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Choon-Lee Chai Ph.D.

Choon-Lee Chai
Humanities & Social Sciences
School of Arts and Education
choon-lee [dot] chai [at] rdpolytech [dot] ca

Choon-Lee Chai Ph.D.

Dr. Chai teaches introductory sociology, sociological theory, and social stratification at Red Deer Polytechnic. He regularly engages students in experiential learning through community-based research and service-learning. He embraces visual pedagogy by incorporating visual methods, such as photo-elicitation, in his teaching. His research interests broadly revolve around issues of societal change and social integration. In his doctoral research, he examined the process of societal rationalization, in the Weberian sense, in colonial Malaya and postcolonial Malaysia. In recent years, he deeply involves himself in community-based research on immigrant settlement and integration in Canada.


Ph.D. (Sociology), University of Saskatchewan, 2008

Main Areas of Teaching

Introduction to Sociology, Sociological Theory, Social Stratification

Scholarly Activity

Selected Publications

  • Chai, Choon-Lee, Sarah Orcutt, and Jones Adjei. 2023. Impeded Sociability: Racial Consciousness and Racialized Immigrants' Sense of Sociable and Unsociable Places in Semi-rural Alberta, Canada. Canadian Ethnic Studies 55(2): 97-124. (Note: Please italicize journal title, i.e., Canadian Ethnic Studies).
  • Chai, Choon-Lee. 2022. Picturing settlement experiences: Immigrant women’s senses of comfortable and uncomfortable places in a small urban center in Canada. Journal of International Migration and Integration 23(3): 1567-1598. (Note: Please italicize journal title, i.e., Journal of International ....).
  • Chai, Choon-Lee. 2019. Enhancing Visual Literacy of Students through Photo Elicitation. Journal of Visual Literacy 38, no.1-2: 113-122.
  • Chai, Choon-Lee, Kayla Ueland, and Tabitha Phiri. 2018. The Use of Human Capital and Limitations of Social Capital in Advancing Economic Security among Immigrant Women Living in Central Alberta, Canada. Social Sciences 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 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.

Professional and/or RDP Leadership

  • Head of Sociology, Red Deer College, 2013-2018, 2019-2022.
  • Member, Sociology Articulation Committee, Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer, 2014-2018.
  • Chair, Research and Scholarship Committee, Red Deer College, 2012-2014.
  • Member, Research and Scholarship Committee, Red Deer College, 2011-2018.
  • External Advisor, Bachelor of Education Program Review, Red Deer College, 2012.
  • Member, Curriculum Committee, Red Deer College, 2009-2011

Awards and Honours

  • Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubliee Medal Recipient, 2023.
  • Red Deer Polytechnic Faculty Scholarship Recognition Award, 2009, 2014, 2020, 2022, 2023.
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Community and College Social Innovation Fund (July 2015-June 2018).  Project Director/Principal Investigator with A. Madibbo, L. McCoy, T. Phiri, and K. Robson. Making Life Easier: A Participatory Assessment of Programs and Services for Immigrant Women in Central Alberta.
  • Red Deer College Awards of Excellence, 2018.
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