.ca
Phone: 778-782-9595
Office: AQ 5119

Mark Deggan’s teaching embraces interdisciplinary and ecocritical approaches to the themes and aesthetics of World Literature, with emphasis on the poetics of cross-cultural encounter.  Like his research interests, his course materials continue to be inflected by previous careers in the visual and performing arts. 

His publications explore the contestations of late-romanticist and modernist literary and cinematic cultures, with focus on East/West encounters.  He was recently guest editor for the Fall 2021 Special Issue of The Conradian: Planetary Conrad.  His most recent chapters appear in Politics of Fear, Politics of Hope: Postcritique (Palgrave) and Conrad & Nature (Routledge) and he has two essays in Wiley Blackwell’s Companion to World Literature  His chapter, “‘A Theatrical Imagination’ : The Aesthetics of Conrad’s Fiction & the Arts of the Modernist Stage,” is forthcoming in the volume, Conrad and the Arts of his Time (Edinburgh UP), and his essay, “The Environmental Dynamics of the Gothic : Spectral Atmospherics in Atlantique,” will appear in the Manchester UP collection, Troubling Gothic: Unstable Genre in Contentious Times

Jia Fei
Senior Lecturer & Undergraduate Chair 
BA in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (East China Normal University); MEd in Second Language Education (University of Toronto); PhD in Languages, Cultures and Literacies (Simon Fraser University)
Email: jia_fei@sfu.ca
Phone: 778-782-7618
Office: AQ 5119.2
Office Hours: Wednesdays, 11:30-12:30 pm via Zoom

Jia Fei teaches Chinese language courses at the beginner level, intermediate level and with a special focus on conversational Mandarin and Business Mandarin. Informed by a background in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign language, language and power, and second language acquisition, she seeks to incorporate current language learning theories, pedagogies and technology into the classroom to facilitate a nurturing, inclusive, and empowering experience for her learners. After developing a Mandarin curriculum for SFU’s Global Communication MA Double Degree program, she is currently working on a SCOLA project with language leaders from other BC post-secondary institutions to identify and develop core competency frameworks and placement test banks in the Chinese language.

Chie Furukawa
BA in Sociology (University of Tokyo); MA in Education (University of Tokyo); PhD in Education (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Email: chie_furukawa@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5124
Office Hours: Wednesdays, 1:00 - 1:30 pm via Zoom; Fridays, 1:00 - 1:30 in person; or by appointment 

Chie Furukawa’s research interests include identities, cultures, and languages in transnational spaces. Before coming to Canada, she taught Japanese language and cultures in various institutions in the USA.

Claudia Hein
Senior Lecturer
1. Staatsexamen in Education, English and Theology (Kiel, Germany); MA in Foreign Languages (WVU, USA)
Email: cmhein@sfu.ca
Phone: 778-782-8526
Office: AQ 5126
Office hours: Tuesdays, 1:00 - 2:00 pm in person; Fridays, 1:00 - 2:00 via Zoom; or by appointment 
Website: http://www.sfu.ca/~cmhein/

Prior to coming to SFU in 1999 Claudia Hein taught at universities in the US and Italy. As the coordinator for the German language courses at SFU she supervises and teaches courses on the A1 (Beginner), A2 (Elementary), and B1 (Intermediate) levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL). Her ultimate goal is to get students excited about the German language and encourage them to spend a semester (or longer) abroad. She is also a Certified Examiner with the Goethe Institut and sits on the Board of the British Columbia Council of Teachers of German.

Isabel Mayo-Harp
BA in Political Science (Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México); MA in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language (Universidad Antonio de Nebrija); MA in Political Science (SFU);PhD in Educational Technology and Learning Design (SFU)
Email: mayoharp@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5128
Office hours: Tuesdays, 1:00 - 2:00 pm in person or via Zoom; Wednesdays, 1:00 - 1:45 pm via Zoom 

Isabel Mayo-Harp’s research interest involves computer assisted language learning (CALL) and the use of Learning Management Systems for language teaching. Currently, she is focusing on design and development of foreign language blended courses, and on the use of technology to facilitate student learning.

Billie Ng
University Lecturer
BA in Education (International Christian University, Japan); MA in Comparative Education (University of London, England)
Email: billie@sfu.ca
Phone: 778-782-4863
Office: AQ 5122
Office hours: Wednesdays, 9:45 - 10:15 am & 12:00 - 1:00 pm 
Website: https://vault.sfu.ca/index.php/s/ZTxsEItpZgaVobz

Billie Ng has been in the field of Language Education since 1980. Her work has included curriculum development, challenge exams, and cross-cultural workshops with government and business. She is the president of a national organization of faculty teaching Chinese language & literature in Canadian colleges and universities (the Canadian TCSL Association). Her publications include four textbooks, with workbooks and online resources and (as co-author of) the Provincial Mandarin IRP (Integrated Resource Package). She is now working on blending traditional classroom strategies with resources, tools and opportunities available to learners in an increasingly technological environment.

Melek Ortabasi
Associate Professor
BA in Comparative Literature (University of California, Berkeley); MA, PhD in Comparative Literature (University of Washington)
Email: melek_ortabasi@sfu.ca
Phone: 778-782-8660
Office: AQ 5125
On leave 2021-2022
Website: https://www.sfu.ca/wll/about/people/faculty/melek-su-ortabasi.html

Melek Ortabasi teaches World Literature courses that are often informed by her research interests: translation theory and practice, popular culture and transnationalism, and internationalism in children’s literature. She specializes in modern Japanese and German literatures. Her latest book, The Undiscovered Country: Text, Translation and Modernity in the Work of Yanagita Kunio, was published in 2014 by Harvard University Asia Center. She is currently working on two projects: a book manuscript on transnationalism and modern Japanese children's literature, as well as a comparative Digital Humanities project on the childhood memoir, which incorporates materials primarily in Japanese, German, and English.

Ken Seigneurie
BSc in Biology/Zoology, BA in English Literature (Michigan State University); MA in Comparative Literature (University of Michigan); PhD in Comparative Literature (University of Michigan)
Email: kseigneu@sfu.ca
Phone: 778-782-8846
Office: AQ 5120
Website: https://www.sfu.ca/wll/about/people/faculty/ken-seigneurie.html

Ken Seigneurie’s teaching explores how worlds -- humanistic, liberal, religious and postcolonial -- accrete around literary texts. His research spans English, Arabic and French literatures in a comparative context, world literature and Eastern Mediterranean cultures. He has served as General Editor of the Wiley Blackwell Companion to World Literature (2020), translator from Arabic in What Makes a Man? Sex Talk in Beirut and Berlin (2015), and author of Standing by the Ruins: Elegiac Humanism in Wartime and Postwar Lebanon (2011). His current project is a study of the palimpsests of religious thought in cultures of liberalism east and west.

Naoko Takei
Senior Lecturer
BA in Buddhism Studies (Bukkyo University); MA in Curriculum Studies (University of British Columbia); PhD in Languages, Cultures and Literacies (Simon Fraser University)
Email: ntakei@sfu.ca
Phone: 778-782-5141
Office: AQ 5119.1
On leave Spring & Summer 2021

Naoko Takei teaches all levels of Japanese language courses, focusing on nurturing the intercultural competence that will guide a language learner to act appropriately in a target language. She is interested in how the cultural aspects of a language can be integrated in a language course. Recently she developed JAPN 351, Japanese Language and Culture through Film, in which she uses Japanese movies as a language textbook. Her goal is for learners to experience joy in using a new foreign language to explore a new culture. She takes an active role in the local Japanese language education community to promote the Japanese language.

Vlad Vintila
BA in English and German (Transilvania University of Brasov); MA in Italian (University of Virginia); PhD in Italian (Columbia University)
Email: vvintila@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5111
Office hours: by appointment via Zoom 

Vlad Vintila’s scholarly interests include foreign language acquisition and pedagogy; the Italian literature of the Middle Ages and the early modern period (Dante, Boccaccio, Ariosto); and the enduring relevance of classical sources for Italian literature and culture and identity construction.

María Ignacia Barraza
Assistant Professor
BA in English Literature (Simon Fraser University); DEA (Diploma de Estudios Avanzados) in Spanish and Latin American Literatures (University of Salamanca); PhD in Spanish and Latin American Literatures (University of Salamanca)
Email: mbarraza@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5113

María Ignacia Barraza’s areas of research include the Spanish literary generations of 1898 and 1927, 19th and 20th century Latin American poetry and prose, as well as film and the visual arts. She has published articles on Manuel Ciges Aparicio and the visual arts, as well as on the theories of Gaston Bachelard. Her current research project and teaching explore our fascinatingly complex relationship with food through the study of female Argentine recipe developers/food writers of the 20th century as well as the diverse culinary landscapes in modern world literature.

Azadeh Yamini-Hamedani
Associate Professor & Chair
BA in Comparative Literature (University of California, Berkley); MA and PhD in German Literature and Culture (University of California, Berkley)
Email: azadeh_yamini-hamedani@sfu.ca
Phone: 778-782-8761
Office: AQ 5121

What intrigues Azadeh Yamini-Hamedani about world literature is that it tells the story of stories: the life literature acquires when it is translated into different languages and as it begins to speak to the spirit of different times and cultures. Her research focuses on the movement of literature between Iran and Germany, which exposes world literature as a form of cultural resistance. She has published on Goethe’s conception of world literature with respect to his engagement with Hafez; Nietzsche’s appropriation of Zarathustra in the context of moral philosophy and power; and the influence of Heidegger and Marx on the Islamic Revolution. Her latest research looks at the role world literature played before and after the Islamic Revolution, and the ways in which religion and technology become weaponized in post-colonial discourse. In her teaching she enjoys exploring themes around technology and culture, revolution, exile and migration, money and power, creativity and the work of art, and love.

Cynthia Xie
Senior Lecturer
BA in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (East China Normal University); MA in Applied Linguistics (University of Jyväskylä, Finland); PhD in Curriculum Theory and Implementation (Simon Fraser University)
Email: cxie@sfu.ca
Office: TASC I 9211

Cynthia teaches both intensive Mandarin Chinese courses and Heritage Mandarin Chinese courses at SFU. Her research interests include Chinese linguistics and Chinese language pedagogy. Cynthia is responsible for the Chinese language education for the SFU-ZJU Dual Degree Program in Computing Science. Her work includes curriculum design, course development, assessment, and coordination with the Chinese university.

Assistant Professor 

B.A. (French & Education), Obafemi Awolowo University (ACE); M.A. (French Studies), University of Ibadan; PhD (French Studies), University of British Columbia

Email: jakinwum@sfu.ca

Joel Akinwumi teaches African World Literatures in the Department of World Languages and Literatures and the Department of French. His current research focuses on the depiction of historical forgetting in six postcolonial African and Caribbean novels. His latest articles appeared in Nouvelles Etudes Francophones and Alternative francophone. He received his Ph.D. from UBC, where he has worked as a research assistant on various projects and taught courses ranging from elementary to advanced levels of French. He has also taught at Corpus Christi College (Vancouver). He is the winner of the 2021 François-Paré Award for the best paper presented by an emerging scholar at the international conference organized by APLAQA (Association des Professeur.e.s des littératures acadienne et québécoise de l’Atlantique).

Term faculty

Gianluca Oluić 

Term Assistant Professor
Ph.D (UBC)
Email: goluic@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5125

Gianluca Oluić obtained his Laurea at the Università di Bergamo in 2007. In 2020, he received his Ph.D. at UBC with a dissertation focused on the concept of Europe in 19th-century Spanish and Italian political essays. Gianluca has been teaching Italian and Spanish for several years, and currently teaches World Literature. His research interests include Biopolitics, Political Theology and Mediterranean Studies.

Associate members

Eirini Kotsovili
BA in History, Hispanic studies (McGill University); MSt in Literature (Oxford University); DPhil in Literature (Oxford University)
Email: dkotsovi@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 6199

Eirini teaches Greek at SFU and is a lecturer in the Department of Humanities. Her research and teaching interests revolve around the notions of gender and identity, Modern Greece (comparative/transnational approach) and contemporary cultural production reflecting on the relation between past and present within various socio-political contexts.

Sessional instructors (Spring 2023)

Rastin Mehri
Sessional Instructor, Arabic
Email:  rmehri@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5114
Office hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1:00 - 2:20 pm 

Sessional teaching assistants and tutor markers (Spring 2023)

Liang Cao
Teaching Assistant, Chinese 
Email: lca129@sfu.ca
Office: 5127
Office hours: Thursdays, 12:15 - 1:15 pm

Carolina Lemay
Teaching Assistant, Spanish
Email: cazmitia@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5128
Office hours: Wednesdays, 11:00 am - 12:10 pm or by appointment via Zoom

Yumiko Morita
Teaching Assistant, Japanese 
Email: yumiko_morita@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5127
Office hours: Wednesdays & Fridays, 12:30 - 1:00 pm, and by appointment 


Julia Rueben
Teaching Assistant, German
Office hours: 


Yoko Morishita Houghton

Teaching Assistant, Japanese

Office hours: 

Kate Scheel
Teaching Assistant, World Literature
Email: scheel@sfu.ca
AQ 5117
Office hours: Thursdays, 12:30 - 2:30 pm 

Motoki Nozawa
Teaching Assistant, Japanese
Email: motoki_nozawa@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5110
Office hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays, half hour after class and by appointment 

Eri Hato
Teaching Assistant, Japanese
Email: eri_hato@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5110
Office hours: Wednesdays & Fridays, 12:25 - 12:40 pm and 4:25 - 4:40 pm 


Camilo Monje Pulido
Teaching Assitant, Spanish
Email: cmonjepu@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5114 

Office hours: Wednesday, 10:30 am- 12:00 pm or by appointment