Yao Xiao

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Active Chinese Canadian citizenship and the public pedagogy of pride
Handel Wright

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I pursue graduate studies so that I will see social issues in more critical eyes and act accordingly. Choosing the program of educational studies, I want to scrutinize and critique aspects of societies that impart oppressive knowledge, and I intend to use my knowledge to initiate justice-based community practices in both China and Canada. Translating learning into human integrity and empowerment is my academic as well as personal mission.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC has a reputation for its world-class academic environment, wonderful campus, and a welcoming milieu of cultural diversity. The established partnership between UBC and a wide range of institutions across Asia Pacific attract me as a student interested in Chinese-Canadian studies. All of these make UBC the ideal place for my graduate studies.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

Graduate life at UBC has given me lots of good surprises - the beaches and forests within easy walking distance, the Museum of Anthropology, and the rich resources in the Asian library. I also enjoy life in Vancouver, especially the diverse food cultures, the convenient public transport system, and the bicycle-friendly design throughout the city.

What do you hope to accomplish with your research?

I hope this research will speak critically to the political recognitions of Chinese identities in Canada, and shed light on the pedagogical possibilities of active Chinese Canadian citizenship in relation to the multicultural discourse. More specifically I intend to narrate the ambiguous feelings, ideas and imaginaries of pride, streaming historically and spatially through power relations that not only reify Chinese identities but also motivate active Chinese Canadian citizenship today and beyond.

What has winning a major award meant to you?

Winning this award is a distinct achievement in my academic life, and a great encouragement for my further research endeavors. It affirms the importance of my research, and I am now better positioned to study and explore resources on Chinese Canadian citizenship.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Keep your mind open to the exciting diversity. Explore various kinds of natural beauty and cultural events.


Learn more about Yao's research

My research explores the political emotion of pride nested within/without Chinese Canadian identities in the city of Richmond, where ethnic minority Chinese become the majority. Speaking of pride carries substantial weight on the meanings of Chinese Canadian citizenship after a long history of struggles for recognition, especially in the present period when the discourse of Canadian multiculturalism is endowed with ever-renewed political malleability, while media talks on Chinese pride become highly susceptible to nationalistic tones and racial tensions. Positing pride as historical consciousness that informs reparative knowing of the past and forms the moral grammar of Chinese Canadian identities at present, this narrative research seeks to tell the life stories of Chinese community activists in Richmond and to map the cultural, historical and spatial textures which surround their lives.