June 2021

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

Student News

Congratulations, 2021 graduates!

The pandemic has prompted much improvisation. This year, the History Department held its first-ever online graduation ceremony for History majors. In previous years, professors of the department would join the university-wide ceremony. Dressed in formal robes, they would chat with students and pose for photographs. Since those in-person gatherings remain out of reach yet, the Department decided to hold its own ceremony online. On June 2, graduating students, parents, and faculty attended this virtual gathering organized by Prof. Bradley Miller, Undergraduate Chair. Several students and professors gave speeches. Justice Russell Brown, a distinguished alumnus, spoke about the importance of a historical perspective on the law. The eloquence of the speakers served as a tribute to the hard work of the History majors in earning their degrees. Congratulations to the Class of 2021!


- John Roosa, Associate Professor and Acting Head


Read more about the ceremony and remarks from Dr. Laura Ishiguro here.


Through our eyes, with our voices: How students and faculty are creating space to heal and be proud of their Asian identities
Aydin Quach, Faculty of Arts website

"Being an ally necessitates us to submit ourselves to the state of being a non-expert, unknower, and a foreigner, which is not easy when the field of academics constantly expects us to be otherwise."

UBC History & UBC International Relations undergraduate Aydin Quach interviews four instructors of Asian descent on anti-Asian racism and the classroom.

Faculty News

Interview with Shoufu Yin, Assistant Professor of Chinese History

“I excavate the intellectual worlds of many previously under-represented groups- peasant women who fought in wars, Mongol scribes who processed imperial documents, anonymous typesetters behind the production of books…”

Shoufu Yin will be joining UBC History this July as Assistant Professor of Chinese History. Learn more about his research, teaching, and outlook as a scholar.

BEYOND DISINFORMATION: Stories, Statistics, and Authenticity in Health Communications
Heidi Tworek in Items

"The historical focus on statistics as the only authentic health data obscured other modes of communicating disease and other ways of understanding disease as a social phenomenon, not just an individual experience."

Why does anti-Asian hate exist in Canada? Decades of 'scapegoating, blaming’ has built racism into ’structure of society’, expert says
Henry Yu in Yahoo! News

"There's this commonality with a long history, not just the United States, but also in Canada racial scapegoating, of blaming Chinese or blaming Asians for societal issues."

Dūje Pāse Toñ (From the Other Side): Arts Across the Border, From the Two Punjabs, at The Reach gallery

UBC History's Anne Murphy co-curated this exhibit at The Reach Gallery in Abbotsford. This exhibition brings together the work of 22 international artists who all participated in a series of artist residencies on the Indian and Pakistani side of the once-united cultural/linguistic region of Punjab.

Capital Daily: Can Better Communication Curb Vaccine Hesitancy?

Listen to Heidi Tworek discuss how governments should communicate with the public about vaccines on the podcast Capital Daily.

CBC: Online campaign encourages Hong Kongers in Canada to recognize their identity in 2021 census

Leo Shin comments on the campaign encouraging the federal government to recognize "Hong Konger" as an official identity.

The Phil Lind Klondike Gold Rush Collection offers essential new source for historical research and scholarship at UBC Library

"UBC now has the opportunity to understand the stories of the gold rush era in a tangible way, through materials that have survived over a century."

UBC Library has received an unparalleled rare book and archival collection, dating from the Klondike Gold Rush (1894-1904) from UBC alumnus and Canadian telecommunications icon Philip B. Lind, CM. The gift includes a $2 million gift that will support the collection at the library.

Watch a video introducing the collection from UBC Library. 
Check out some of the donated photos in Vancouver is Awesome. 


Light Hours: Eleven Artists Looking at Hong Kong
June 19th, 7pm

The UBC Hong Kong Studies Initiative is hosting a conversation with 11 Canadian artists of Hong Kong descent, exploring their Hong Kong Canadian identity during a critical time.


Designing Your Future: Webinar Series for Graduating Arts Students
June 15th

A 3-part series for graduating Arts students. Back by popular demand, this series will prepare you for life after graduation. Learn about resumes, cover letters, interview skills, job search strategies, and more.


Winter 2021 Courses Spotlight

HIST 334: African-American History, 1450 - 1850
Instructor: Dr. Crystal Webster

This course will familiarize students with many of the most important developments and issues in early African-American history focusing on themes of slavery and emancipation, African culture and community, the evolution of African-American identity, the gendered experiences of Black women and girls, and Black resistance and political activism.


HIST 378: History of Early China
Instructor: Dr. Shoufu Yin

This course introduces the history of China from its origins until the thirteenth century while it explores an interdisciplinary approach to history. Join us in divining with animal bones, dreaming with butterflies, following female commanders onto battlefields, participating in voting and even full-scale referendum, and rethinking the contemporary world through the lens of early China. 

Image: Tracing steps of Sage King Yu, stele of 1136 (Xi'an Beilin Museum)"