PhD Student, Department of History

Ryan Sun is a PhD student in the Department of History at UBC working with Prof. Leo Shin and Prof. Richard Menkis. His research focuses on the transoceanic journeys of European/Jewish refugees to East Asia in the pre- and post-Second World War period as well as their movement across colonial port-cities. As liminal spaces, these port-cities (Colombo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Manila) were sites of various benign interactions between refugees, on the one hand, and government officials, charitable organizations, Europeans, as well as local Chinese/Malays/Sinhalese/Philippinx, on the other. More important, such cities also witnessed the manifestation of intense, racialized heirarchies and segregation as well as the fluidity of identity. This PhD project builds on his MA thesis, which explores the story of Jewish refugees in Hong Kong between 1938 and 1941 as well as their encounters with the colonial government and local aid agencies—first as refugees and then later as “German” internees.