Joshua Tan


Advisor: Shelly Chan

Joshua Tan


I am a student of modern Chinese history with an interest in religion and the Chinese diaspora, especially histories of transnational networks and communities delimited by religion. My M.A. thesis explored the experiences of post-1989 exiles from China to North America, their conversions to evangelical Christianity, and how newfound faith abroad gave exiles new audiences and networks of access into China.

In my doctoral project, I hope to look more closely at religious networks between South China and Southeast Asia across the twentieth century. Beyond the already well-established existence of economic and commercial transnational networks, I emphasize the importance of religious circulations between overseas Chinese communities, China, and the world. To that end, I follow the journeys of traveling clergy— Chinese missionaries, priests, monks, itinerant evangelists— in order to highlight the centrality of religion in Chinese diaspora studies.


M.A. University of British Columbia, History, 2018
B.A. New York University, History, 2016


  • East Asian History

M.A. Title

  • “Migration, Religious Conversion, and Transnational Activism: A Vancouver Chinese Church’s Quest to Change China”


  • Tina and Morris Wagner Foundation Fellowship (Fall 2017)
  • Basant Singh and Harnam Kaur Singh Fellowship (Fall 2017)
  • Confucius Institute Language Exam (Advanced, HSK Level 6)

Courses Taught as TA

  • History 103 – Introduction to the History of China
  • History 103 – World History since 1900 (Spring 2017) (UBC)
  • History 103 – World History since 1900 (Fall 2016) (UBC)
  • History 256 – History of Africa (Fall 2017) (UBC)