Our Student Affiliates



Focus: Philippines

Bio: Allen Baylosis is an emerging socio-academic artist and performance scholar. He is interested in the intersections of critical theory, minoritarian performances, and the Filipinx diaspora. He is a Ph.D. student in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia, where his research focuses on contemporary aesthetic performances, queer assemblages of Brownness, and the Filipinx commons. He holds an MA in Performance Studies (New York University) and a BA in Speech Communication (University of the Philippines Diliman).

Contact: baylo515@student.ubc.ca

Country of focus: Malaysia, Myanmar

Bio: At its core, my doctoral research concerns the question: ‘Why is a refugee not legally a refugee in Southeast Asia?’. I employ a Feminist- Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) approach and foreground the Rohingya community and their experience as stateless refugees in Southeast Asia to challenge international law and its presumptions around the lack of  regional commitment to refugee protection in the region today. I consider how the British colonial project and its border, immigration, and labour management practices continue to stifle refugees in Southeast Asia through the form of international legal structures and institutions

Contact: atreyi.bhattacharjee@ubc.ca

Focus: Singapore

Bio: My research deals primarily with sex, gender, race, and sexuality in the transpacific, with a particular focus on the queer Asian diaspora and queer nightlife. This work is guided by pleasurable objects of analysis (music festivals, fetish wear, sex[uality]) and their illustration of queer Asian or “Gaysian” lifeworlds in diaspora across the Pacific Rim.

The topic of my Masters degree thesis will be fetishized military garments in Singapore. Using online internet forums, such as Twitter/X, as well as pop culture, I am developing a critique of nationalist masculinity through queer voices and the making of queer archives. Through internet forums and archives, the conversation around military conscription by LGBTQ+ Singaporeans has largely suggested that the experience was traumatic to their queer identity. Yet, there is also a substantial discourse about the same military garments worn during conscription becoming the object of fetish and empowerment in the bedroom. I critique these notions of “subverting” trauma in pop culture with empowerment in the bedroom to surmount that this act of developing the queer fetish item might also be upholding nationalist, cis-heteronormative masculine gender performance.

Contact: a.quach@ubc.ca | Twitter/X | Personal Website


Selected publications:


Focus: Myanmar

Bio: Constant Courtin is a PhD student from the UBC Political Science department. Born and raised in France, Constant lived in Latin America and Southeast Asia where he worked in different research centres. In Malaysia, Constant worked with Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (or Aliran for short) during the GE13. In Myanmar, Constant worked as a research manager for the Center for Diversity and National Harmony (CDNH) on Myanmar’s interethnic and interreligious interactions as well as on the Peace Process. 

Focusing on the questions around diversity, federalism and state-building, Constant is interested in understanding the functioning of societies, believing that ‘living together’ in diversity is not only possible but necessary. 

Contact: ccourtin@mail.ubc.ca




Selected Publications:


Focus: Myanmar

Bio: Isabel Chew is a PhD student in political science at UBC. Prior to starting her PhD, Isabel was a policy consultant in Singapore, where she worked alongside governments in Southeast Asia and East Africa to improve public communications, evaluate programmes, and upgrade data capabilities. She holds a MA in Southeast Asian studies from the University of Hawaii, and a double BA in Political Science and International Liberal Studies from the National University of Singapore and Waseda University.

Isabel’s research looks at how identity politics affect political behaviour and attitudes in diverse communities. Using a mix of ethnography and survey experiments, her dissertation focuses on redistribution attitudes in multicultural societies and voting behaviour in Myanmar.


Focus: Indonesia

Bio: Nila A. Utami is a PhD student from UBC’s history department. Her broader research interests centre around the work of shifting the geography of knowledge production and of social and intellectual movement. In particular, she engages with the politics of memory and state violence, social movements and public memory, and interdisciplinary trans- and inter-regional research with a focus on dissent and peripheries. Currently, her project looks at the complexities of defining indigeneity in 20th century Indonesia by paying particular attention between the production of indigeneity as nativity and indigeneity as a claim to belonging by so-called putative Indonesians.

She is also involved in Transformative Memory International Network, an international platform of meeting, dialogue, and creation to scholars, artists, social movement leaders, community-based organizations, and policymakers engaged with the broader question of what makes memory transformative of a sense of self, relations to others, the legacies of violence and in connection to the land, as Project Coordinator and Digital Archive Lead. Check out the project’s website at: transformativememory.ubc.ca

Contact: nila.utami@ubc.ca


Selected Publications:

  • Utami, Nila Ayu.  2019. “Revitalizing Area Studies: Building Thematic Resonance Through Reconciliation.” International Review of Humanities Studies, 4, 1.
  • Utami, Nila Ayu. 2016. “Revisiting Bandung Conference: berbeda sejak dalam pikiran.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 17:1, 140-147, DOI: 10.1080/14649373.2016.1134045.
  • Gietty, T. S. M., Widhiasti, M. R., Bachrioktora, Y., & Utami, N. A. 2019. “Urban Cultural Omnivores, Upscaling Ethnic Food And Culinary Reproduction In Marco And Suntiang.” International Review of Humanities Studies, 4, 1.
  • Budiman, Mangoenkoesomo, Wardhani & Utami. 2012. “New enemy of the state: Youth in post-new order Indonesia.” Panorama, 01/2012.
  • Utami, Nila Ayu. Review of Indonesia: Twenty Years of Democracy, by Jamie S. Davidson. Pacific Affairs, vol. 93, no. 2, 2020.

Focus: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia

Bio: Mohamed Salihin Subhan bin Mohamed Aidil Subhan is a PhD student from the UBC Political Science department. Born and raised in Singapore, Salihin completed his Master of Science in Asian Studies in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and a Bachelor of Social Sciences in the Singapore Management University

Salihin draws on his subject-position as a minority in Singapore for his research interest on ethnic minorities in democracies. He wrote his masters dissertation on the political representation of the Malay-Muslim community in Singapore. Now, Salihin is exploring the role of religion in Southeast Asian politics. Specifically, he is looking at how Muslim policy preferences are shaped by religious appeals using a public opinion approach.

Outside of research, Salihin lives to eat. His favourite dish is sambal goreng pengantin cooked by his mother and prepared on the eve of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Find out more about Salihin’s bio here and list of publication here.

Contact: @salihinsubhan


Institute of Asian Research Fellows (2023/24)


Focus: Philippines

Bio: I completed my Honours Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Toronto this year, majoring in Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies, and double-minoring in Environmental Science and Creative Expression & Society. I am interested in the intersections between migrant studies, environmental justice, and the arts. My current focuses are on factors influencing the wellbeing of Pilipina migrant care workers, and food justice.

Contact: bellarox@student.ubc.ca | LinkedIn


Focus: Myanmar

Bio: I completed my BA (Political Science) at Simon Fraser University. Situating myself in the field of comparative politics, my research interests are state-society relations and political regimes in Southeast Asian countries. Presently, I study Myanmar as a case for authoritarian resilience. My research is driven by the question: how can political culture and socio-political identities explain the military’s political longevity and hegemony? In exploring this puzzle, I interrogate ‘why’ the military engages in institution-building using a cultural framework, and reconcile it with institutional paradigms to explain authoritarian resilience.

A member of the Myanmar diaspora, I am also interested in studying diasporic activism within Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement and its challenges in Canada. In addition to my Myanmar-related research, I actively support the UBC Myanmar Initiative. I have also provided commentary on Myanmar politics and diaspora activism for student-run podcasts and news outlets.

Contact: calvin.san@ubc.ca

Focus: Hong Kong-SEA relations, Vietnam, Malay World, Thailand

Bio: Quinton’s primary research focus is the history of squatter settlements in early postwar Hong Kong, and how they fit into broader trends of migration, urbanization, and informality throughout East and Southeast Asia during the Cold War. He also researches (1) substate diplomacy and grassroots internationalism across the Pacific, and (2) early modern maritime transcultural interactions in the South China Sea. 

He had previously worked in higher education in Vietnam, teaching English at Can Tho University and working on advancement at Fulbright University Vietnam. In addition, he was a Junior Research Scholar at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. While an undergraduate student at Brown University, he co-founded the Southeast Asian Studies Initiative in 2017, a student-led campaign to institutionalize Southeast Asian studies. The initiative resulted in the hiring of Brown's first Vietnamese language lecturer and first tenure-track historian of Southeast Asia. He is also an avid learner of languages, conducting research in English, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, French, and Vietnamese.

Contact: qhuang98@student.ubc.ca | quintonhuang.ca | LinkedIn


Selected publications:


Focus: Vietnam

Bio: My name is Thao Nguyen and I am an MSc student under the supervision of Dr. Juliet Lu in the Faculty of Forestry here at UBC. I am a social science researcher working at the nexus of the environment and human livelihoods, specifically focusing on the impacts of sustainability initiatives on the commodity chains and local communities. My theoretical approach broadly draws insights from political ecology as well as human and environmental geographies. My research so far has spanned both the rural and urban landscapes in Southeast Asia, with a particular interest in my home country Vietnam. Before coming to UBC, I completed my undergraduate degree in Environment and Development at McGill University from 2018 to 2022. During this period, I also undertook internships at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Contact: dinhthao@student.ubc.ca



Selected publications:

  • Pham, T. T., Nguyen, T. D., Dao, C. T., Hoang, L. T., Pham, L. H., Nguyen, L. T., & Tran, B. K. (2021). Impacts of payment for forest environmental services in Cat Tien National Park. Forests12(7), 921.