December 2021

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

Decorative image. Students in graduation gowns and caps. The camera is focussed on a woman with light skin and wavy blonde hair grins and looks off camera.

Congratulations, Class of 2021!

Congratulations on finishing your academic journey at the University of British Columbia, class of 2021! You did it!

Completing any degree is no small feat, and to do so during the uncertainties of a pandemic takes immense tenacity and grit. To help you celebrate and reflect on your journey, read the full message of congratulations from Acting Department Head, Dr. John Roosa.


Graduating Student Reflections

Marcel Shelton

BA, History Honours; Philosophy Minor

"Professors Brain, Schabas, and Kojevnikov taught amazing classes that historicised a lot of the conceptual presuppositions I had about the Sciences, like objectivity and progress. Joshua Timmermann’s seminar, Uses of the Past, showed me how the echoes of the past reverberate in the present."

Hannah Thompson

BA, History

"Throughout my time at UBC I have gained valuable skills. I learned to see the past in a much more dynamic way. It is so complex and written from so many different perspectives. Learning from the past enlightens my future."

Justin Chun-Yin Cheng

MA, History

Thesis: Everyday Colonialism: The 1906 Typhoon and Governance in Early Twentieth-Century Hong Kong

"I am now applying for PhD and will focus on Hong Kong. My proposed project will use one’s Hong Kong experience as a case and examine the varying senses of belonging among people living in Hong Kong and abroad by tracing the experiences of childhood during the 1960s and 1970s, in order to understand how a sense of belonging was constructed and influenced by place, people and memories."

Stanley Leng Hon Chia

MA, History 

Thesis: Dangerous Moments: An Oral History of the May 1969 Riots in Kuala Lumpur

"I learned to be a more engaging writer at UBC History. My thesis is about Malaysians who experienced the May 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur. It changes our perception of the riots and allows us to hear from those affected by the riots for the first time."

Lui Xia Lee

MA, History

Thesis: Pressing for Melayu : English-Language Newspapers and Language in the Malaysian Education System, 1957-1969

"If there's anything that kept me going through these two very interesting years, it's the community at UBC History. It taught me to embrace myself and my puns. By seeking support from the community, I graduated and the rest is now...History. I've learned so much just by getting feedback from my peers and colleagues. I'm thankful the community was so welcoming and supportive during my whole journey. It's always a good idea to ask for help."


Dr. Josh Timmerman

PhD, History

Dissertation: Temporality, Authority, and 'Ancient Christianity' in the Carolingian Era

"I've had the privilege of working with, and getting to know, some truly brilliant and exceptionally generous people. I learned during these years how gratifying and enriching both teaching and research can be. Neither has ever felt like a chore, or 'just a job.' Short of playing in the NBA (I think that ship has sailed), it's the best career I can imagine."


Faculty News

Headshots of Professors Benjamin Bryce (left) and Kelly McCormick (right).

Professors Benjamin Bryce and Kelly McCormick win 2021 SSHRC Insight Development Grants

Congratulations to UBC History professors Dr. Benjamin Bryce and Dr. Kelly McCormick, who were each awarded a 2021 Insight Development Grant for their respective projects, “Settler Vines: Migrants, Science, and Environment in Canada and Argentina, 1890-1940”, and “The Cameraman in a Skirt: A New Visual History of Modern Japan.”


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces the rebrand of Facebook as Meta in this screenshot from a video released October 28, 2021.


Know Your Profs with Dr. Hicham Safieddine

"I have no attachment to being an academic per se. I just love teaching, research, and writing...The intersection of political economy and intellectual history helps me explore fundamental power relations and ideas that shape and transform our modern world in an interdisciplinary fashion."

Read the article to learn more about Dr. Safieddine's commitment to critical and engaged historical inquiry.


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces the rebrand of Facebook as Meta in this screenshot from a video released October 28, 2021.

A promotional banner for the exhibition “The New Woman Behind The Camera” hangs outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Sept. 18 in New York City. Photo by Kelly Midori McCormick.

Prof. Kelly McCormick | Why was Japanese WWII Propaganda on Display Outside the Met?

Washington Post

"If we fail to honour their connection to the people, places and circumstances in which they were created, we rob photographs of their ability to give testimony to facts and tell truths," writes Prof. Kelly McCormick in this Washington Post op-ed.


Cave and Basin swimming pool, Banff National Park, Alberta, 1948. Source: Library and Archives Canada, National Film Board of Canada.

Cave and Basin swimming pool, Banff National Park, Alberta, 1948. Source: Library and Archives Canada, National Film Board of Canada.

Prof. Tina Loo and Meg Stanley | Swimming in Political Waters: Understanding Racism and Exclusion at Banff National Park

Network in Canadian History & Environment

"...Understanding racism and exclusion at Banff requires us to get beyond the parks branch and its archival record. Swimming in such political waters is a good, if sometimes tedious, exercise. But like all exercise, it has its rewards – in this case seeing the connections between domestic and international. Racial concerns knew no such boundaries," writes Parks Canada historian Meg Stanley and UBC History's Dr. Tina Loo.


Student Opportunities

Alumni UBC Break Escape Contest

Win a 2 night Fly & Stay Package to Tofino and a $500 gift card towards your travel from alumni UBC, your future alumni association. Open to all currently registered UBC students. Contest closes December 15, 2021.


Contest Page


Undergraduate 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition

Apply for the Undergraduate 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition and share your research! Applications open December 17. Successful finalists will compete live in February 2022 for cash prizes.

More Information

Upcoming Events

Poster for Global Seminars, a program under Go Global. The poster shows an arial view of farmlands, divided into colourful irregular shapes in shades of green and brown with grey roadways that separate them.

The Phil Lind Initiative: The Future of Media with Ed Yong

January 20, 2022 | 6:00 pm PT

UBC’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs hosts Ed Yong, Pulitzer Prize-winning science staff writer for The Atlantic, as part of the 2022 Phil Lind Initiative series on “The Future of Media.”

Speaking from his experience writing before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, Yong explores the core of what it means to be a science journalist, how inseparable science is from the rest of society, and how it is shaped by our culture, our social norms, and our collective decisions.


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