Welcome the New Asian Studies Faculty for 2023/24!

With another academic year upon us, we’re excited to welcome new members to our Asian Studies family! Learn more about each of our new faculty below.

Yuqing Liu – Lecturer in Chinese Language and Literature

Dr. Yuqing Liu teaches courses on Chinese and Sinophone literature and culture. She received her B.A. from Fudan University, M.A. from National Taiwan University, and Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. At the heart of her teaching lies a deep-rooted passion for Chinese literature, especially its intricate relationship with other literary traditions worldwide. Her current research project explores the multifaceted dynamics of pidgin as portrayed in both Chinese and English literatures. Through the lens of pidgin, this research seeks to reconfigure understandings of translation, neologism, and language politics in modern China.

Alexandra Hoffmann – Assistant Professor in Classical Persian Literature and Culture

Dr. Alexandra Hoffmann is a scholar of Classical Persian Literature interested in gender & sexuality, embodiment, the history of emotions, and race/ethnicity in premodern Persianate literature and Perso-Islamicate culture. Her first book project examines the construction of masculinities in long narrative poems (masnavis) from the eleventh to the seventeenth century CE. She has also worked on gendered ethics in Persianate advice literature as well as its connection to the Global Medieval world.

Li Yang – Lecturer in Chinese Language

Li Yang received her B.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language from Zhejiang University, China and her M.A. in East Asian Studies and M.Ed in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Alberta. Before joining UBC, she had taught Chinese language courses for 15 years at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include Chinese pedagogy, Chinese teacher education, and study abroad education.

Kiran K. Sunar – Assistant Professor in Punjabi Language, Culture, and Literature

Kiran K. Sunar is the new Assistant Professor in Punjabi Language, Literature, and Culture. Kiran’s research and teaching coagulate around literature, religion, and culture in Punjab across its borders and into its diasporas, exploring questions of gender, sexuality, religion, and ecology. Their most recent work focuses on literary, visual, and performance traditions from early modern to contemporary cross-border Punjab and its diasporas. Their current major project traces the transformations of narrative and performance within the Sohnī Mahīnwāl story tradition, a ubiquitous, riverine tale about two lovers who die tragically in their quest to unite. In particular, Kiran takes a special focus on the intersections of religious transformation (across Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu continuities), ecology, and representations of gender and sexuality.

Xiaoqiao Xu – Lecturer in Modern Chinese Literature and Cinema

Dr. Xiaoqiao Xu’s research covers a wide range of topics, from late imperial China to modern China, with a particular focus on women’s literary and theatrical productions. Her work explores the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, and ethnicity, challenging the neatness of the contrast between the old and the new. Xiaoqiao analyzes female gazing and recurring objects, as well as female playwrights’ engagement with gender politics to gain a deeper understanding of the roles women played in Chinese society. In her current research, she examines women’s engagement with religion, particularly Buddhism and Daoism.

Ji-yoon An – Assistant Professor in Modern Korean Popular Culture

Dr. Ji-yoon An did an undergrad in Musicology, where she discovered her love for opera. Soon she learnt that her interest was in the visuals of the stage rather than the music itself. This led her to pursue a Masters in Film and Screen Culture, from which she continued onto a PhD focusing on Korean Cinema. Dr. An’s academic interests dwell mainly on Korea, where her primary focus is the relationship between (popular) culture and social changes. Since receiving her Ph.D. in the University of Cambridge, she gained experience teaching and researching in Germany, Singapore, and Hong Kong.