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The Faculty of Arts at UBC brings together the best of quantitative research, humanistic inquiry, and artistic expression to advance a better world. Graduate students in the Faculty of Arts create and disseminate knowledge in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Creative and Performing Arts through teaching, research, professional practice, artistic production, and performance.

Arts has more than 25 academic departments, institutes, and schools as well as professional programs, more than 15 interdisciplinary programs, a gallery, a museum, theatres, concert venues, and a performing arts centre. Truly unique in its scope, the Faculty of Arts is a dynamic and thriving community of outstanding scholars – both faculty and students. 

Here, our students explore cutting-edge ideas that deepen our understanding of humanity in an age of scientific and technological discovery. Whether Arts scholars work with local communities, or tackle issues such as climate change, world music, or international development, their research has a deep impact on the local and international stage.

The disciplinary and multi-disciplinary approaches in our classrooms, labs, and cultural venues inspire students to apply their knowledge both to and beyond their specialization. Using innovation and collaborative learning, our graduate students create rich pathways to knowledge and real connections to global thought leaders.


Research Facilities

UBC Library has extensive collections, especially in Arts, and houses Canada’s greatest Asian language library. Arts graduate programs enjoy the use of state-of-the-art laboratories, the world-renowned Museum of Anthropology and the Belkin Contemporary Art Gallery (admission is free for our graduate students). World-class performance spaces include theatres, concert venues and a performing arts centre. 

Since 2001, the Belkin Art Gallery has trained young curators at the graduate level in the Critical and Curatorial Studies program in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory. The Master of Arts program addresses the growing need for curators and critics who have theoretical knowledge and practical experience in analyzing institutions, preparing displays and communicating about contemporary art.

The MOA Centre for Cultural Research (CCR) undertakes research on world arts and cultures, and supports research activities and collaborative partnerships through a number of spaces, including research rooms for collections-based research, an Ethnology Lab, a Conservation Lab, an Oral History and Language Lab supporting audio recording and digitization, a library, an archive, and a Community Lounge for groups engaged in research activities. The CCR includes virtual services supporting collections-based research through the MOA CAT Collections Online site that provides access to the Museum’s collection of approximately 40,000 objects and 80,000 object images, and the Reciprocal Research Network (RRN) that brings together 430,000 object records and associated images from 19 institutions.

Research Highlights

The Faculty of Arts at UBC is internationally renowned for research in the social sciences, humanities, professional schools, and creative and performing arts.

As a research-intensive faculty, Arts is a leader in the creation and advancement of knowledge and understanding. Scholars in the Faculty of Arts form cross-disciplinary partnerships, engage in knowledge exchange, and apply their research locally and globally.

Arts faculty members have won Guggenheim Fellowships, Humboldt Fellowships, and major disciplinary awards. We have had 81 faculty members elected to the Royal Society of Canada, and several others win Killam Prizes, Killam Research Fellowships, Emmy Awards, and Order of Canada awards. In addition, Arts faculty members have won countless book prizes, national disciplinary awards, and international disciplinary awards. 

External funding also signifies the research success of our faculty. In the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the Faculty of Arts received $34.6 million through over 900 research projects. Of seven UBC SSHRC Partnership Grants awarded to-date, six are located in Arts, with a combined investment of $15 million over the term of the grants.

Since the 2011 introduction of the SSHRC Insight Grants and SSHRC Insight Development Grants programs, our faculty’s success rate has remained highly stable, and is consistently higher than the national success rate.

Graduate Degree Programs

Research Supervisors in Faculty

or browse the list of faculty members in various academic units. You may click each unit to view faculty members appointed in that unit. View the full faculty member directory for more search and filter options.
Name Academic Unit(s) Research Interests
Kuhn, McKenzie Department of Geography response of boreal-Arctic ecosystems to climate; exchange of carbon and greenhouse gases between freshwaters, plants, soils, and the atmosphere; influence of disturbances and management on freshwater carbon and nutrient cycling; interactions of between northern freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems and global change
Kunz, Nadja School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering Mining engineering; Public administration; Public policy; Public security policy; Decision Analysis; Environmental engineering; Hydrology; Risk management; Systems engineering; water resources management
Kuus, Merje Department of Geography transnational regulatory practices in contemporary Europe, but the empirical focus undergirds a broader interest in knowledge and power, structure and agency, in bureaucratic and policy-making settings; political identity, subject-formation, and center-periphery relations, especially in contemporary Europe
Kwakkel, Erik School of Information Archival, repository and related studies; Library science and information studies; Codicology; History of Libraries; History of the Book; Medieval Manuscripts; Paleography; History of Reading
la Selva, Samuel Department of Political Science Political theory, legal philosophy
Lachance, Lindsay Department of Theatre & Film Indigenous approaches to developing Indigenous theatre
Laffin, Christina Department of Asian Studies Humanities and the arts; premodern Japanese literature; medieval Japanese history; women's writing; Japanese women's history; travel writing; autobiography; Japanese poetry; Literacy; socialization; wet nursing; narratology
Lagresa-González, Elizabeth Department of French, Hispanic & Italian Studies Humanities and the arts; Early modern Literature and Culture; Early modern Theater; Early modern Visual and Material culture; Queer, Gender and Sexuality studies; Cross-cultural and Comparative studies
Lague, Marysa Department of Geography Water, Ice, Landscapes; Climate: Science, Change, Action
Lahiri, Amartya Vancouver School of Economics Exchange rates and monetary policy, growth and development, international economics, macroeconomics, and development economics
Laird, Colleen Department of Asian Studies Japanese media and gender studies; Gendered image production, gendered reception, and women in industry; Video games, new media, streaming media, animation (anime), and comics (manga); Paratexts: distribution, exhibition, and production materials; Film theory, genre theory, transnational cinemas and star texts, and feminist and queer theory
Langager, Graeme School of Music choral conducting
Laroussi, Farid Department of French, Hispanic & Italian Studies Contemporary French studies, Maghreb literature(s) in French and postcolonial studies
Lauer, Sean Department of Sociology Urban sociology and community studies
Laurin, Kristin Department of Psychology Social psychology; Psychology of social class; Political psychology; Rationalization and system justification; Morality
Lauster, Nathanael Department of Sociology Population, Housing, Urban Studies, Crowding, Home & Housing, Technology & Environment, City Building & Regulation, Family, Demography, Health
Law, Hedy School of Music Opera; eighteenth-century French music; opera; pantomime; dance; gesture; sign; the Enlightenment; Cantonese music; Cantonese opera; Cantonese songs; tone language; global Cantonese music; global music history; gender and sexuality; music and race
le Billon, Philippe School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, Department of Geography Geography, politics, africa, environmental, human geography, development, security
Leavitt, Sarah School of Creative Writing Autobiographical comics; Formal experimentation in comics; Comics pedagogy
Lee, Barbara School of Social Work
Lee, Nancy School of Creative Writing Fiction; Creative Writing
Lee, Christopher Department of English Language and Literatures Asian North American literatures and cultures, Asian diaspora studies, American Studies, race and ethnicity, aesthetic philosophy, critical theory
Lee, Steven Hugh Department of History Cold war
Lemieux, Thomas Vancouver School of Economics labour market issues, Applied, labour, earnings inequality in Canada and other countries I am also interested in econometric methods used to analyze the earnings distribution and regression discontinuity designs
Lemieux, Victoria School of Information Archival, repository and related studies; Library science and information studies; Blockchain technology; information visualization and visual analytics; International development; Records and information management; Risk management; Transparency and the public interest (in public sector and financial contexts); Trustworthy records


Recent Publications

This is an incomplete sample of recent publications in chronological order by UBC faculty members with a primary appointment in the Faculty of Arts.


Recent Thesis Submissions

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation Program
2023 Dr. Lok studied whether people avoid talking to strangers because they underestimate other people's willingness to connect. Her work led to the development of an actionable framework that outlines the conditions that need to be met before strangers decide to engage with each other. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2023 Dr. Castaneda studied narratives and aesthetics in 21st century Colombian films that challenged the longstanding invisibility of Afro-Colombian subjects. Her analysis helps in increasing awareness of anti-racist trends and the struggle to democratize the film representation regime in which the White/Mestizo aesthetics remains dominant. Doctor of Philosophy in Hispanic Studies (PhD)
2023 Dr. Fabris' dissertation focused on the Piikani Nation's attempts to challenge the construction of the Oldman River Dam in the 1980s/1990s. His research findings draw attention to the continued limits of reconciling Indigenous law with Canadian law without addressing the implications of Indigenous jurisdiction. Doctor of Philosophy in Geography (PhD)
2023 In languages, meaningful words and signs consist of meaningless units, or phonemes. Dr. Tkachman shows how phonemes could emerge from embodied motivations in language evolution. Her research brings together linguistics and cognitive science and demonstrates profound consequences of embodiment in communication and cognition. Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics (PhD)
2023 Dr. Zimmermann reviewed how modern German-language literature challenges views of refugees as problems that threaten European liberal nation-states. Texts can illustrate that neither European citizens nor refugees are permanent outsiders or insiders to a place. The findings are relevant for literary discourses on the categorization of migrants. Doctor of Philosophy in Germanic Studies (PhD)
2023 Dr. Cheng studied the social construction of personal identity. Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy (PhD)
2023 Dr. Maslany investigated how affective valence influences visual attention scope. She examined the theory that positive valence broadens attention scope, and negative valence narrows it. In 5 experiments, she found no evidence for the theory. Thus, she proposed limits under which the influence of valence on visual attention scope does not occur. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2023 Dr. Cooke studied the practice of oboists giving the tuning-A in historical and contemporary orchestras. She found that oboists see tuning as not only a practical tool, but as a musical solo which can inspire other musical works like John Corigliano's Concerto. This research illuminates the history and beauty of an often-overlooked tradition. Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Instrument (DMA)
2023 Dr. Skeeter investigated how greenhouse gases move into and out of two Arctic ecosystems with permafrost soils in the Mackenzie Delta Region using field observations and machine learning models Doctor of Philosophy in Geography (PhD)
2023 Dr. Perez Montelongo studied South African photography since the 1960s, with a focus on black and white analog technologies. She investigated photographic practices that put a question mark on colonial ideas about the genre of landscape photography, both in South Africa and beyond. Her dissertation expanded the scope of the history of photography. Doctor of Philosophy in Art History (PhD)