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Care in Asia: beyond and across a clinic

Thursday, September 28, 2017 to Friday, September 29, 2017



While care is widely discussed across feminist studies and anthropology, it remains undertheorized and subject to western-centric conceptualizations, as some recent studies point out (Aulino 2016). Frequently, explorations of care practices are limited to specific sites of inquiry – medical institutions or domestic space. For instance, scholars explore how care occurs at the clinics, and how it intertwines with knowledge production, governance of bodies and subject formation. However, in Asia (but to a large extent elsewhere as well), care is dispersed across a complex terrain of healthcare ecologies. Firstly, anthropologists have since long also been interested in care generated by relations, such as kin. Secondly, numerous studies show that healing (and thus care) takes place in and across diverse biomedical and ‘traditional’ medical institutions. Still, in attempts to conceptualize it, care is often designated as ‘self-care’; and familial or ‘traditional’ forms of care often remain to be viewed as hindrances for hegemonic biomedical care.

This workshop hosts scholars working on care in the Asian region and invites participants to think about how care amidst illnesses or disorders is diversified and extended beyond and across a multiplicity of health institutions in Asia. For instance, how family care intersects with institutional care, and how care becomes enmeshed in larger relational projects among persons. Or, how care is shaped by a number of institutions, that may be underlined by different forms of medical/interventionist knowledge and health epistemologies, such as ‘unlicensed’ or ‘traditional’ practitioners. Rather than thinking of these sites of care as incommensurable and generating conflicting and burdensome situations, the workshop invites participants to address how diversified care underlines overall patient/carer experience, and what forms of knowledge it produces. At the same time, the workshop will open up possibilities for reconceptualising care through an inquiry into coexistent diversity of its sites and actors. Responding to this call, participants submitted abstracts on a wide variety of themes, including mental health care, reproductive health care, multisited care, familial care and politics of care, focusing on a number of Asian countries.

Date: 28-29 September
Venue: NIAS - Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (meeting room), CSS 18.1 (Entrance E), Øster Farimagsgade 5, Copenhagen
Organizer: Emilija Zabiliute 
Funding: ADI – Asian Dynamics Initiative, University of Copenhagen

SUPRA Nordic Scholarship for MA and PhD students Spring 2018

Sunday, October 1, 2017

If you are working on a MA or PhD thesis during Spring 2018 and need some inspiration, literature or simply just time to write on your thesis, then NIAS has something to offer: the Nordic Scholarship!

The Nordic Scholarship covers inexpensive travel to Copenhagen, two weeks board and accommodation plus a working place at NIAS! A perfect chance to concentrate on your thesis, have inspirational talks with our researchers or access material from Northern Europe's most comprehensive Asian studies library.

More information about SUPRA students' experiences at NIAS and practical information as well as application form.

NB: SUPRA scholarships are primarily for students from NNC member institutions.

Deadline for application: 1 October 2017

For more information, please contact


Building China: informal and precarious workers in China’s construction industry

Friday, October 6, 2017 - 12:30 to 13:30

Asia Brown Bag by Sarah Swider, Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology

This talk challenges the dominant narrative of China’s economic success by bringing informal workers out of the shadows and demonstrating their important role in China’s economic growth and development. It also provides a close look at precarious, informal workers who make up a significant portion of China’s new working class. The diversity of working conditions, labor markets and experiences of life in the cities among these workers are presented and then used to (re) theorize the concept of employment relationship. I argue that we should be using a broader concept, such as “employment configuration,” to encompass the diverse work arrangements found among informal and precarious workers.

Sarah Swider joined the Department of Sociology and ADI earlier this year. Her research interests include: labor and labor movements, globalization, development, urban studies, migration, and Asian Studies.

Venue: NIAS, room 18.1.08, CSS, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 Cph

Feel free to bring your own lunch. There will be coffee/tea.
Organized by ADI and NIAS


CFP for MA-Session at the "Environmental Asia" conference

Monday, November 20, 2017 to Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The 10th NNC conference Environmental Asia will take place in Oslo 20-22 November 2017.
During the conference we will also organize a special MA-Session. 
This session is for MA students (both current and recently graduated), who write on a topic relevant to the conference.

To learn more, please contact Rune Svarverud, IKOS, University of Oslo (
Deadline for abstracts is 1 October 2017. Please send your abstracts directly to Rune Svarverud.
The conference and subsequent PhD course are organized by IKOS - Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, Oslo University and NIAS - Nordic Institute of Asian Studies.
For more information, please go to the conference website:

10th Annual Nordic NIAS Council Conference and PhD Course 20-24 Nov. 2017

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The conference and PhD course are organized by IKOS - Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, Oslo University and NIAS - Nordic Institute of Asian Studies

Global environmental degradation and climate change are possibly the greatest challenges of our times. They have roots in humanity’s long history of creatively making use of natural resources to generate change, often with unforeseen and unpredictable consequences. As the gravity of the world economy shifts east, Asia finds itself at the center of the global environmental crisis. It is home not just to 60 percent of the world’s population, but also to some of the world’s most rapidly expanding middle classes in the largest emerging economies. As a consequence of climate change, Asia is already feeling the social and economic impact of intensified droughts, floods, storms and pollution. 

The aim of this conference is to facilitate critical discussions about Asia’s environmental pathways. What interests are at stake in current environmental policies, and who represents them? How will Asian societies deal with the double-bind of economic development and environmental protection? What roles do Asian religions and philosophies play in environmental debates? How have people reacted to and coped with major environmental changes in the past, and how do they anticipate the future? By exploring these questions, the conference aspires to promote a deeper understanding of environmental change in Asia.

Keynote Speakers

  • Georgina Drew, Lecturer, Anthropology and Development Studies, The University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Susan Darlington, Professor, Anthropology and Asian Studies, Hampshire College, USA
  • Heiner Roetz, Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany
  • Mahesh Rangarajan, Professor, Environmental Studies and History, Ashoka University

Commentators for the PhD Course

  • Susan Darlington, Professor, Anthropology and Asian Studies, Hampshire College
  • Heiner Roetz, Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Georgina Drew, Lecturer, Anthropology and Development Studies, The University of Adelaide
  • Geir Helgesen, Director, NIAS – Nordic Institute of Asian Studies
  • Mette Halskov Hansen, Professor, University of Oslo
  • Arild Engelsen Ruud, Professor, University of Oslo 
  • Aike Peter Rots, Associate Professor, University of Oslo
  • Rune Svaverud, Professor, University of Oslo
  • Kenneth Bo Nielsen, Researcher and Network Coordinator, University of Oslo

Extended Deadline for submitting abstract 29 August 2017 (maximum 300 words)

For more information, please go to the conference website: