ACAM 390A: The Heritage of Chinese Migration


This unique field study in Vancouver, Hong Kong, Kaiping, and Southeast Asia allows students to explore multi-disciplinary perspectives on the histories, cultures, and geographies of Cantonese migration. These migration networks primarily stem from the “Szeyup” or “Four Counties” area of Canton (Guangdong) Province, the home region of many overseas Chinese who went to Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries.

By visiting the different sites, students develop an understanding of regional approaches to heritage conservation of historical, cultural, and natural landscapes in Vancouver and Asia that will inform the development of their community-based research projects.

Key themes include:

  • an investigation of the historical context of Chinese migration to North America
  • forms and causes of segregation
  • the evolution of food practices and foodways
  • cultural heritage preservation
  • the changing livelihoods of residents and migrants over time and space

Field excursions for the May-June 2019 cohort include Vancouver’s Chinatown, Burnaby Village Museum, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. This course is led by Professor Henry Yu.

Watch our student vignettes

Students from our Summer 2018 cohort were interviewed about their experiences. Watch the video vignettes here.

Arts spotlight:

Learn more about ACAM 390A:




ACAM 390A Community Partnerships

Select students from ACAM 390A are hired as interns at community organizations to apply lessons learned abroad to local contexts. This year’s partners include:

  • Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
  • Burnaby Village Museum
  • Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia
  • Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
  • Museum of Vancouver
  • Vancouver Heritage Foundation

Students are co-funded by UBC, community partners, and the Canada Summer Jobs Grant.