James A. Flath


image of James A. Flath
PhD, University of British Columbia, 2000
Telephone: 519-661-2111 ext. 84989
Email: jflath@uwo.ca
Office: Lawson Hall 2234
Office Hours:  Tuesdays, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, and Wednesdays, 1:30 - 2:30 pm 

Teaching Philosophy

Teach like you don't need the money, learn like you don't need the grades.

Research Interests

Professor Flath’s past research concerns the material, visual, and memorial culture of modern China. His present research focuses on the history of Canada’s Prairie West.   

Major Research Projects

"My first monograph, The Cult of Happiness, looks at the world of the North China village through the medium of folk woodblock print (nianhua). My second monograph, Traces of the Sage, studies China’s principal monument to Confucius – Kong Temple in the sage’s hometown of Qufu. In my current research I bid farewell to China’s 1.4 billion people and return to my own ancestral hometown of Fielding Saskatchewan – population 3."

Select Publications


Temple of Confucius Book Cover

Traces of the Sage: Monument, Materiality, and the First Temple of Confucius ‘Spatial Habitus: Making and Meaning in Asia’s Vernacular Architecture’ (University of Hawai`i Press, March 2016)

Beyond Suffering Book Cover

(with Norman Smith, eds) Beyond Suffering: Recounting War in Modern China (UBC Press, 2011).

Cult of Happiness Book Cover

The Cult of Happiness: Nianhua, Art and History in Rural North China (UBC Press, 2004).

The Cult of Happiness received the 2005/06 Raymond Klibansky Prize for the best Canadian English language scholarly work in the humanities

Book Chapters

  • "China Resists: Humen and the Origins of 'Modern China'" in Marc Matten (ed.) Sites of Memory in China (Leiden University Press, 2011)

  • "Setting Moon and Rising Nationalism: Lugou Bridge as Monument and Memory." Formerly published article reprinted in James Flath and Norman Smith (eds) Beyond Suffering: Recounting War in Modern China (UBC Press, 2011)


  • “Popular Woodblock Print and Lithography in the Making of China’s Global Imaginary”, Contextual Alternate, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2021. 
  • “Crack: Beichuan in Ruins”, Frontiers of Literary Studies in China, 11(2) 2017, 239-62
  • ‘Social Themes in Yangliuqing Nianhua of the 1930s’ Arts Asiatiques, 66, 2012.
  • "Reading the Text of the House: domestic ritual configuration through print." In Ronald Knapp, ed., House, Home, Family (University of Hawaii Press, 2005).
  • "Temple Fairs and the Republican State in North China." In Twentieth Century China 30:1 (2004).
  • "It’s a Wonderful Life”: Nianhua and Yuefenpai at the Dawn of the People’s Republic." In Modern Chinese Literature and Culture 16: 2 (2004).
  • "The Chinese Railroad View: Transportation Themes in Popular Print, 1873-1915." In Cultural Critique 58:3 (2004).
  • "Setting Moon and Rising Nationalism: Lugou Bridge as Monument and Memory." In International Journal of Heritage Studies 10: 2 (2004).
  • "Managing Historical Capital in Shandong: Museum, Monument and Memory in Provincial China." In The Public Historian 24:2 (2002).