This course is led by UBC faculty member Henry Yu, History and Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies
Date: May 16-June 21, 2022 | Travel dates: May 30-June 17, 2022
Topic: The histories, cultures, foodways, heritage and geographies of Cantonese migration from Kaiping to North America and throughout South East Asia.
Locations visited: Due to the uncertainties of COVID-19 related travel restrictions, we will be planning for one of the travel options:
- China (Kaiping) and Hong Kong
- Malaysia and Singapore
- Chinatowns in the United States, and Hawaii
- Chinatowns in Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Victoria)
- Vancouver local field study
Funding: This is an Arts Research Abroad (ARA) funded program. The ARA program aims to ensure that upper-level international research courses are accessible to academically qualified students, and that scholarly preparation and aspiration rather than financial means are the deciding factors for student participation. Funded by a generous gift from donors, the Faculty of Arts, and Go Global, the ARA program sponsors advanced research-intensive courses involving international travel. 70% of the program cost will be offset for academically qualified students; and up to 100% of the cost may be offset for academically qualified students who demonstrate financial need (as determined by Enrolment Services).
Students can only be considered for one major International Learning Award throughout their degree e.g. ARA (Arts Research Abroad) funded Global Seminars, Undergraduate Research Conference.
About the course
This unique field study in Vancouver, Hong Kong, Kaiping (China) and Malaysia will allow you to explore multi-disciplinary perspectives on the histories, cultures, and geographies of Cantonese migration. These migration networks primarily stem from the “Szeyup” or “Four Counties” area of Canton (Guangdong) Province, the home region of many overseas Chinese who went to Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries. These Pacific migration networks include regions in Southeast Asia as well as North America. By visiting the different sites, you will develop an understanding of regional approaches to heritage conservation of historical, cultural, and natural landscapes in Hong Kong, Kaiping, Malaysia and Vancouver that will inform the development of their community-based research projects.
Key themes include an investigation of the historical context of Chinese migration to North America; forms and causes of segregation; the evolution of food practices and foodways; cultural heritage preservation; space activation and the changing livelihoods of residents and migrants over time and space. Particular to this class, students will be learning about these topics through the investigation of food and its role in culture and heritage. Field excursions in Vancouver’s Chinatown, Burnaby Village Museum, Hong Kong, Kaiping and Penang will complement in-class work.
You will conduct interdisciplinary academic research while exploring the histories, cultures, foodways, heritage and geographies of Cantonese migration from Kaiping to North America and throughout South East Asia. You will learn in traditional and non-traditional classroom settings locally and abroad to explore best practices in community-based research, and will be asked to compare international examples of heritage conservation efforts that may apply to similar initiatives in Vancouver’s Chinatown. You will be asked to present research findings at a community showcase based in Chinatown in July 2022.
Find out more about this program by viewing the short films below:
Experience in the field
A typical day might include
- A lecture by Professor Yu, followed by a walking tour to a local site, museum, market, and/or another cultural point of interest
- You are expected to dine together for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and will have “off” periods to encourage local exploration
- There will be scheduled group work time in the itinerary for you to work on your projects
Notable environmental conditions
- Hot, humid weather with mosquitoes
- Sometimes we’ll get caught during typhoon season, which has resulted in students catching colds in the past. We recommend that students wear long, light linens to stay cool and to remain protected from the sun and mosquitoes.
- Lots of walking and commuting
Sensitive or potentially triggering content
- Some students find that it is an emotional experience (especially if you have heritage/roots in the areas we are visiting)
Hostel and dorm-style accommodation