Leading Scholars 2016-2017

  • Anna Casas
    Anna Casas, Assistant Professor in the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies
    email: anna.casas@ubc.ca

    I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies. My research focuses on contemporary literature, gender and cultural studies in Spain, with an special interest in the connection between masculinity and regional identities in this country. I am currently completing a book manuscript entitled Masculine Subjectivity and Self-writing in Spain. It examines how numerous authors who grew up during Francisco Franco’s dictatorship in Spain (1939-1975) confronted and reconstituted the regime’s model of fatherhood and masculinity. I have also started to work on a project entitled “Confronting Europe: Tourism, Gender Models and Regional Consciousness in Spain.” This project studies the representation of European tourism in Spain and its influence on the construction of gender and regional identities. Through the analysis of films, photographs and advertisements as well as government and citizens’ initiatives, the project addresses the ambivalent discourse that has been forged around tourism in Spain from the 1960s to the present. The project contributes to a growing body of scholarship on European tourism in the Mediterranean world and underscores the importance of foreign bodies in shaping notions of masculinity, female sexuality and regional and national identities..

  • Katharine Huemoeller
    Katharine Huemoeller, Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies
    email: katharine.huemoeller@ubc.ca

    I am a Roman historian in the Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies. My research examines slavery, kinship, and gender in the ancient Roman world, and I enjoy teaching courses on ancient languages, history, and culture. Currently, I am writing a book on the sexual dimension of slavery using all the sources that I can find, from funerary inscriptions to Latin poetry, and I am starting to develop another project on the gendered nature of ownership. Since my work focuses on people and institutions for which we have little evidence, I am interested more broadly in the particular shape of our archive for different topics throughout history and how it moulds the questions that we ask of it.

  • Eva Oberle
    Eva Oberle, Human Early Learning Partnership
    email: eva.oberle@ubc.ca

    My research investigates markers of positive child development and identifies strategies for promoting child mental health and wellbeing in the school context. Taking a whole-child-perspective in which child development is embedded in multiple ecological contexts (i.e., home, school, neighbourhood, society), I am interested in the role of peer relationships, relationships with adults (e.g., family members, teachers, mentors), and school-level factors (e.g., classroom climate) in achieving positive, healthy, and successful child outcomes. I conduct quantitative research with population-based data, intervention evaluations, and large-scale cross sectional and longitudinal studies.

  • Yue Qian
    Yue Qian, Department of Sociology
    email: yue.qian@ubc.ca

    As a family demographer, I am interested in understanding how gender intersects with family and population processes, such as assortative mating (i.e., who partners with whom), divisions of labour, parenthood, and migration, to shape individual well-being and societal inequality. I have pursued my research interests through addressing one major research question in the American and Chinese contexts: How do changing gender roles shape assortative mating patterns? My current research focuses on investigating the consequences of the gender-gap reversal in education for marriage and family lives. I also actively disseminate my research through public media.

  • Sara Stevens
    Sara Stevens, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
    email: sstevens@sala.ubc.ca

    I am an architectural and urban historian who writes about the history of real estate development. Broadly speaking, I am interested in risk, finance, expertise, infrastructure, design, and the history of capitalism. In my work, I argue that following the money helps us understand not just how certain signature buildings came to be, but also about how entire urban landscapes came to inhabit the forms they did. Real estate development is an area that architectural historians have largely ignored, but real estate developers are key figures who link architects to big money and big projects. They connect architects’ dreamy, grand visions to the concrete and steel that comprise our cities, and in doing so, they embed the history of architecture in stories about the biggest changes facing urban landscapes. By understanding the role of real estate in the history of architecture, my research shows how both big ideas and practical constraints have shaped cities, whether in their downtowns or at their suburban edges.

  • Steven Weijs
    Steven Weijs, Department of Civil Engineering
    email: steven.weijs@ubc.ca

    In my research on hydrology and water resources engineering, I investigate the prediction and harnessing of water flows: Will our streams supply enough drinking water in the next decades? How do we plan our flood defenses under uncertain future conditions? At the same time, I analyze and optimize the information flows that let us learn about these water flows to make optimal decisions: What variables do we need to measure and what model complexity do we need to minimize uncertainty in our decisions and maximize their value?

  • Gaoheng Zhang
    Gaoheng Zhang, French, Hispanic and Italian Studies
    email: gaoheng.zhang@ubc.ca

    I was educated in the fields of Italian studies and comparative cultural studies. My publications, teaching, public talks, and exhibition have focused on Italy’s global networks through travel, migration, and colonialism during the 19th-21st centuries. I specialize in contemporary Chinese immigration to Italy and Italian-Chinese relations as they are conveyed in print and digital media, television and cinema, and fiction and nonfiction writings. Currently, I am under contract to revise a book manuscript titled Italian-Chinese Cultural Encounters: Chinese Migrants and Globalization in Italy, 1992-2012. I have also begun to research on a new book project, tentatively titled Mobilities Between Italy and China: Colonialism, Exile, Tourism, and Migration.