30 Grads in 30 Days: Shelly Chan

Shelly Chan (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

Name: Shelly Chan

Age: 32

Degree: Ph.D.

Field of study: History (East Asia, specializing in modern China)

Faculty adviser: History professor Gail Hershatter

Undergraduate education: University of British Columbia, Canada

Hometown: Vancouver, Canada

Most memorable experience at UCSC?

There are quite a few: working with first-rate scholars in my field who are also wonderful teachers and mentors; meeting other grad students who have become important friends; and also being greeted by deer on a regular basis.

Favorite spot on campus and why?

There are many: Stevenson cafe, the new library, and anywhere I can take in the woods or the Monterey Bay. They are places that I go often to do my work, talk to someone, or spend a quiet moment by myself.

How has your UCSC graduate education shaped you professionally?

I have always received great support in pursuing interdisciplinary and transnational research, which is an exciting new direction in the field of Chinese history. I am also inspired by the dedication to creative projects in my community, whether it is teaching or research. I think I will keep moving in that direction.

What are your plans after graduation?

I am moving back to the Pacific Northwest and Canada. I will be assistant professor at the University of Victoria in the Department of Pacific and Asian Studies starting July. I am very excited by it.


Chan received two major grants from the University of California Pacific Rim Research Program and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Her dissertation examines the history of China's "discovery" of the overseas Chinese in the 20th century, focusing on the political and cultural interactions between Chinese abroad and Chinese within China. It's a complicated and unfinished history, she explains, that is relevant to contemporary discussions about migration, diaspora, and globalization.