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News from NIAS

Welcome to our two new SUPRA Students!

Gary Pence, MA, University of Turku

A History to Open the Future: Obstacles and Possibilities of Joint History Projects in Northeast Asia
This research focuses on the history book "A History to Open the Future", written by history scholars and teachers from China, Japan and South Korea and published in 2005. The book is the first history book jointly created by the three countries in Northeast Asia and seeks to overcome the history problems that continue to hinder relations in the region. For this research I interviewed the authors of the book and history teachers in Japan and South Korea to learn more about the obstacles and possibilities such a joint history book faces in its creation and use in the region. 
Awais Arifeen, PhD, Norwegian University of Life Sciences 
Post Disaster Sanitation, People’s Vulnerability and Humanitarian Assistance
In my PhD research work, I am studying the role of social and health vulnerability in defining the underlying risks and intensity of impacts of the disasters in Baltistan region of northern Pakistan. Baltistan is a highly mountainous remote area that frequently experiences landslides, debris flow, avalanches, flash flooding and glacial lake outburst flooding. Therefore, I am also studying how various government and non-government organisations respond to disasters in the region and what role are they playing in addressing social and health vulnerability to prevent recurring disasters.


Kasper Ørntoft Thor New student assistant at the Fudan-European Centre for China Studies

Kasper is a MA student of Chinese studies at the University of Copenhagen with a background in linguistics.

In the course of the last year Kasper has been pursuing his studies in Taiwan, where he studied a semester at National Taiwan University and later undertook a six months internship at the Danish Trade Council, Taipei, to learn more about diplomacy and international business and trade, and to improve his Chinese. Now he is busy writing his thesis on Chinese foreign policy and public diplomacy efforts.

With this being the very last semester of his MA program, Kasper is very happy to be back at NIAS, this time working for the Fudan-European Center.

Gitte Marianne Hansen Guest Researcher at NIAS

Dr Gitte Marianen Hansen, Lecturer in Japanese studies at Newcastle University will be spending three month at NIAS. During her time here, she will be working on a book project entitled ‘Women in the world of Murakami Haruki’, which is to be published with Palgrave Macmillan.

Women in the World of Murakami Haruki
"Literary analyses of Murakami’s gender representations have often concluded that his fiction mirrors Japanese patriarchy and positions female characters traditionally as objects for male subjectivities and sexualities. However, as this book shows, Murakami’s works also portray female main characters, protagonists, and narrators who act as subjects in their own worlds. This group of works includes both Murakami's major novels such as 1Q84 as well as many of his less known short stories such as The little green monster and Lederhosen. Through comprehensive analyses of specific female characters across Murakami’s authorship, the purpose of the book is to show the diverse and changing position of female characters in the literature of Japan’s most well known contemporary writer. As I argue, throughout the authorship, female characters include not only the well known ‘mysterious young girl’, but also silent housewives and the serial killer Aomame. This character development interestingly mirrors women’s shifting position and paradoxical empowerment in contemporary Japanese society. Theoretically, the book enters the discussion of male author’s ability and right to construct versions of ‘female’, and overall the book argues that Murakami works show connections to Japanese feminism and reflect women’s reality in contemporary Japan."

New Workplace Student at NIAS

Henriette Bagger is our newest workplace student at NIAS.

Henriette studies at Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, she writes:

My thesis is about Chinese participation in UN peacekeeping missions with a focus on China's contribution to the mission in South Sudan. 

Peacekeeping missions are one of the UN's core activities and the aim is to look deeper into China's engagement in the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan as a reflection of Chinas general engagement in and development within the UN throughout recent years and where it may head in the future. 

We welcome two new SUPRA Students!

Safaet Ahmed, MA Student, University of Helsinki

The Nepalese Ethnic Entrepreneurship: Does minority background and connectivity matter?
My name is Safaet Ahmed, and I'm studying Master degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki. Currently, I’m writing my master thesis on the Nepalese Ethnic Entrepreneurship. The objective of the research is to the understand the ways in which ethnicity dominate the Nepalese entrepreneurship and explore the reason behind why such trend is occurring in the context of Finland . It also offers a comprehensive investigation into why migrants from specific regions of Nepal decided to come to Finland.

Victoria Peemot, PhD, University of Helsinki

Human-Animal Relationships in the Transboundary Region of the Republic of Tyva and Western Mongolia
My name is Victoria Peemot. I am a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki and I study human-horse relationships in my homeland, The Republic of Tyva. My research questions are focused on the social engagement of herders with horses, the emergence of their bonds and lifelong connection, and knowledge transfer in the herding communities. I conduct field research in the transboundary region of The Republic of Tyva, Mongolia and The Republic of Altai.


Bonn Juego New Guest Researcher at NIAS

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 to Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bonn Juego has been Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland since 2014 with research, teaching and publication record in the fields of global political economy and development studies, and in the geographical areas of Southeast Asia and the Global South.

As NIAS Guest Researcher, Bonn is initiating a Nordic-wide consortium project on “The Political Economy of Contemporary Nordic-Asia Development Relations.” The project aims to generate a new empirical and theoretical understanding of the so-called “private turn” in recent foreign policy of Nordic donor governments focused on economic diplomacy and private sector development. Its findings will have significant implications for both developed and developing countries in terms of democratization processes and feasible development strategies.

Bonn regards NIAS as an important part of his academic nurturing, starting off as a recipient of the SUPRA Nordic Scholarships for MA and PhD in 2005 and 2007, respectively. He earned his PhD in Development and International Relations from Aalborg University, Denmark (2013); MA in Regional Integration from the Asia-Europe Institute, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur (2005); and BA in Political Science from the University of the Philippines (2000).

In addition to his academic appointments, Bonn has professional stint working at the government, a grant-providing foundation, in civil society organizations, in development consulting, and a business school.

Here is a link to Bonn’s university profile, which includes a list of his current research projects, media coverage, speaking engagements, papers and publications.


We welcome two new SUPRA's at NIAS:

Shenghua Xie, PhD, University of Turku

Topic: Health and Urban Integration of Migrant Workers in China 


Anders Lundholm, MA, University of Aarhus

I am studying my master's degree in Chinese Studies w. an elective in Business Administration at Aarhus University. 

The focus of my master's thesis is Danish commercial diplomacy in China. My thesis is a qualitative case study of the roles of local Chinese commercial advisors at the Trade Council of Denmark from a stakeholder perspective.

Call for Papers, Asia in Focus, Issue 4

We are seeking full papers (approx. 3500 words) for the next issue of Asia in Focus. The papers which may take an academic article or academic essay format, should pertain to contemporary issues in modern Asia and be rooted in the social sciences or humanities.

We are also accepting book reviews of no more than 1000 words. Choose a title of your own choice that fits with the focus of the journal, or choose from the NIAS Press titles here:

The deadline for submissions is 1 February 2017 and accepted papers will be published in May 2017.

See the attached documents for more information and visit for more detailed instructions about submission

Please contact us by replying to this email or by writing to [email protected].

Asia in Focus Special Issue: Gender and Family in a Globalising India


We are pleased to announce the release of the first Special Issue of Asia in Focus, Gender and Family in a Globalising India. The Special Issue is based on a seminar on the same topic held in Oslo in early 2016 at the initiative of the Norwegian Network for Asian Studies. As per the introduction written by the editorial team, Kenneth Bo Nielsen, Karina Standal, Anne Waldrop and Harold Wilhite:

“Rich in context and representing the great variety that makes up India, the articles of this special issue reveal that the effect of globalization on gender empowerment, equality, and family organisation varies considerably geographically, and across the urban/rural divide”

Click here to read the e-journal or visit the website to download the entire journal or individual articles.



We welcome our two new SUPRA Students

Lindsay Arthur Tamm, MA, University of Akureyri 

The Role of Law for Asian States in the Future Legal Order of the Arctic 

Rooted in international law, Polar Law describes the legal regimes applicable to the Arctic and the Antarctic. Lindsay's research combines her BA degree in East Asian studies with the future legal order of the Arctic—a very timely issue considering the recent observer status to the Arctic Council granted to five Asian countries. Her research covers the role of law for Asian States both within and outside of the Arctic Council by looking at overlapping legal regimes including the implementation of the IMO Polar Code, the new legally binding Scientific Cooperation Agreement under the auspices of the Arctic Council, the future fisheries negotiation in the Central Arctic Ocean, and even the wider implications for the Arctic of the newly ratified Paris Agreement. In her research, each of these legal frameworks will be considered not as a whole, but through the lens of Asian State's participation in the future legal order of the Arctic.

Maren Aase, PhD, University of Oslo

Opportunities Lost and Found: The Everyday Politics of Disaster in Bangladesh 

Maren Aase is a Ph.D. student working at the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo, where she also coordinates SUM’s interdisciplinary Research School. In her study entitled ‘Opportunities Lost and Found: The Everyday Politics of Disaster in Bangladesh’ Aase studies the longer term aftermath of cyclone Sidr. Sidr ravaged the southern coast of Bangladesh 15 November 2007. Focussing on local relationships between disaster response and risk, the study sheds new light onto prevailing accounts of ‘the case of Sidr’ as an example of successful disaster preparedness.