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 5124

Mark Deggan’s critical work and teaching is strongly inflected by earlier careers in the visual arts and theatrical design and scenography. He has published widely on modernist fiction, and the poetics of the cinema: recent chapters include “Conrad’s Ecological Performativity” in Conrad & Nature (Routledge 2018) and two entries in A Companion to World Literature, “Human Rights – ‘Inalienable’,” and “Knut Hamsun: Modernity’s Primal Birthing?” (Wiley Blackwell 2019). Aside from an abiding interest in Joseph Conrad’s Eastern narratives, his current project sets out a performative ecology of cosmopolitan and space in 20th Century world fiction, and explores French, Dutch, and English language writers including Beb Vuyk, Ahmadou Kourouma, and Damon Galgut.

Jia Fei
Senior Lecturer
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: RCB 8205

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.

Claudia Hein
Senior Lecturer
1. Staatsexamen (Kiel, Germany); MA in Foreign Languages (WVU, USA)
Email: cmhein@sfu.ca
Phone: 778-782-8526
Office: RCB 8204
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.

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: RCB 8202
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 and Chair
BA in Comparative Literature (University of California, Berkeley); MA, PhD in Comparative Literature (University of Washington)
Email: mso1@sfu.ca
Phone: 778-782-8660
Office: AQ 5127
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 5128
Website:  http://kseigneurie.com/

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: RCB 8206

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.

Azadeh Yamini-Hamedani
Associate Professor
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 5126

Azadeh Yamini-Hamedani's teaching interests involve interconnections of literature and philosophy, with particular emphasis on the semiotics of translation. Her current research includes Goethe's conception of World Literature in light of his reading of Hafez. She also explores Nietzsche's understanding of Zoroastrianism as it appears in his notations and in Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Term faculty

Elena Caselli
Term Lecturer
MA in Teaching Foreign Languages and Cultures (University of Naples); PhD in Modern and Contemporary History of Europe (University of Naples L’Orientale)
Email: ecaselli@sfu.ca

Elena Caselli teaches Italian Language courses from Introductory to Advanced level. Her priorities as an instructor are to inspire curiosity, foster enthusiasm for the Italian language, and facilitate a dynamic class experience. She incorporates active, inductive, and collaborative learning techniques into her teaching practice, creating a hybrid, effective, and engaging learning environment.

Chie Furukawa
Term Lecturer
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: RCB 8207

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.

Hande Gurses
Visiting Assistant Professor
BA in English Language and Literature/Letters (Boğaziçi University); MA in Cultural Studies/Critical Theory and Analysis (University of London); PhD in Literature (University College London)
Email: hande_gurses@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5119

Hande Gurses’ primary research interests include contemporary world literature, cosmopolitanism, ecocriticism, and critical animal studies. Most recently she co-edited a collection of essays titled Animals, Plants, and Landscapes: An Ecology of Turkish Literature and Film (Routledge Press, 2019). Her current book project examines the relation between animals and sovereignty in the construction of national identity. She is also interested in inclusive pedagogies and contemplative practices in higher education.

Anosh Irani
Visiting Professor, Writer-in-Residence
BCom (University of Bombay); MFA in Creative Writing (UBC)
Email: airani@sfu.ca
Website: www.anoshirani.com

Anosh Irani’s novel, The Parcel, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. It was listed as one of the best books of the year by the Globe and Mail, the National Post, The Walrus, and CBC Books. His play, Bombay Black, won five Dora Mavor Moore Awards, including for Outstanding New Play. His anthology, The Bombay Plays: The Matka King & Bombay Black, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama as was his most recent play, The Men in White. His latest book, Translated from the Gibberish, was released by Knopf in 2019.

Isabel Mayo-Harp
Term Lecturer
BA in Political Science (Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México); MA in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language (Universidad Antonio de Nebrija); PhD in Educational Technology and Learning Design (SFU)
Email: mayoharp@sfu.ca
Office: AQ 5128

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.

Rastin Mehri
Term Lecturer
BA in Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies (University of British Columbia); BFA in Art History, Visual Art and Theory (University of British Columbia); MA in Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies (University of British Columbia); PhD in Study of Religions and Philosophies (The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London).
Email: rmehri@sfu.ca
Office: RCB 8122

Rastin Mehri’s research interests include the history, literature and social situation of the Middle Eastern and South Asian Diaspora in British Columbia, Canada.

Vlad Vintila
Term Lecturer
BA in English and German (Transilvania University of Brasov); MA in Italian (University of Virginia); PhD in Italian (Columbia University)
Email: vvintila@sfu.ca

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.

Sessional instructors

Frieda He
Sessional Instructor, Chinese
Email:  ping_he@sfu.ca

Haisheng Jiang
Sessional Instructor, Chinese
Email:  hjiangd@sfu.ca

Julia Ruben
Sessional Instructor, German

Email:  julia_rueben@sfu.ca

Sessional teaching assistants and tutor markers

Jacqueline Barreiro
Teaching Assistant, Spanish
Email: jacqueline_barreiro@sfu.ca

Liang Cao
Teaching Assistant, Japanese
Email:  liang_cao_2@sfu.ca

Eri Hato
Teaching Assistant, Japanese
Email: eri_hato@sfu.ca

Caedyn Lennox
Tutor Marker, World Literature
Email: caedyn_lennox@sfu.ca

Miwako Watanabe
Teaching Assistant, Japanese
Email: miwakow@sfu.ca

Momoka Yamagata
Teaching Assistant, Japanese
Email:  momoka_yamagata@sfu.ca

Morgan Young
Tutor Marker, World Literature
Email:  morgan_young@sfu.ca