December 2023

Now & Then highlights UBC History news and events for students, faculty, staff & alumni

Message from the Department Head

Dear UBC History Class of 2023,

Congratulations on completing your journey with UBC History.

As you close this chapter and start your next, I urge you to keep honing the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills that you worked so hard to acquire while you were at UBC. Just as these skills served you well during your time as a student, they will remain important tools during the journeys that you take once you leave the hallways and classrooms of the university.

Wherever you end up next, I hope you remember that the point of studying history is not just to be able to gesture to events of the past and think, “this is how it’s always been.” Rather, by studying history, you have had the opportunity to take a critical look at humanity’s track record, to learn to read against archival silences and between the lines, and to identify the mechanisms of how events transpired in the past and how memories of these events were constructed and used in later periods.

It is your knowledge of history that will allow you to work with others to find better solutions to the challenges that the future will pose.

Congratulations again, and we wish you all the best in your future.


Dr. Bonnie Effros, PhD, FRHistS

Department Head, Professor

UBC History


Student News

Storying Tr’ondëk-Klondike: Disrupting Settler Colonial Narratives Through UNESCO Designation

Network in Canadian History & Environment (NiCHE)

"As northern Canada continues to warm at four times the rate of the rest of world...the new Tr’ondëk-Klondike UNESCO World Heritage Site has the potential to highlight the fragility of Arctic landscapes, treat Dawson City’s century-long gold rush hangover, and amplify Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in narratives of resistance," writes MA student Emily Witherow

Left: Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre. Image by Emily Witherow, via NiCHE.

Faculty News


Dr. Benjamin Bryce Wins Ontario Historical Society’s Joseph Brant Award

Congratulations to Dr. Benjamin Bryce (UBC History, UBC Latin American Studies) on winning the 2022 – 2023 Joseph Brant Award for his monograph, The Boundaries of Ethnicity: German Immigration and the Language of Belonging in Ontario (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2022).


Inventing a Photographic Past for Japan: From A Century of Japanese Photography (1968) to the Construction of the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography

History of Photography, Volume 46, 2022 - Issue 4. Published online Dec 14, 2023.

Through analysis of the exhibition and establishment of the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Dr. Kelly McCormick illuminates how the process of writing the first major history of Japanese photography and building an institution to house its archive was a practice informed by the changing meanings of the role of photographers and museums within Japanese society.

The Pseudo-Recognition of Women Warriors in Imperial China and Contemporary Media

Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, Online forum

"When a regime, either imperial Chinese or global capitalistic, orchestrates 'pseudo-recognition' of women, it gestures toward recognizing their achievements—epitomized in acts of promoting their ranks or featuring their valor," writes Dr. Shoufu Yin. "In doing so, the regime cunningly redescribes their achievements in ways that reproduce the ideological order, whether patriarchal, orientalist, or both."

Student Opportunities

Conway Summer Travel Scholarship in German History

Apply by February 6, 2024

The Conway award was created to commemorate Professor John Conway's 38-year teaching career at UBC History. It is an opportunity open to Honours or Graduate students in History or International Relations. Applicants should outline their interest or research in the history of Germany, and include a proposed itinerary and plans for further study. Applications should be submitted to the Chair, Scholarship Committee, UBC Department of History.

Apply Now


Course Highlight

HIST 376: Re-Envisioning Japan

Instructor: Dr. Kelly McCormick

What do Japanese anarchists and makeup advertisements have to do with each other?

In HIST 376: Re-Envisioning Japan, we explore how the concept of “Japan” has been manufactured and asserted over time to understand what Japan has meant to different groups of people and how they have re-envisioned it through visual and material culture. This course focuses on visual historical evidence (photographs, films, paintings, advertisements, maps, propaganda, and more). It encourages students to challenge notions of what types of materials make up history, and to become producers of their own historical interpretations. Learn more about the course.

Poster images via Kelly McCormick.



GPRC | The Globalization of the Concept of Liberty During the Long Fourteenth Century

January 26, 2024 | 12:30 pm PT | Buchanan Tower 1112 and online

The UBC History Global Premodern Research Cluster brings together a multidisciplinary community with shared and varied interests in global premodern studies. It conceives of ‘premodern’ as global in its geographic breadth and flexibly ranging in its temporal scope from ancient times up to 1800 CE. The group embraces a plurality of perspectives to the past and the evidence used to study the past, including textual, material, oral, and visual sources. On January 26, 2024, don't miss Dr. Shoufu Yin's talk on the concept of liberty during the long 14th-century.


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