Amanda Wan (BA, English Language and Literatures, Honours)

amanda (they/them) is a queer han chinese settler based in the unceded, occupied territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-waututh nations. They create poetry and artwork about sad ghosts and queer love. Their BA Honours in English and minor in Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies (ACAM) culminated in a thesis project titled “Mourning through melancholy: an aesthetics of racial melancholia and queer desire in Asian diasporic literatures and visual cultures.” This project was a meditation on the psychoaffective legacies of imperial violence that haunt Asian diasporic bodies, particularly in the film Spa Night directed by Andrew Ahn, alongside postcard-photograph series “Souvenirs of the Self” by Jin-Me Yoon. They will be continuing this work as a Master’s student in the UBC Department of English Language & Literatures.

Why did you declare a minor in ACAM? What drew you to the program?

I was drawn to a space where I could connect with others who share a desire to cultivate community and transform reality towards a more loving world. I arrived partly from a place of sorrow, around the injustice and oppression that I did not see reflected in classroom discussions. Yet I’ve since learned so much from people who carry deeply varied, yet interconnected, experiences and ways of being. This has been generative and humbling for me, and even after graduation I will continue to feel grateful for the people who make this program what it is.

Name an ACAM faculty member whose class had a significant impact on you and share why.

There are too many to choose from, but I will name Dr. JP Catungal. He beautifully embodies an ethics of care and community kinship in his teaching and research–both in the CSIS450: Queer/ing Asian diaspora sexualities course that I took in 2018, and elsewhere. (Others I’m grateful for: Professors Chris Lee, Danielle Wong, and Y-Dang Troeung.)

What is one piece of advice you would give your first-year self?

Remember that you are beloved.