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
Wright, Matthew Department of Political Science Political science; American politics; Comparitive politics; immigration; Immigration Policy; migration; National identity; Political behaviour; Political psychology; public opinion
Wu, Helena Department of Asian Studies Critical identity, ethnic and race studies; Media, visual and digital culture; Critical film studies; Theories of cultural studies; Globalization and culture; Other cultural studies, n.e.c.; Hong Kong cinema, literature and culture; Asian screen cultures; Media narratives; Creative industry and spectatorship; Identity and cultural flows; critical theory; postcolonialism; Thing theory
Wylie, Alison Department of Philosophy Philosophy; feminist philosophy; philosophy of archaeology; philosophy of science; philosophy of the social and historial sciences; Philosophy, History and Comparative Studies; research ethics (non-medical); science studies
Wyly, Elvin Department of Geography Social and economic geography; Urban Spaces and Urbanity; Specialized Services (Housing, Transportation); gentrification; housing; the politics of data and quantitative methods; U.S. politics
Yan, Miu Chung School of Social Work Issues related to settlement and integration of immigrants and refugees, labour market experience of new generation youth from racial minority immigrant families, and community building roles and functions of neighbourhood-level place-based multiservice organizations
Yang, Renren Department of Asian Studies Comparitive Literature; Modern Chinese Popular Culture; 20th-and 21st-century Chinese culture; Modern Chinese literature; Modern Chinese cinema; Literary and media analysis; Literary celebrity and social media; Time-travel imagination in East Asia; Surveillance narrative and cinema; Communication in the age of digital culture
Yi, Christina Department of Asian Studies Asian history; Cultural Studies; genre; Japanese colonial repatriates; Language politics; Linguistic nationalism; Modern/Contemporary Japanese literature; National identity; Postcoloniality; Resident Koreans; “Repatriation literature” (hikiage bungaku); “returned” Nikkei
Yin, Shoufu Department of History East Asian, Eurasian, and global histories from about the eleventh to the seventeenth centuries, Political, social, and intellectual cultures
Yodanis, Carrie Department of Sociology Family, Marriage, Statistics
Yoo, Philip Department of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies
Yoon, Florence Department of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies heralds and the representation of the absent; anonymity and naming, particularly in Greek Tragedy; props and silent characters in Greek drama
Young, Mary-Lynn School of Journalism, Writing, and Media Sociology of the media, gender, media economics, representations, online news, media and crime, Internet
Yu, Henry Department of History Asian migration to Canada, Chinese Canadian, Asian Canadian, Chinese in British Columbia, multiculturalism, racism, Asian American history, sports and race, Chinatown, Head Tax, United States, Global Vancouver, Trans-Pacific migration, American intellectual history, Asian Canadian and Asian American history, race and immigration, social science and social theory in US and Europe
Zaiontz, Keren Department of Theatre & Film cultural and performance studies; critical creative industries; cinematic urbanism; participatory modes of spectatorship
Zeitlin, Michael Department of English Language and Literatures American literature, twentieth century and contemporary, Faulkner, Psychoanalysis, Vietnam, the Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan
Zeweri, Helena Department of Anthropology Anthropology; Mobility; migration; Critical refugee studies; settler colonialism; Anthropology of care, policy, social movements, empire
Zhang, Gaoheng Department of French, Hispanic & Italian Studies Intercultural and Ethnic Relationships; Cultural Exchanges; Migrations, Populations, Cultural Exchanges; Media and Society; Media Ethics; Media and Democratization; Migration Studies; Mobility Studies; Postcolonial Studies; Gender and Masculinity Studies; Race Theory; Film and Media Studies; Rhetoric and Communication Studies; Cultural Theory; Italian-Chinese relations; Italy's global networks; Modern and contemporary Italian literature and culture
Zhu, Jian Department of Linguistics Computational Linguistics, Natural Language Processing, Speech Sciences
Ziethen, Antje Department of French, Hispanic & Italian Studies African Literatures; Francophone Literatures and Cultures; Speculative fiction; (Urban) Space; Postcolonial Studies; Diaspora Studies; Transnationalism; Gender Studies; Modernity
Zuo, Mila Department of Theatre & Film Cinema & Media studies; film studies; Contemporary Asian and transnational cinemas; Film philosophy; Acting and performance studies; Star studies; Digital and new media; Critical theories of gender, sexuality, and race and ethnicity


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
2020 Dr. Jackson examined artist placements within industry and government in the U.K. and Western Europe from 1969-1976. Exploring themes of class, labor, time, and the political potential of art, Jackson proposed an alternative perspective of the relationship between art and politics during the 1960s and 1970s. Doctor of Philosophy in Art History (PhD)
2020 Dr. Snoddy studied regionalization in the labour market, particularly the effects of internal migration and union wage spillovers at the city level. He developed a new method of controlling for selection bias caused by internal migration, which uses machine learning tools to improve on existing methodologies. Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Ozburn examined generalizations about which sounds in some languages can be exempt from a process called HARMONY, in which vowel sounds within a word must match in some aspect of how they are pronounced. She argues that traditional treatments of such exemptions are inadequate, and provides a new theoretical analysis. Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Furtado found that, despite its being a relatively obscure musical genre, the Brazilian tango is a body of work well worthy of further study. Through historical and musical analyses, he explores the Brazilian tango as a vehicle for pianists to develop technical and musical skills, and as an exciting option for concert programming. Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano (DMA)
2020 Dr. Miranda Barrios documented Latin American exiles' use of radio to recreate cultural and political identities and forge solidarity in a west coast Canadian context. Her work sheds light on the efforts of diasporic groups to use bilingual community media to engage diasporic and non-diasporic audiences in social, cultural, and political issues. Doctor of Philosophy in Hispanic Studies (PhD)
2020 Dr. Bolen studied the role of the five primary senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste) in contemporary québécois literature. Her research examines the fascinating, albeit complex, relationship between sensory memory and storytelling in novels written by "migrant" writers. Doctor of Philosophy in French (PhD)
2020 Dr. Van de Vondervoort examined the contexts in which children positively evaluate helpful versus unhelpful individuals. Her work contributes to our understanding of children's social and moral cognition. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2020 While it is tempting to see referendums as the most democratic way of making decisions, others worry that citizens are uninformed or that governments will manipulate the process. Dr. McKay's doctoral research explores how referendums could be redesigned to reinforce, rather than undermine, contemporary democracies. Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)
2020 Dr. Wildcat's research looks at how colonization has led to the rise of an exclusive practice of sovereignty that prevents cooperation between First Nation governments. As an alternative, the practice of relational sovereignty is explored by looking at how the Maskwacis Education Commission created a shared school system between four First Nations. Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)
2020 The truth of "magnets attract iron" and "cars stop at red lights" have different weights. The former is more substantive than the latter, which is a convention. Dr. Soltani's research addresses the meaning of, the justification for, and the significance of Henri Poincaré's claim that geometric truths are also conventions. Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy (PhD)