Choon-Lee Chai Ph.D.


Humanities & Social Sciences

Choon-Lee Chai Ph.D.  (on sabbatical leave)

Email: chai [dot] choonlee [at] rdc [dot] ab [dot] ca

Dr. Chai hails from Malaysia and is proficient in English, Malay, and Chinese languages.  He regularly engages students in experiential learning through community-based research and service learning. In addition, he actively embraces visual pedagogy by incorporating visual methods, such as Photovoice, in his teaching. His current research revolves around issues of immigration, race and ethnic relations, and nationalism. From 2012 to 2015, he assisted the Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association (CAIWA) in their research on Economic Security of Immigrant Women. He subsequently led a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded Photovoice research project (2015-2018, in partnership with CAIWA) to study settlement experiences of immigrant women in Central Alberta.


Ph.D. (Sociology), University of Saskatchewan

Main Areas of Teaching: 

Sociological Theory, Social Stratification

Scholarly Activity: 

Selected Publications
Chai, Choon-Lee; Ueland, Kayla; Phiri, Tabitha. 2018. "The Use of Human Capital and Limitations of Social Capital in Advancing Economic Security among Immigrant Women Living in Central Alberta, Canada." Soc. Sci. 7, no. 11: 220.
Chai, Choon-Lee. 2012. Societal Rationalization: Cultural Innovation and Knowledge Islamization in Malaysia. Chapter 5 in The Age of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Universities, Knowledge and Society, edited by James Dzisah and Henry Etzkowitz. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.
Chai, Choon-Lee. 2012. Contested Modernity in Malaysia: Islamic, Western, Semi, or Hybrid Modernity? In 8th International Malaysian Studies Conference (MSC8) Proceedings: Selected Full Papers, edited by Mohd Hazim Shah and Saliha Hassan, 51-61. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Social Science Association.
Chai, Choon-Lee. 2009. The Sungei Buloh Leper Settlement: Illness and the Technology of Acquiescence. Asian Journal of Social Science 37, no. 3: 463-479.
Chai, Choon-Lee. 2009. Disenchantment of the World and the Devaluation of Human Species. History of Human Sciences 22, no. 2: 128-132.

Community Involvement

  • Member, Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership Planning Council
  • Member, City of Red Deer Point in Time Homeless Count Advisory Committee

Current Research

  • Project Director/Principal Investigator, Making Life Easier: A Participatory Assessment of Programs and Services for Immigrant Women in Central Alberta, SSHRC’s Community and College Social Innovation Fund, 2015-2018.

Student Research
Sample Honours Thesis Supervised

  • Kayla Ueland. 2013. Economic Security of Immigrant Women in Central Alberta.
  • Dulce Sanchez Castro. 2017. A Photovoice Project on the Use of Settlement Programs and Services by Immigrant Women in Central Alberta.
  • Wendy Cameron. 2017. A Photovoice Project on the Experience of Indigenous Students at Red Deer College.

Sample Independent Study Projects Supervised

  • Jessica Stamp. 2015. A Content Analysis of 2010 to 2013 logbooks of the Night Reach Program of Central Alberta Aids Network Society.
  • Cindy Glover. 2016. A Photovoice Analysis of Self-Protective Strategies of Homeless Women in Central Alberta.
  • Sherry Andrews. 2016. A Survey of the Use of Programs and Services by Immigrant Women in Central Alberta.

Professional and/or RDC Leadership

  • Head, Department of Sociology, 2013 – 2018
  • Member, RDC Research and Scholarship Committee

Awards and Honours  
RDC Awards of Excellence, 2018
RDC Faculty Scholarship Recognition Award, 2009 and 2013