Doctoral Students

Baxter, Joshua
Modern Japanese History  

Joshua received his B.A. from Redeemer University College (2004) in History (Honours) and his M.A. in East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto (2008).  His PhD research focuses on the emergence of the state, state religion, and the economy in the Meiji period in connection with the history of Yasukuni Shrine. His research interests include urban development, political economy, religious rituals and labour history. In 2009 he went to Japan to further his research with support from the Dr. David Chu Scholarship in Asian Studies. In 2013-3014 he held a Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Doctoral Fellowship to undertake research at the University of Tokyo.

Chen, Xi
Chinese Literature

Chen Xi is a PhD student in modern Chinese literature. She received her B. A.(2006) and M.A.(2009) from Tsinghua University, Beijing. Her research interests include women’s writing and nationalist literature in the 1930s and 40s, and urbanism in contemporary China.

Cheng, Wen YinCheng
Chinese Archaeology

Wen Yin is a PhD student in Chinese archaeology. She received her BA in Anthropology from Laurentain University and completed her MSc in Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Materials from the Institute of Archaeology in University College London. Her study of interest encompasses First Nations pottery, Chinese Neolithic to Bronze Age pottery, as well as ancient Chinese armour use and production from Qin dynasty (221-206 BC) to Han dynasty (206BC – 220AD).

Jeong, SeongpilSeongpil_Jeong(profile)

Seongpil Jeong is a first year Ph.D student in the Dept. of East Asian Studies. He is interested in the modern history of Korea as well as Marxist theories and postcolonial studies. Specifically, he wants to scrutinize the governmentality of post/colonial Korea, focusing on the relationship between subalterns and the state. He is also interested in the intellectual and cultural history of socialism in East Asia.

Kaygusuz, Banu
Japanese History, Visual Culture   

Banu Kaygusuz is a PhD student in Japanese history and visual culture. She received her B.A. and History at Bogazici University. She was an exchange student at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, as well as a research student at Keio University. Her research focuses on the politics of photography from a multidisciplinary perspective. Her M.A. thesis (“Representing Japan in the Photography Collection of Abdulhamid II”) incorporates research conducted in both the Ottoman archives and the archives in Japan, and elaborates on the transnational exchange of photographic technologies, and representation strategies. The comparative approach to socio-cultural aspects of Meiji Japan and the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire embodies her historical perspective.

Kim, Sungjo   

Sungjo Kim is a Ph.D. candidate in the Dept. of East Asian Studies. He is interested in the modern and contemporary history of Korea; specifically the capitalist reconfiguration of time and space after the Korean War, focusing on the agricultural movements during the Park Chung Hee regime. He is also interested in the intellectual and cultural history of socialism in Korea from the colonial period to the 1950s. 

Ko, Sun Ho   

Sunho is a PhD candidate in modern Korean history. His broad interest is to think about modernity, capitalism, and colonialism in the context of 20th-century Korean history. In particular, he is interested in the circulation of rice in the Japanese empire with a focus on how Colonial Korea was integrated into the empire. He holds a B.A. degree in Korean history from Seoul National University and an M.A. degree in East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto.  

Lau, Jennifer Junwa

Jennifer studied English Literature and East Asian Studies in her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto (2009), and went on to pursue her Master’s degree at the National Taiwan University in 2010. She has always been intrigued by issues of translation and print culture. Her current research focuses on Chinese Canadian diaspora and history.

Lee, Do Kyung Tina
Korean Cultural History   

Tina Lee received a BA in English from York University (2002), a BFA in Art and the History of Art from Concordia University (2005) and an MA in the History of Art, supported by a Commonwealth Scholarship, from SOAS (2006). Her MA thesis explored the relationship between celadon and aristocratic statehood in the Goryeo dynasty. As a PhD student, her research interests include the historiography of Korea, cultural heritage and the aesthetics of faith.

Li, Yanfei
Modern Chinese Literature   

Yanfei Li is a Ph.D. candidate in modern and contemporary Chinese literature. She did her B.A. in comparative literature and cultural studies, Tsinghua University, Beijing (2005) and finished her M.A. courses there in comparative literature and world literatures (2007). She researched on modernism, postcolonialism, translation, and the cultural making of a modern nation in China in the 1930s. Now she is studying China’s modern urban history and China’s urbanscape in literature and films.

Liu, Shasha Liu

Shasha Liu is a PhD student in modern Chinese culture and art. She received her B.A.(2008) and M.A.(2011) in Art History from Tianjin Academy of Fine arts. She also holds a Master degree in Art History from University of Toronto (2011). Her research interest lies in foreign explorers at Mogao caves (The caves of Thousands Buddhas) in Dunhuang during Republican period.

Machek, David
Chinese and Greek Philosophy   

Received his M.A. in Sinology and (Western) Philosophy at Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic). Fields of interest are Chinese philosophy (from Warring States to Tang), ancient Greek ethics (particularly Aristotle and Stoics), and medieval Chinese poetry (particularly from the philosophical point of view). Currently, he is working on a study focusing on the notion of freedom in Daoist and Stoic philosophy    

McConaghy, Mark F.
Modern Chinese Cultural History   

My work is motivated by a desire to understand how various cultural forms can be mobilized to bring into being new configurations of collective life. How can an aesthetic work operate within a given cultural context to foster radically different forms of consciousness? What, finally, does it mean to talk about “cultural revolution,” both as an historical phenomenon and a contemporary political problem? Such questions have compelled me to study the cultural dimensions of modern Chinese nationalism, socialism, and capitalism. Recently, I have been researching Chinese nativist literature of the 1920s (乡土文学) and its relationship to emerging concepts of nationhood, revolution, and utopia. In order to conduct such research I was recently awarded a Joseph-Armand Bombardier SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship.

Michielson, Edwin 


Edwin Michielsen is a PhD student in Modern East Asian Literature. He received his BA and MA in Japanese studies from Leiden University. His current research is tentatively called “Envisioning an International Community: Proletarian Arts in East Asia” and deals with articulations of trans- and internationalism in proletarian literary and cultural movements in East Asia and Russia during the 1920s and 1930s.

Osenton, Sara   

Sara Osenton is currently writing her dissertation on contemporary Japanese art. Sara also completed her MA at the University of Toronto in East Asian Studies, and prior to that attained a BFA in visual arts from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and a BA in Japanese Studies from UBC. Her research interests include hybridity, post-humans (robots and cyborgs), multi-temporality, Zenga, avant- garde art and parody.

Pan, Gang
Modern Chinese Literature   

I studied Chinese literature in Capital Normal University and worked for a literary magazine in Beijing before I came to the University of Toronto. My research interests include modern Chinese literature, sexual diversity studies, and cyberculture studies. I’m writing my dissertation on gay fiction on the internet in China.

Poborsa, James D.Poborsa
Contemporary Chinese Art   

James’ doctoral research focuses on contemporary Chinese art, art theory, and the intellectual history of modern and contemporary China. His doctoral dissertation examines contemporary Chinese photography from the late 1970s until the present, with a focus on the relationship between photographic theory and practice, and the intellectual and cultural politics of the period. He has previously taught modern and contemporary East Asian art in the Department of Art, and modern Chinese history in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. James has also given numerous public lectures, including a series of talks on contemporary Chinese art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in tandem with the Ai Weiwei exhibit According to What? in 2013. He holds an M.A. in East Asian Studies (2009), and a B.A. (Hons.) in Economics and Philosophy (2005), both from the University of Toronto. He was a senior visiting scholar at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou (2013-2014), and will be a visiting doctoral researcher in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Tsinghua University during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Wang, Jing
Modern Japanese Literature   

Jing Wang is a Ph.D candidate in modern Japanese literature. Jing received her B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature and M.A. in Comparative Literature from Tsinghua University (Beijing). Her research concerns the mutually formative relationship between urban space and literary representations in early 20th-century Japan. She is currently writing her dissertation titled “Urban Space and Modern Japanese Literature within the Context of Colonial Modernity.”

Wen, Yuyu wen

Yu Wen is a first year PhD student in pre-modern Chinese literature. She received her B.A. (2012) from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature in Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou and M.A. (2014) in East Asian Studies from Arizona State University in United States. Her research interest lies in classical poetry 3rdd through 11th century, especially banquet poetry and poems concerning music. Currently she is focusing on sensory studies on the “Han and Meng Poetry School” (韓孟詩派) in late Tang period, poet Li He (李賀) in particular. She is also interested in performance literature, as medieval Chinese performance texts and narratives.

Yo, Yvonne Jia-Raye

Jia-Raye is a first year PhD. student. She received her BA from Tsinghua University, Beijing (2010) in Chinese Literature and Langangue, and her MA degree in East Asian Studies from University of Toronto (2012). Jia-Raye’s current research interest is in Literary Translation Theories in modern China, especially focusing on Qian Zhongshu and other scholars in early 1900s.

Zhang, Yuanfang

Yuanfang Zhang is a PhD student in modern East Asian history. He holds BA degrees from Peking University and Waseda University received in 2008, majoring in international relations; and received a MA degree in University of Victoria in 2012. He studied Marxist criticism of capitalist political economy, and modern Chinese and Japanese histories. He is currently working on Japanese immigrants in China in the beginning years of postwar period.