UBC Asian Studies Class of 2023 Fall Graduates Yearbook

To the graduating class of 2023 Fall,

The Department of Asian Studies heartily congratulates you on the completion of your degree in Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia! We are extremely proud of you – an impressive achievement and hard-earned success overall!

To celebrate you, we composed this “UBC Asian Studies Class of 2023 Fall Graduates Yearbook” page featuring graduates sharing their perspectives on Asian Studies and thanks for those who supported their academic journeys.

2023 Fall Graduates Yearbook

Doctoral degree


Specialization: Chinese

Thesis title: Pidgin poetics: language culture in modern China

Supervisor: Dr Christopher Rea 

My study in Asian Studies has been much more than just exploring a geographical area. It has equipped me with a diverse array of perspectives and methodologies, enabling me to analyze and understand the interactions among various groups of people across different spaces and times. What I valued most in my study in Asian Studies at UBC was the development of my ability to read and think both critically and creatively. This approach has not only enriched my understanding of Asian cultures and societies but has also equipped me with vital analytical skills applicable across a broad spectrum of academic fields.

In achieving this degree, I've been fortunate to receive invaluable help, advice, and support from numerous individuals. A special note of gratitude is owed to Professor Christopher Rea and Professor Ross King. Their guidance and mentorship offered intellectual stimulation and mental support throughout my time at UBC. I am deeply appreciative of their guidance and the significant impact they have made on my personal and academic growth.

Specialization: Chinese

Thesis title: Migration and native place in and after the Ming: the ancestral hometown and domicile of Li Dongyang (1447–1516)

Supervisor: Dr Bruce Rusk

I believe the importance of Asian Studies lies in a diverse range of educators and learners from varied backgrounds. My experience here has significantly enriched my academic perspectives by fostering cross-cultural understanding. For instance, initially, I tended to view my research interest, the Sino-Japanese relationships, narrowly. However, later on, I came to realize that considering Korean, Indian, and Arabic phenomena is essential to recognizing certain characteristics more objectively. It is only here, at the Asian Studies program at UBC, that I could attain such a comprehensive viewpoint.

I am grateful for all the teachers who have guided me throughout this journey. A special thanks to my supervisor, Dr. Bruce Rusk, for his generous and patient guidance. My appreciation extends to all the staff and colleagues who offered their kind assistance. The department's tremendous support during the pandemic has been invaluable. Last but not least, I want to express my deep gratitude for the unwavering support and cheers from my wife and daughter. Thank you all.

Master’s degree


Specialization: Hindi-Urdu / Punjabi

Thesis title: Representation of gender, marriage, Punjabi diaspora and the homeland in Punjabi cinema

Supervisor: Dr Sunera Thobani

Asian Studies taught me interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches to research, and I have been using my learnings from coursework and research in Asian Studies in my current PhD research in kidney transplantation

My supervisor, Dr. Sunera Thobani, has been a great source of support and inspiration throughout my journey as a MA student. I am fortunate to have learned so many great research skills from my supervisor and the professors I worked with as a teaching assistant. I am grateful for these valuable experiences.


Specialization: Persian

Thesis title: The religion of love (Mazhab-e 'Ishq) in the time of colonialism: contradictory articulations of vernacular literary style in eighteenth century India

Supervisor: Drs Naveena Naqvi and Hasan Siddiqui

Asian Studies allowed me to explore ideas from history, literary studies, and religious studies without disciplinary boundaries and encouraged me to bring various methods into my research. One of the best things about the program was the sustained one on one interaction I had with my research supervisors. The conversations I had with them gave me the space to discuss and explore ideas which ended up being vital for my research. Overall, the program has broadened my intellectual vision and opened the door for me to explore new ideas, fields, and scholars even after graduating.

I'm incredibly grateful for all the wonderful people in the department who made my journey through graduate school so much easier. I never had to worry about the myriad of administrative procedures and technical requirements that came up during these two years because the staff was always there to guide me through them. Tina Wong, especially, has been the most reliable source of support from the get-go. I’m also really grateful to Professor Christina Yi who always looked out for all grad-students and created opportunities for us to work within the department. Finally, I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with two brilliant and encouraging research supervisors, Professors Naveena Naqvi and Hasan Siddiqui who I have learnt so much from.

Bachelor’s degree

Major in Asian Area Studies

The importance of Asian Studies is realizing how the vibrant and diverse cultures of the region often intersect, collide, and interact with each other. As someone who focuses on East Asian Area Studies, I found that regional studying allows me not only to comprehensively look at languages, literature, and history of East Asian states but also how identities are shaped under the states and cultural interactions. Being able to work and study East Asia, I can abandon the preconceived knowledge and look back at my culture academically and neutrally. Also, the academic resources and mentorship that the department offered helped me to discover my interests in gender and literature studies of East Asia.

I am thankful for having mentors who guide me academically, encourage me to progress spontaneously, and provide me with chances that I could discover and improve my ability. I am thankful for having peers who are friendly and inclusive. The working and in-class experience I shared with them made me enjoy my academic life. Some of us had also become friends in life. I am also thankful for having family and family of choice who always love hearing about the knowledge I learned from studying about Asia. And I appreciate that they told me that my sharing had shed new light on their lives. I am thankful because they allow me to experience the joy of giving.

Major in Asian Area Studies

Asian Studies is a broad discipline spanning history, culture, language, philosophy, religious studies and I am certain intelligent students could add more categories to that list. These categories are not profitable in our current consumerist society but they remain important. The study of history and culture is an endless endeavour as our modern society changes so does our way of looking at the past, we can re-reflect on the place of marginalized communities in pre-modern Asia or focus on the religious practices of poor farmers rather than scholar monks. The relationship of where we see our modern society going and how we read the past is interdependent.

My goal was and is to pursue graduate studies in Buddhist Studies and I am grateful to every professor that offered advice or a reference to aid me in my academic career. I am certain that all those professors had papers to mark and their own research to attend to but they always made time for me. Without their help I could not possibly continue in academia.