Dr. Alison R. Marshall

Alison Marshall headshot 2014 September

Alison R. Marshall, Professor, Department of Religion, Brandon University, teaches Asian religion, Chinese Canadian history, and courses on gender and anthropology at Brandon University.  She  studied Mandarin Chinese at Middlebury College, at Taiwan’s Fujen University, and also for her doctorate which she earned from University of Toronto’s East Asian Studies department under the supervision of Dr. Julia Ching.  Marshall was attracted to Asian studies through family connections—an uncle who ran an Asian import-export business in 1920s Montreal, and an aunt who worked for Toronto’s Chinese community

Dr. Marshall is author of award-winning Chinese Canadian History monographs (UBC Press 2011 and 2014), and numerous articles. See a 2016 interview with CBC’s Marc Montgomery:  http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2016/05/22/the-chinese-immigrant-experience-in-early-canada-alison-marshall/

Marshall has two additional book projects underway, including a new monograph on Filipino Canadian History.  Here is a link to Dr. Marshall’s current cv: http://brandonu.academia.edu/AlisonMarshall/CurriculumVitae.

Marshall’s current SSHRC Insight Grant project as Principal Investigator with Pauline Greenhill (CI) of the University of Winnipeg (2012-2017 287,000) investigates experiences of racism in Western Canada up to the present day, with a focus on Chinese and non-dominant society communities. Thus far, that project has produced a symposium on ethnic drag, and monograph in the area of Chinese Canadian history (Cultivating Connections: the Making of Chinese Prairie Canada, UBC Press, 2014).

As principal investigator in a Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Research Grant (2012-2014) ($19,860) with Allen Chun, collaborator, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, Marshall worked for two years  to map religious, political and cultural networks throughout East Asia. The grant produced numerous peer-reviewed articles and material for her new book on Filipino Canadian History.

In a the UBC led Chinese Canadian Stories Project that ended in March 2012, and as a research contractor and advisor for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Chinese Head Tax exhibit, Marshall has collected prairie Chinese oral histories, and thousands of documents and photographs. These involvements and ethnohistorical methods enabled Marshall to build an archive of the era’s Chinese and Eurasian experiences and interactions though some interracial marriages prevalent in British Columbia, including those with Indigenous peoples, were absent in Chinese prairie accounts.

In a current pilot project Dr. Marshall investigates the complex ways that Chinese and other Asians (Japanese, Vietnamese and Filipinos) may have worked together with Europeans and those outside of dominant society, including Indigenous peoples, in Western Canada to present day. Marshall’s work examines First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples who are not simply another ethnic group being studied, but are Indigenous people in Canada with distinct histories, rights and legal regulation. This research continues Marshall’s exploration of the interaction between Indigenous peoples and newcomers that she started more than fourteen years ago at Brandon University as represented through the Labyrinth of Peace Project (2000-2002).

Marshall’s SSHRC-funded research (2008-2011) on prairie Chinese foodways and settlement patterns produced the award-winning monograph on the history of Chinese in Manitoba (The Way of the Bachelor: Early Chinese Settlement in Manitoba, UBC Press, 2011). Marshall has also examined experiences of religion in cyberspace as principal investigator leading a SSHRC-funded research program on Taiwanese and Indigenous religion (lingji.brandonu.ca) to create a theory of performance and simulate experiences in cyberspace (2002-2006).

During Marshall’s 15 years of research and through multiple externally funded projects at BU, she has trained, supervised and provided employment to 50 research assistants.

A former director of the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre (2009-2012), Marshall is co-program chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Religion and Migration Group. She is additionally co-program chair of the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion. Marshall sits on the Manitoba Health Privacy Commission and has authored municipal, provincial and federal reports on immigration, diversity and multiculturalism in Canada.