Xi Chen is a Ph.D candidate in modern Chinese literature and cultural history. She received her B. A.(2006) and M.A.(2009) from Tsinghua University, Beijing. Her research focuses on the discursive formation of species, and particularly an inquiry into the concept of the animal (dongwu) and its relations with the human subjectivity in the 20th century China. She is currently writing her dissertation tentatively entitled with “The Question of the Animal in the 20th Century Chinese Cultures” with the support from the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation Doctoral Fellowship (2015-16).
Cheng, Wen Yin
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).
Modern Japanese History, Marxist Theory
Jeremy received his B.A. in History and Classical Studies (2008) and M.A. in History (2012) from the University of Ottawa. He studied philosophy for two years as a research student at the University of Tokyo from 2011. His current research examines the financing and construction of railways in Japan’s northern expansion, from Hokkaido to Manchuria, and the means by which labour was recruited and managed in the process of construction. His research interests include political economy, historical theory, colonial and racial subjectivities, labour struggles, and the emergence of state power.
In 2015 Jeremy was awarded a SHHRC Doctoral Fellowship in support of his research. He is also a supporter of labour and community activism in Toronto.
Seongpil Jeong is a Ph.D student in the Dept. of East Asian Studies. He is interested in the modern Korean history as well as critical theories around postcolonial studies. Specifically, he wants to scrutinize the governmentality of post/colonial Korea, focusing on the relationship between subalterns and ‘developmental’ projects by the state. He is also interested in the intellectual and cultural history of historical socialisms and nationalisms in East Asia.
Alexandra Jocic is a PhD student in Japanese and former Yugoslavian literature and history, though she enjoys liaisons with the anthropology department from time to time. She earned her BA in Psychology and the Humanities, and her MA in Japanese and European Literature from York University. For her dissertation, she is researching the supernatural in late 19th and early 20th century Japanese and Balkan fiction and its relationship to genocide and other forms of mass violence in modernity. She has received an Ontario Graduate Scholarship and has twice been a recipient of the Dr. David Chu Scholarship to conduct research in Japan. She is also a Gemini and loves red velvet cupcakes.
Japanese History, Visual Culture
Banu Kaygusuz is a PhD student in Japanese history and visual culture. She received her B.A. and M.A.in 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.
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.
Jennifer received her Hons. B.A. in English Literature and East Asian Studies (2009) and M.A. in East Asian Studies (2010) at the University of Toronto. Since then, she has conducted extended research in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Taiwan for her dissertation project, which studies imaginations of Canada in Chinese texts during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Jennifer is a recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Doctoral Fellowship, Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master’s Scholarship, and was a Canadian Studies Graduate Fellow at the University of Toronto’s University College.
Tina Do Kyung Lee holds a BA in English (York University), a BFA in the History of Art (Concordia University), and an MA in the History of Art (SOAS, University of London). Her MA thesis explored the relationship between celadon and aristocratic statehood in the Koryo dynasty. Looking at South Korea in the 1980’s, her doctoral dissertation considers the concept of the private individual and its staging in the form of the home interior. For this she is drawing on a miscellany of sources that include lifestyle magazines, paintings, short stories, furniture and floorplans. Most recently, her studies have received funding from a SSHRC doctoral award.
Modern Chinese Literature
Trained in comparative literature and cultural studies, I take interest in Chinese literature and films, history of Chinese cities, and philosophy of language and space. My dissertation studies the decline of vernacular space in China represented by the disappearance of Beijing alleyways and courtyard houses in the past three decades. Viewing the disappearance of vernacular architectural forms as a significant but understudied phenomenon in the transformation of Chinese post-socialist cities, my research reveals the epistemic shifts and cultural atmosphere in literature, architecture, planning, and policies that play a part in such decline. In addition, I have interest in urban cultural topics such as cities in literature, the cultural construction of Chinese heritage, and the production of independent documentaries as part of the civil society movement in contemporary China. I also teach courses in Chinese literature, history of modern and contemporary Chinese cities, and all levels of modern Chinese language.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Poborsa, James D.
Modern Chinese History
James’ doctoral research examines the intellectual, political, and cultural history of modern China, with a specific focus on the relationship between photography, political change, and theories of realist representation. His dissertation, entitled Staging the Future: The Politics of Photographic Representation in Postsocialist China, examines the development of documentary and conceptual photography in relation to the broader intellectual and cultural politics of postsocialist China, and explores the historical nexus of debates concerning realist representation, political liberalisation, and the visual representation of social change among academics, photo critics, and photographers since 1976. He has taught multiple courses on the history, politics, culture, and art of modern East Asia, and was previously a visiting doctoral researcher in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Tsinghua University (2014-2015), and senior visiting scholar at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou (2013-2014).
Kristin Sivak is a PhD candidate in Japanese Literature and received her B.A. in the same from Boston University in 2011. She is currently writing her dissertation on the role of servants in early 20th century Japanese literature with a focus on the ways in which the narratological function of character might open new avenues for rethinking issues of personhood from within the spaces between presence, presentation, and representation. She has received an Ontario Graduate Scholarship Visa Award in support of her work at the University of Toronto and a Japan Foundation Fellowship for a year of research at Hokkaido University in Japan.
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.”
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 3rd 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.
Ruoyang is a PhD student in Chinese philosophy. He received his B.A. (2012) from the Department of Religion and Philosophy in Hong Kong Baptist University and M.A. (2015) from the Division of Humanities in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His current academic interest lies in comparative philosophy between China and the West, focusing on the study of emotion. He is also interested in Chinese history (especially the Song dynasty) and intellectual history.
Yvonne receives her B.A from Tshinghua University, Beijing and her M.A. from East Asian Studies at University of Toronto. Her current research interest is on the concept of landscape in modern Taiwanese literature, particularly in modern poetry. She is also interested in topics such as modernity, neo-Confucianism, and eco-poetics.
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.