Visiting Professor 2023

Picture Chris Lee

Prof. Chris Lee (University of British Columbia, Vancouver) acted as ZKS Visiting Professor in the summer term 2023. Chris Lee is Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literatures and Director of the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of The Semblance of Identity: Aesthetic Mediation in Asian American Literature (Stanford University Press, 2012), which received the literary criticism book award from the Association for Asian American Studies, and a co-editor (with Maia Joseph, Christine Kim, and Larissa Lai) of Tracing the Lines: Reflections on Cultural Politics in Honour of Roy Miki (Talonbooks, 2013). He has edited special issues of Canadian Literature (with Christine Kim) and Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas (with Glenn Deer and Marissa Largo) on Asian Canadian cultural studies, and he recently co-edited a special issue of American Quarterly (with Melani McAlister) titled “From Anarchy to Chaos: Generations of Empire.” His current research focuses on historical narratives of Chinese migration to Canada, racial capitalism and Asian migrations, histories of Asian Canadian cultural activism, and diaspora Chinese literary thought during the Cold War. He received a Killam Research Prize in 2015.

Prof. Lee offered two seminars for master students of English:

  • Narrating Asian Families in North America (LIT 801 / ELM 301 / NAS 301 / NAS 302)

This course examined how Asian families in Canada and the United States have been portrayed in literature, film, media, and cultural criticism. We looked at how families were affected by racist immigration legislation in effect from roughly the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. We considered how mid-century immigration reforms altered the conditions of family life and concluded by considering alternative formations of kinship such as adoption and queer kinship. 

  • Asian Canadian Literature and Culture (LIT 801 / ELM 402 / NAS 402 / NAS 403)

(together with Prof. Ralf Hertel)

This seminar proposed to explore the field of Asian Canadian Literature and Culture by a close reading of selected texts, such as Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony and short stories by Madeleine Thien and others. In addition, we asked how Asian Canadian culture manifests itself in other media, for instance in TV series such as Kim’s Convenience.