Ryan Cheuk Him Sun Awarded 2022-2023 Breslauer, Rutman, and Anderson Research Fellowship
Ryan Cheuk Him Sun, a PhD candidate in History at the University of British Columbia, Canada, has been awarded the 2022-2023 Breslauer, Rutman, and Anderson Research Fellowship at the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research. He will be in residence at the Center for a month during the Spring 2023 semester.
In his dissertation research, Sun is exploring the experiences of Austrian and German-Jewish refugees as they traveled to the British colonies of Hong Kong and Singapore. At the Center, he will investigate what the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive testimonies reveal about the experiences of Jewish refugees on ships headed to Shanghai between 1933 and 1940. He will explore whether and how survivors talk about the daily life of refugees onboard those ships, what they did during the stops in transit ports, and how their experiences informed their understanding of “the Orient.” These ship journeys are often overlooked in larger narratives of Jewish exile during the Holocaust, which instead focus on what happened before persecuted Jews fled or what happened at the destinations they fled to. Sun’s attention to the journey itself and to the place of narratives about these ship-bound experiences in survivor testimonies has the potential to shed light on a new range of Jewish refugees’ experiences of the Holocaust. His research also contributes to reconfiguring the geographic boundaries of what people think of when they think about the Holocaust.
Sun earned his BA with Distinction in History, while minoring in English and German Studies, at the University of Toronto and earned his MA in History at the University of British Columbia. His recent article in Holocaust Studies entitled “The Holocaust and Hong Kong: an overlooked history” draws from his MA research. He has extensive research and teaching experience and has presented his research at conferences and workshops in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He’s committed to public history as well, currently serving as the Digital Projects Coordinator for the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, Vancouver’s leading Holocaust museum. He reflects on the museum’s collection of oral history testimonies with Vancouver’s Shanghai Jewish survivor community in a recent issue of the museum’s magazine Zachor.
The Breslauer, Rutman, and Anderson Research Fellowship is awarded annually to an outstanding advanced-standing Ph.D. candidate from any discipline for dissertation research focused on testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive and other unique USC research resources. The fellowship enables the recipient to spend one month in residence at the USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research during the academic year and to deliver a public lecture about his or her research. The fellowship is made possible through the generosity of Gerald Breslauer, Mickey Rutman, and Tammy Anderson.
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