At UBC, I teach courses on Canadian and global imperial/comparative colonial history. In the 2020-2021 academic year, I am teaching four undergraduate courses:

ACAM 300 – Not Just Past: Asian Canadian Histories for Our Times (listed as “Dis/Orienting Asian Canada” in SSC; term 1)

  • What do Asian Canadian histories have to do with the present? What good can historical knowledge, understanding, and thinking do now? Driven by these questions, ACAM 300 is an Asian Canadian history course for our times. We will explore how Asian Canadian histories are portrayed and used in a range of contexts today – from scholarship and textbooks to political apologies and media coverage, from films and museum exhibits to community festivals and family stories. We will consider what role these diverse historical representations play in the present. And we will develop our own ideas about what other histories need to be told about people of Asian descent in northern North America, and explore how and why we might do so. Overall, you can expect to learn about some important topics in Asian Canadian history; understand why these histories – and how they are told – matter today; build skills related to digital and ethical community-engaged historical work; and, in the process, contribute to histories that can make a difference in our times. No pre-requisites or co-requisites required.
  • There is no cost for textbooks in this course.

HIST 304 – Researching Local History from the Ground Up (term 1)

  • Are you interested in learning how to conduct historical research? Are you wondering how to conduct good historical research for online courses in particular? Do you want to make new discoveries or uncover new stories about a local community? Are you wondering how you can connect your History courses with the wider world, or hoping to use your studies to contribute to public knowledge about the past? HIST 304 is a practical course designed around these priorities. Through lectures, discussions, activities, and assignments – all designed around unique opportunities to conduct hands-on historical research – the course will introduce local history as a field of study, build your research skills, and offer you the chance to investigate a local history topic and design related teaching resources.
  • Students will not be required to attend any real-time classes in this course; all required learning materials and activities will be accessible and completed asynchronously online, with optional virtual drop-in sessions held during the scheduled class time on Thursdays. There is no cost for textbooks in this course.

HIST 305 – History of British Columbia (term 2)

  • The history of British Columbia is all around us. HIST 305 examines the events and processes that have made this place, with a particular focus on the late eighteenth century to the present. Key themes include colonialism and migration; the role of race, gender, class, and sexuality in shaping British Columbia and different people’s experiences of it; power, protest, and the making of a modern state; and British Columbia’s relationship with Canada and the world. The course also places a strong emphasis on investigating and understanding this place through original historical sources, and reflecting on how the past continues to shape British Columbia and our lives here today.
  • There are no textbook costs in this course.

HIST 420 – High and Dry: Drugs in Canadian History (listed as “Topics in Canadian History” in SSC, term 2).

  • How can studying the past help us to understand drugs and their place in Canada today, from the recent legalization of cannabis to the current opioid crisis to the idea of “Dry January” and beyond? This question drives HIST 420, which examines the history of drugs in Canada since 1867. Focusing on a wide range of drugs – alcohol, amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, LSD, opium, oral contraception, tobacco, and more! – we will explore the social, cultural, political, and legal histories of such drugs, the people who have used them, and their changing meanings, regulation, and (de)criminalization over time in northern North America. Major themes will include the relationship between ideas about drugs, identity, the law, and policing; changing understandings of use, treatment, and addiction; and tensions between personal experiences, social meanings, popular culture, and medical, legal, and political approaches to different drugs. In addition to lectures, discussions, activities, and assignments, the course places a particular emphasis on learning through historical film, from drama, comedy, and documentary to media coverage and raw historical footage.
  • There are no textbook costs in this course.

As an instructor, I am committed to teaching that is clear, transparent, and broadly accessible; rooted in genuine care and inflected with enthusiasm; attentive to the importance of representation; and focused not only what we are learning but also why it matters. My courses are always designed with the intention of equipping students to succeed in the course itself, and to build meaningful take-away lessons – knowledge, understanding, skills, and questions – that can continue to grow and resonate after term is over. I also seek to create unique hands-on opportunities for students to be historians, slowing down the often-rapid pace of university courses in order to immerse ourselves in the real unresolved mysteries and detective work of historical research.

I am excited to bring these priorities into my two courses in fall 2020, which will both be offered online. If you are a student in these courses, you can continue to expect my commitment to clarity, transparency, and teaching and learning that matters; my supportive, responsive, and respectful engagement with you; and my focus on reducing barriers to learning so that you can do the work you’ve come to do!

I am honoured to have won the Killam Teaching Prize in 2018.

You can find a range of my previous syllabi here.


At the graduate and undergraduate levels, I supervise students working on a range of topics that relate to histories of British Columbia or Canada, settler colonialism and empire, gender, race, and/or migration.

Current graduate students:

  • Nicole Yakashiro (PhD), settler colonialism in British Columbia.
  • Georgia Twiss (MA), gender, settler colonialism, and the May Day Parade in New Westminster.

Former graduate students:

  • Nicole Yakashiro, MA, 2017-2019. Thesis: “Daffodils as Property: Settler Colonial Renewal and the Dispossession of Nikkei Farmers in the 1940s.” Now in the History PhD program at UBC.
  • Dane Allard, MA (co-supervised with Paige Raibmon), 2017-2019. Thesis: “Weaving and Baking Nation: The Recognition Politics of the Métis Sash and Bannock in the 1990s.” Now in the History PhD program at UBC.
  • Devin Eeg, MA, 2015-2017. Thesis: “Race, Labour, and the Architecture of White Jobs: Chinese Labour in British Columbia’s Salmon Canning Industry, 1871-1941.” Now in the Law program at UBC.

Current graduate committees:

  • Meghan Longstaffe, PhD (History), “Gendered Precarity and the Politics of Care: Home and Homelessness in Downtown Eastside Vancouver, 1960s-1980s.”
  • Henry John, PhD (History), radical environmentalism and the “War In the Woods,” 1980-2000.
  • Emmett Chan, MA (Asian Studies), Tenrikyo in Vancouver.
  • Haruho Kubota, MA (Educational Studies), “Japanese Canadians and their Pursuit of Teaching Professions in B.C. Public Schools, 1901-42.”

Former graduate committees:

  • Rosalynd Boxall, MA (History), “The Settler Colonial Paradox of T.C. Douglas and the CCF in Saskatchewan, 1945-1962.”
  • Michael Buse, MA (History), “‘The Shrine of their Memory’: Settler Colonialism and the Construction of American Heritage at Metini-Fort Ross, 1845-1906.”

PhD comprehensive exam fields supervised:

  • Global histories of empire, (settler) colonialism, and/or decolonization.
  • Canadian history.
  • History of the North American West.

Former Honours students:

  • Laura Moberg, “Writing Respectability: Gender, Race, and Class in the Travel Journal of Susannah Weynton, 1949-1851.”
  • Beulah Lee, “Writing Chinese Canadian Resistance: Expressions of Cultural Hybridity, Identity, and Belonging in the Chinatown News, 1953-66.”
  • Alice Gorton, “Civilized, Roughly: Gender, Race, and the Politics of Leisure in the Cariboo Gold Rush, 1860-1871.”
  • Anna Gooding, “Policing Women: Clubswomen, Policewomen, and Delinquent Girls in Vancouver, 1910-1930.”
  • Catherine Read, “Feminine Futures: Maternal Authority in the Early Years of The Girl’s Own Paper, 1880-1882.”
  • Lindsey Moore, “Contested Historical Terrain: A Consideration of the Settler Narratives of Powell River, 1960-2002.”
  • Benjamin Lewis, “The Language of British Abolitionism: Evangelicalism and the Middle Class, 1787-1807.”


Finally, I have also undertaken teaching-related work beyond my course load and supervisory responsibilities. Most notably, this included the intensive research-training program for undergraduate students that I designed and ran at UBC from 2014 to 2017 with external funding. Called the “Gold Rush Program,” this provided an opportunity for nine outstanding undergraduate History students during the summer months. Students hired into my “lab” received close training, mentorship, and experience in historical research methodologies, while working with archival sources related to British Columbia’s mid-nineteenth-century gold rushes and developing their knowledge of this specific topic. Throughout the summers, students focused on the collection, transcription, and description of archival materials; they also received training and experience in public history writing, and wrote short pieces on their research findings and experiences for the project website (to follow).