Remembering Y-Dang Troeung

The faculty, staff, and students of the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program are deeply saddened by the passing of Professor Y-Dang Troeung on November 27, 2022. Y-Dang was a beloved teacher, researcher, friend, mentor, advocate, colleague and community member. The brilliance of her teaching and research, and the thoughtfulness of her mentorship and friendship, have had profound impacts on many in our community.

Prof. Troeung was an internationally recognized expert in transnational Asian and Asian North American Studies as well as critical refugee studies and critical disability studies. In 2018, she joined the Department of English Language and Literatures at UBC, where she was also an ACAM faculty affiliate. She organized numerous events and activities that drew on her research on migrant rights, health, and community development and she was a leader in building respectful and ethical relationships with local communities and advocacy groups. Y-Dang was a role model for many ACAM students and her mentorship has been transformative for our community. Her classroom beautifully embodied the ethics of care that were woven into every aspect of her work. It was a community of learning filled with her spirit of generosity, commitment to student wellbeing, and genuine love for teaching.

The following tribute was written by her partner, Professor Christopher Patterson from the UBC Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (also ACAM-affiliated faculty):

“I am sad to give this devastating news that I know will come as a shock to many. My partner and wife, Y-Dang Troeung (張依蘭) (ទ្រឿងអ៊ីដាង), died yesterday, November 27, after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer. She was a brilliant author, educator, and the most caring and loving partner, mother, daughter, sister and companion. We have been dealing with her disease for over a year, and much longer without knowing it. Since her diagnosis, her life was enriched daily by friends and family, and we have felt lucky to have so many people come forward and support us with food, discussions, advocation, advice, and most of all, warmth and love. She leaves behind all these loving people, including me, our son Kai, her parents, brothers, and extended family. Her life has been a gift to all of us, and she leaves us with one of her greatest gifts: her book Refugee Lifeworlds. In the coming months, we will receive more gifts from her brilliant and compassionate mind: a short film, “Easter Epic“; a family memoir, Landbridge; and other projects she was able to complete before her death.

ACAM is grateful for all the ways that Y-Dang enriched our community through her generosity, incisiveness, care, and passion. We extend our sincere condolences to her family, friends, and communities.

Y-Dang is deeply missed.

Y-Dang with other ACAM faculty at the program’s fifth anniversary celebration. Photo credit: Edward Chang, V.Saran Photo

More information about opportunities to celebrate Prof. Troeung’s life will be shared later. In the meanwhile, we would like to invite everyone to keep her memory and legacy alive by reading and sharing her work. Embedded here is a link to a recording of “The Story of American War,” a 2019 ACAM event featuring award-winning writer and journalist Omar El Akkad that was organized by Prof. Troeung as part of her course on Borders and Violence. We have also included links to statements on Prof. Troeung’s passing from the Department of English Language and Literatures, the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, Canadian Literature, and the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. A full list of Y-Dang’s scholarly publications, collaborations, interviews, and multimedia and creative work can be found at the bottom of the statement from the Department of English Language and Literatures.

Share a memory or message to celebrate Y-Dang

In the spirit of celebrating Y-Dang and her impact on all of us, we invite you to leave a message or share a memory using the submission form here. We will share your message privately with Y-Dang’s family first, and may follow up about posting it on the tribute page later.

We understand this may be a difficult time for many of our faculty, students, alumni, and community members. Please be gentle with yourself and each other, and seek support when needed.