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SIG Award Winner 2020-21: Dr. Lifang (Lucy) He

The halls of Huron may be quiet, but don’t be fooled: research opportunities are always brewing… and among the latest is CURL’s 2020-2021 SIG Award!

About the SIG Awards

Funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Institutional Grant, these awards support faculty-student research collaboration by enabling Huron faculty members to incorporate mentorship, paid training, and hands-on research opportunities for students into their own research projects. Past SIG-funded research has explored a broad range of topics including Indigenous self-determination, the long-term impacts of Canada’s Sustainable Development Strategy, and histories of slavery/antislavery, among others. The students involved completed field research and developed high-level skills such as digital archiving and proposal writing.

“Huron students prove time and time again that they are capable of completing professional, thorough, and socially-conscious research,” says Dr. Christine Tsang, Director of CURL. “Huron professors continually provide important insights into contemporary issues through their work, and we are thrilled to contribute to the culture of research excellence at Huron by connecting the two.”

This Year’s Winner: Dr. Lifang He

Dr. Lifang (Lucy) He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of French and Asian Studies at Huron. Dr. He’s SIG award will support her exploration of biographies of Chinese women written by women during the late Imperial period (1368-1911). Comparing these biographies to the typical biographies of “chaste” and “heroic” women written by men of letters, Dr. He and her team of Huron undergraduate student researchers will seek to ascertain the aspirations, interests, pursuits, and plights of women during the late Imperial era.

Throughout this year-long project, Dr. He and her research assistants will co-author articles on the social aspirations, plights, and scholarly interests of Chinese women in the Ming-Qing period. These articles will be presented at local, national, and international conferences, as well as submitted to refereed journals. The research assistants will also help to collate biographies of women into a primary sourcebook, for which Dr. He will write an introduction.

Supporting and supported by her team, Dr. He intends to answer a set of intriguing questions: who were the women who became the subjects and authors of these biographers? What deeds did they deem worthy of being recorded? How do these deeds differ from those recorded by men? How were the women writers and the women written about perceived by male literati? What impacts did these biographies have on women’s status, gender relations, and the wider contemporary social context?

Congratulations, Dr. He, on your win, and thank you so much for your contribution to Huron students’ professional development. We can’t wait to see the outcomes of this fabulous project!