UBC position

Tenure-Track Assistant Professor in Lifeways in Indigenous Asia
University of British Columbia
Application deadline: March 7, 2021

Situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam people), the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies (CIS) and the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia invite applications for a tenure-track appointment as an assistant professor in Lifeways in Indigenous Asia.


This tenure-track, research professoriate stream position is a joint appointment between the First Nations and Endangered Languages (FNEL) Program in the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies (CIS) and the Department of Asian Studies.

Applicants should have, by the start of the appointment, a Ph.D. in a relevant field or discipline, such as (in alphabetical order) anthropology, area studies, cultural studies, film studies, linguistics, or literature, with a focus on storywork and narrative, revitalizing languages, and/or engaging speech communities.

Applicants should have high proficiency in an Asian language and demonstrate the ability to:

  • Produce research that critically engages with and supports Indigenous communities, lands, and languages in Asia
  • Offer a breadth of pedagogically effective undergraduate and graduate courses while addressing the learning needs of a diverse student population and contributing to curricular development, student engagement, and community learning

We welcome scholars whose research relates to any region of Asia. Preference will be given to candidates of Indigenous identity.

We seek applicants with a record of demonstrated research impact, as well as potential to publish, teach effectively, and secure external research funding. We acknowledge research and teaching to include community service, engagement, and knowledge-sharing activities, contributions to leadership, work leading to social or policy impacts, and collaborations with Indigenous communities. We understand that within higher education in Canada, traditional or conventional academic pathways can reinforce biases in the filling of faculty positions. We encourage applications that may not fit this mold and challenge our ideas of teaching, scholarship and research of which we may be unconscious.


The successful applicant will complement existing strengths and research interests in the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program and the Department of Asian Studies. The appointed candidate is expected to (a) teach two courses in the undergraduate program in FNEL coordinated by the CIS, and two courses in the Department of Asian Studies; (b) be engaged in sustained and productive scholarly activity, and (c) contribute to scholarly and partner communities and service work of the FNEL, CIS, Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts, and the University. The annual teaching load for this position is 4 courses (12 credits) or equivalent.

The holder of this tenure-track position will be reviewed for reappointment and promotion in subsequent years in accordance with the UBC Collective Agreement. For more information on the review process and criteria for promotion in this stream, please visit: www.hr.ubc.ca/faculty-relations/collective-agreements/appointment-faculty/.
The position is expected to commence on July 1, 2021 or soon thereafter in time for the 2021–2022 academic year.


This position extends the existing strengths of the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies (CIS), which houses the First Nations and Indigenous Studies (FNIS) program and the First Nations and Endangered Languages (FNEL) program, in the urgent documentation, conservation, and revitalization of Indigenous languages and development of language materials and resources in partnership with communities, cultural institutions, staff, scholars and students. In addition, this position builds on faculty expertise and interest in the Department of Asian Studies in researching and teaching about Indigenous Asia, including Indigenous communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, the Greater Himalaya, India, Iran, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Taiwan. Through this joint position between CIS and Asian Studies, the successful candidate will strengthen networks and alliances between scholars engaged in Indigenous studies in Canada and in Asia.

The UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan commits the University to the advancement of Indigenous peoples’ human rights through research, teaching, and engagement contributing to systemic change. Goals include decolonizing and Indigenizing our curriculum, recruiting Indigenous scholars, and forging networks of resources for Indigenous rights. This position presents the candidate with the opportunity to seek collaborative research and community engagement with an interdisciplinary group of scholars within the larger academic community, including the Peter A. Allard School of Law and the Indigenous Legal Studies Program; the Department of Anthropology; Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies; the First Nations House of Learning; the X̱wi7x̱wa Library; the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice; and the Residential School History and Dialogue Centre.


CIS is a vibrant, multidisciplinary group of outstanding researchers committed to excellence in scholarship, teaching, community engagement, and professional leadership. Our research and teaching are responsive to Canada’s multicultural, multilingual contexts and the changing global and transnational influences on languages, literacies and cultures as well as Indigenous priorities. Institute members engage in research collaborations with educational communities at the local, national, and international levels to advance theoretical understandings, practical knowledge, and the study of language documentation and revitalization as well as learning of languages, pedagogies, literatures and cultures in their broadest sense. A major emphasis of FNEL and the Institute is on issues of equity and justice in a range of educational contexts and across a range of cultures.


UBC’s Department of Asian Studies is widely acknowledged as one of the finest in North America, with more than eighty faculty members leading courses in Asian thought, religion, history, literature, culture, and much more. We offer one of the most diverse language programs for heritage and non-heritage learners, which includes instruction in nine Asian languages: Cantonese, Chinese, Hindi-Urdu, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Sanskrit and Tibetan. Our undergraduate program offers a Major or Minor in Asian Area Studies or Asian Language and Culture and our graduate program provides a Masters or PhD in the cultures of South Asia (through the languages of Urdu/Hindi, Persian, Punjabi, and Sanskrit), the Himalayas, and East Asia (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), Islamic Studies, and transregional studies involving multiple regions or subregions. Fields of study include literature, visual and popular culture, linguistics (historical and applied), history, religion, and philosophy.


The University of British Columbia is located in the beautiful city now known as Vancouver, located on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. Vancouver is a multicultural, multilingual city, ranked as one of the world’s best places to live. The University is a global centre for teaching, learning, and research, consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world and recently recognized as North America’s most international university.

The Faculty of Arts at UBC Vancouver is a research-intensive faculty, encompassing internationally renowned programs in the humanities, creative and performing arts, social sciences, and professional schools. As the university’s largest academic unit, UBC Arts educates more than 16,000 students in bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs in more than 25 departments, schools, institutes, and programs. UBC Arts provides compelling opportunities to explore among 3,000 courses taught by more than 1,000 scholars who are leaders in their fields.


Applicants are requested to upload the following as a single PDF submitted online at https://asia.air.arts.ubc.ca/?p=2962 by March 7, 2021. Questions about the position may be sent to the search committee co-chairs, Bernard Perley (bernard.perley@ubc.ca) and Sharalyn Orbaugh (sharalyn.orbaugh@ubc.ca).

  1. Cover letter that includes research interests, teaching and mentoring experience (two pages max)
  2. Detailed curriculum vitae
  3. At least one and up to three samples of published or publishable academic writing
  4. Evidence of teaching effectiveness and a one-page statement of teaching philosophy
  5. A one-page statement about your experiences working with a diverse student body and your contributions or potential contributions to creating/advancing a culture of equity and inclusion.
  6. Names and contact information for three referees willing to provide a letter of reference, one of whom may be a representative of a community with whom the applicant has worked closely
    Candidates may be contacted for further materials as the search progresses.

We recognize the legitimate impact that leaves (e.g. maternity leave, leave due to illness, compassionate care leave) can have on a candidate’s record of research achievement and these leaves will be taken into careful consideration during the assessment process.

Given the uncertainty caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, applicants must be prepared to conduct interviews remotely if circumstances require. A successful applicant may be asked to consider an offer containing a deadline without having been able to make an in-person visit to campus if travel and other restrictions are still in place.

This position is subject to final budgetary approval. Starting salary is determined both by the candidate’s qualifications and experience and by their placement on the career progress scale within the Faculty of Arts.


Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged.

We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Métis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.

UBC welcomes and encourages applications from persons with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for all candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. For requests related to access needs, please contact Bernard Perley (bernard.perley@ubc.ca) and Sharalyn Orbaugh (sharalyn.orbaugh@ubc.ca). The University is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and equitable work environment for all members of its workforce, and in particular, for its employees with disabilities. An inclusive work environment for employees with disabilities presumes an environment where differences are accepted, recognized, and integrated into current structures, planning, and decision-making modes. For contact information regarding UBC’s accommodation and access policies and resources (for faculty and staff as well as students), please visit the Centre for Accessibility.

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