Research Interest

  • Higher Education and Global University in late 20th/early 21st century
  • Sociology and History of Social Sciences
  • Science, Technology and Society (STS)
  • Social/Sociological Theory
  • Sociology of Intellectuals and Ideas
  • Conceptual Sociology & Reinhart Koselleck’s Begriffsgeschichte
  • 20th Century/Contemporary Chinese Intellectual History

Research Projects

I-Relational Academia [RA] (2011-ongoing; with Patrick John Burnett)

Current research initiatives are seeking to go beyond the discourse of ‘crisis’ in Canadian academia by documenting the occupational plurality that characterizes the career trajectory of PhDs after graduation (CAGS, TRaCE, HEQCO). With research largely focused on tracing where Canadian PhDs work—either within or outside universities— there has been minimal systematic data collection about the trajectory of PhDs working as social scientists in Canadian Academia over the last 50 years. In response, Relational Academia [RA] created the largest dataset to date detailing the trajectories of full-time faculty employed in social science disciplines at Canada’s 15 top research-intensive universities (U15) between 1978 and 2015. The objective of [RA] are three-fold: (1) Longitudinal documentation of attributes (e.g. education, gender, publication record, mobility, promotion patterns, etc.) of PhDs who “make it” on the tenure track in Canadian academia. (2) Systematic network maps showing the active and passive ties between Canadian and international PhD-granting universities. (3) Critical and theory-driven engagement with broader narratives around Canadian universities’ positions within global social science and scientific fields beyond the core-periphery framework.

Research page:
Twitter: @relational_flow


II-Book Project: Reading and Writing the Chinese Dream (SSHRC-Funded, 2014-2018)

Project that examines intellectual life in China since the 1990s—chiefly the efforts by public intellectuals to rethink China’s past, present, and future in light of the failures of Mao’s revolution, the challenges emerging from reform, and the rise of China to the status of world economic power. The starting point for the project is our respect for the quality of thinking and writing we find in Chinese discourse; Chinese scholars, having benefited from China’s openness to the West and the relative relaxation of political pressure in China (until recently), have much to say about China and the world that merits our attention. Lead Investigators Timothy Cheek (UBC), David Ownby (Montreal) and Joshua Fogel (York)) with two main Chinese collaborators Xu Jilin and Yu Jing (East Normal University, Shanghai) and five graduate Chinese students based at Tsinghua University and East Normal University.


Research Awards (Selected)

Has received over $250,000 in scholarships and research grants over the last 8 years.

  • UBC Public Scholars Initiative, 2016-2017
  • SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Fellowship, 2011-2012.
  • Canada-China Scholars’ Exchange Program Fellowship, 2009-2010.


Lachapelle, François. 2016. “The Genesis of a Chinese Public Sociologist.”
Global Dialogue 6(2): 23-24. Paper Invitation by Michael Burawoy. Translated in 15 languages.


Conference Presentations

August 2016 — “From Nameless Marxist to Public Sociology: The Liminal Trajectory of Yuan Shen in Contemporary China”, American Sociological Association Public Sociology Panel, Seattle, U.S.A.


June 2016 — “The Canadianization Movement Revisited: Canadian Professoriate, Envy-League, and the Social Sciences”, Canadian Sociological Association, Calgary, Canada.


June 2016 — “From Nameless Marxist to Public Sociology: The Liminal Trajectory of Yuan Shen in Contemporary China”, Canadian Sociological Association, Calgary, Canada.


August 2015 — “Sino Academicus: Towards Mapping Fields of Intellectual Politics in Contemporary China”, Book Project Working Group ‘Reading and Writing the Chinese Dream’, UBC, Vancouver, Canada.


March 2011 — “Avant l’Héritage et la Critique: l’École de Qinghua et la Sociologie Pratique de la Civilisation Communiste”, (Re)faire la Sociologie: Entre Héritage et Critique, Colloque des Cycles Supérieurs de Sociologie, Montreal, Canada.





SOCI350 – Classical Sociological Theory, 2014 & 2015.

SOCI350 – Classical Sociological Theory, 2015& 2016.

SOCI350 – Classical Sociological Theory, 2013.


Other Sociology Courses

SOCI320 – Canadian Society, 2014 & 2015.

SOCI100 – Introduction to Sociology, 2014.

SOCI217 – Introduction to Research Method, 2013.

SOCI250 – Crime and Society, 2011.

SOCI342 – Culture and Consumption, 2011.



François Lachapelle is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. He spent several years in China perfecting his language skills before joining the department for his graduate work in 2011.

He is also an associate researcher with the Center for Chinese Research (CCR) at the Institute of Asian Research (UBC) and a visiting scholar at the History Lab, a joint-research program between UBC CCR and the Center for the Study of Chinese Intellectual History at East China Normal University.