UBC History Graduate Students Shifting Tides of History

From left: History graduate students Sanad Tabbaa, Ryan Iu, Adrian Wawrejko, Lucy Warrington, Naomi Louie, and Lily Hart.

The Shifting Tides History Conference is an annual graduate student conference co-organized by the University of Victoria, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Northern British Columbia. The conference provides an opportunity for graduate students in History and related disciplines to present their research to colleagues from across the Pacific Northwest while gaining valuable in-person public speaking experience. 

In early March 2022, 12 UBC History graduate students presented at the 47th annual conference. Read on to learn about some of their projects, their reflections on the experience, and what it means to them to be historians in training.

Timothy Tan Chin Guan, MA student

Paper title: “Untangling Malaysia’s Plural Societies: Colonial Penang in Modern Contexts”

Research area: Identity and identity expression in late-colonial Malaya

“The discipline of history itself has had a fraught past, but in attempting to untangle it, we reveal the mythologies of our current world and expose the transience of our conceptions of self and society. The complexity of the process is what makes History necessary and worthy of pursuit.”
MA student

Sanad Tabbaa, MA student

Paper title: “Researching the Middle East: The Internet is not your Friend”

Research area: History of the Modern Middle East, specifically Arab Unity and analysis of the propaganda directed by and about Pan-Arab projects

“Participating in this conference means an acceptance of my role in the production of knowledge and opinions, which shows me, and others, that I have something to contribute to academia as a whole. This conference really helps to show that a community does in fact exist, and it is full of friendly, intelligent, and collaborative scholars.”
MA student

Naomi Louie, MA student

Paper title: “Yellow Peril: Media Representations, Disease Outbreaks, and Anti-Asian Racism in America”

Research area: History of immigration and disease policy in late nineteenth and early twentieth century America

“I like how flexible History is as a discipline. This year, I've been mostly looking at legal regimes, the development of state politics, and the development of germ science. These are all things I wouldn't have had the time to pursue individually if I was studying them as individual disciplines. But with history, I can dip my toes into each field.”
MA student

Manimugdha Sharma, PhD student

Paper title: “Present as Past: Tracing the Changing Image of the Mughals in Popular History in India”

Research area: South Asian history and media studies

“Knowledge of history is crucial for us not to find ourselves condemned to repeat it. I suppose no other discipline can give you that knowledge of how we came here. When politicians talk about history all the time to justify their actions, it is all the more necessary to learn history and bust false propaganda.”
PhD student

Adrian Wawrejko, MA student

Paper title: “Make France Great Again? Charles de Gaulle’s Pursuit of French Grandeur on the International Stage”

“It was a genuine pleasure to participate in this conference, not least because we were able to attend the conference in person. An exchange of knowledge and research is a crucial aspect in the discipline of history which made this conference worthwhile!”
MA student

Lily Hart, MA student

Paper title: “The Moundbuilder Myth in Canada, 1860s – 1960s”

Research area: History of anthropology and settler-colonialism in the United States and Canada

“While the presentation itself was lovely and went well, one of the greatest things was having off campus time to get to know my cohort and to enjoy each other's company. There are a lot of memories we've built now and many photos to prove it!”
MA student