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Professor, History, University of British Columbia

As a history professor, Dr. Yu’s research and teaching has been built around collaborations with local community organizations, civic institutions such as museums, and multiple levels of government. He is passionate about helping Canadians unlearn the cultural and historical legacies of colonialism and to be inspired by the often hidden and untold stories of those who struggled against racism and made Canadian society more inclusive and just. Between 2009-2012, he was the Co-Chair of the City of Vancouver’s project Dialogues between First Nations, Urban Aboriginal, and Immigrant Communities ( In 2015, Dr. Yu was appointed as the Co-Chair for the Province of British Columbia’s Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council implementing legacy projects following the province’s apology in May 2014 for BC’s historic anti-Chinese legislation. He served on the Advisory Group for the City of Vancouver’s apology consultation process for Historical Discrimination Against People of Chinese Descent (HDC) from 2016-2017 that resulted in the City of Vancouver’s formal apology for its historical discrimination against its Chinese Canadian residents on April 22, 2018. Prof. Yu received his BA in Honours History from UBC and an MA and PhD in History from Princeton University. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and the Province of BC’s Multicultural Award in 2015 in recognition of his research and community leadership.


  • 2010–present
    Principal, St. John's College, UBC
  • 2004–present
    Associate Professor, History, UBC
  • 2016–2017
    Stanley Kelley, Jr. Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching in Asian American Studies, Princeton
  • 2000–2008
    Associate Professor, History and Asian American Studies, UCLA
  • 1994–2000
    Assistant Professor, History and Asian American Studies, UCLA


  • 1995 
    Princeton, PhD
  • 1992 
    Princeton, MA
  • 1989 
    UBC, BA, Honours

Grants and Contracts

  • 2019
    A Seat at the Table: Chinese Immigration and British Columbia
    Funding Source:
    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • 2017
    The Cantonese Pacific in the Making of the Modern World
    Funding Source:
    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada