You are here

News from NIAS

Current SUPRA students at NIAS

Monday, September 29, 2014 to Sunday, October 12, 2014

Khaleda Gani Dutt, PhD, Stockholm University
Topic: Engendering Gendered Spaces: Education for Rural Transformation - Qualitative case study in Rajasthan and West Bengal India

Kristian Kongshøj, PhD, Aalborg University
Topic: Social Citizenship in China and the Nordic countries

Khaleda and Kristian

New workplace student at NIAS

Matti Weisdorf, student at the Department of Anthropology, has just started at a workplace student at NIAS. Matti will be with us for the next 6 months while writing his thesis. 

Matti writes:
"A man of inconveniently many interests I finally found my anthropological and more general academic foothold in the cheerful world of crippling violence and post-war re-negotiation of life. More specifically I pursued my own research agenda by spending  half a year in and around a small  housing scheme for disabled government soldiers in the Northwestern province of Sri Lanka. Here, I interrogated how the official government discourse on the so-called heroes of the war - and the very tangible benefits that goes with it - was appropriated and, in turn, squared against the vexed and stigmatized identity of the disabled man to allow for new political and religious identities to emerge."

Current SUPRA students at NIAS

Håkon da Silva Hyldmo, MA, NTNU, Norway
Topic: Constructing cross-scale rationalities in forestry management:
A case study of REDD+ implementation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

Guro Samuelsen, Ph.D., Oslo University
Topic: Challenging structures of dominance? Understanding popular democracy and ‘new’ local leaders in contemporary North India

Håkon and Guro

Geir Helgesen gives talk at "Cool North – Cultural Diplomacy in the Nordic Countries "

Cool North – Cultural Diplomacy in the Nordic Countries was a conference organized by Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, a Berlin based NGO in cooperation with Baltic Development Forum, a leading think-tank in the Baltic Sea Region. The conference too place at Christiansborg, home of the Danish Parliament on September 8th and 9th and a wide range of societal leaders, politicians and government officials was present. Speaker of Parliament Mogens Lykketoft opened the conference, together with Danish Minister of Culture, Marianne Jelved ; former Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Miniasters, Halldór Àsgrimsson, and Dagfinn Høybråten, the present Secertary General. Read the presentation by NIAS’ director in the attached.

How can Asian Encounters help expose blind spots in sociological research?

During its 27th biannual conference, the Nordic Sociological Association (NSA) hosted the panel discussion Asian Encounters – Exposing or creating blind spots? Building on the theme of the conference – Exploring blind spots, the panel discussed the drawbacks and merits of studying Asia, as well as encounters between Asia and the Nordic countries.

With the purpose of spurring interest and also provide some hands-on insights and experiences informing and inspiring more research on Asia the panel discussed: What can we learn from Asia and what can Asia learn from us? Can the study of Asia reveal insights about our own societies and vice versa? Or do we by applying “Western” theory in the study of Asian societies create blind spots and thereby fail to understand social change in those societies?

SUPRA Nordic Scholarship for MA and PhD students Spring 2015

If you are working on a MA or PhD thesis during Spring 2015 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 collect material in 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 2014

For more information, please contact

Geir Helgesen participates in "Time for Peace in Korea"

As a research and information center on Asia, NIAS often engages  in activities outside the strict academic confines. One such activity was our participation at the conference Time for Peace in Korea, organized by the Dag Hammarskjöld Program at Voksenåsen, outside Oslo. Among the presenters were academics and peace activists from South Korea, representatives from Norwegian peace research institutions, representatives from international Christian organizations, and NIAS. The audience included students of conflict and peace, representatives from the foreign ministries in Norway and Sweden and diplomats.
The message from the conference is to clearly underline that there is one way forward to reach this lofty goal: Peace in Korea, and that is to engage, to keep the dialogue between the parties open, to create new channels, to avoid demonization of one of the parties, (obviously North Korea) and to find ways to develop trust.

In his presentation Geir Helgesen stressed, that a main hindrance for a positive development to gain speed is the double isolation of the country and its people. The one established by the authorities in Pyongyang, as a measure of defense against what they see as an unfriendly world, further strengthened by the imposed isolation used by the outside world, led by the USA, used as a punishment for what is characterized by the West as “bad behavior”. This vicious circle can potentially push the enmity into a state of conflict, a situation no one in the region want.

Current SUPRA students at NIAS

Michael Hertzberg, Ph.D., Chr. Michelsen Institute/University of Bergen
Topic: The Anti-Conversion Bill: Political Buddhism and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka

Anna-Leena Korpijärvi, Ph.D., University of Helsinki
Topic: “Chinaman’s Chance”: Fiction, Reality and the Chinese Character

Michael and Anna-Leena

Kristine Eck new guest researcher at NIAS

Kristine Eck is an Asst. Professor at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University. She also holds a position as a Visiting Lecturer at the Swedish National Defense College and as a Research Associate at Oxford University. She received her PhD from Uppsala University.

Her research interests concern the organization and behavior of actors in armed conflict. Her work while at NIAS focuses on patterns of decolonization, dissent, and state repression in Malaya and Burma.
Kristine will stay at NIAS until January 2015

Tomas Cole defends his MA thesis

Tomas Cole is a student from the Department of Anthropology at University of Copenhagen and has been a workplace student at NIAS for the last 6 months.

Last week he defended his MA thesis, which focused on: the existential limits of autonomy on the lives of Karen (an ethnic group from Burma) refugees living in Thailand who have been injured by landmines. In particular how political violence and protracted internment in closed refugee camps plays into intersubjective relations and how people strive to strike a balance between depending on others and maintaining a sense of autonomy.

We congratulate him on his top grade, and wish him all the best for the future!