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News from NIAS

What should we Learn from China?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 13:15 to 15:00

Guest lecture by Associate Professor Josef Gregory Mahoney, East China Normal University

Firstly, as a matter of epistemological analysis, we begin by examining the “China model” and other contemporary Sinocentric or Chinese-inspired developments as possibly indicating the emergence of a new, alternative discourse, with implications for theories and practices of political economy in China and around the world. Although it is still too early to conclude confidently that a viable, contemporary, future-oriented “Chinese” alternative has formed, it is clear that both local and global conditions for such change are ripe, insomuch as international crises have eroded confidence in and exposed fault lines in Western models, which again, we assess in epistemological terms. Secondly, we examine in particular the “rational kernel in the mystical shell,” and argue that an understanding of Chinese Marxist dialectics remains a key to understanding China politically and ideologically, which we demonstrate in part through brief analyses of Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, Jiang Zemin’s “Three Represents,” Hu Jintao’s “Scientific Development Concept” and “Harmonious Society” campaign and associated policymaking praxes. Thirdly, returning to our titular concern, we reflect on the relative absence of dialectics in the Western epistemological tradition, particularly in the modern period. We suggest that a century of blending Chinese and Western thinking has given China an edge—especially over the course of reform and opening up, when these two epistemological traditions reached a synthesizing highpoint.

Venue: NIAS, Leifsgade 33, 3rd floor Organizers: NIAS & ADI

Alexandra Kent receives grant from Riksbanken

One of our external research colleagues, Alexandra Kent, just received a grant from the Swedish Riksbankens Jubileumsfond to carry out research in Cambodia. Alexandra, who is an anthropologist working from Gothenburg University, is a prominent scholar on Cambodia and South East Asia, and we are proud that she has chosen NIAS as her host institution for this project. The project will bring Alexandra to NIAS for shorter and longer periods in the years to come, and this will certainly strengthen our South East Asian research profile.

"Mapping National Anxieties: Thailand´s Southern Conflict" Lecture by Professor Duncan McCargo

Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 15:15

Guest Lecture followed by Reception Duncan McCargo, professor of Southeast Asian politics at the University of Leeds, is best known for his fieldwork-based studies of Thailand’s political complexities. His "Tearing Apart the Land: Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand" (Cornell 2008) won the inaugural 2009 Bernard Schwartz Book Prize from the Asia Society of New York. McCargo's latest book, "Mapping National Anxieties: Thailand's Southern Conflict", builds on previous projects to elucidate new aspects of the intractable Southern conflict that has claimed more than 4,700 lives since 2004. In this presentation, he locates the insurgency in the context of Thailand’s wider political conflicts, exploring the ambiguous relationships between the Thai state and organised religion, the recent resurgence of Buddhist chauvinism and nationalism. He argues that the deep South graphically illustrates the way in which the Thai state could begin to unravel as old narratives about nation, religion, King and Thai-ness become increasingly difficult to sustain. This seminar will be immediately followed by a reception at NIAS launching Professor McCargo’s new book. All seminar attendees are most welcome to join this celebration. 
Venue: NIAS, Leifsgade 33, 3rd floor Organizers: NIAS & ADI

Health Inequity and Democratic Deficit: Learning by India from India

Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 13:15 to 14:30

Guest lecture by Dr. Manabi Majumdar, Fellow in Political Science at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta. Abstract: Taking a socio-political rather than strictly biomedical view of health, this paper examines why for many people in India, keeping well and healthy, which is a central human capability, remains seriously compromised. It focuses on a host of social conditions that produce poor health as well as health inequity, and on the lack of adequate social and policy action to combat these social causes of ill health. India, however, is ‘differentially unequal' in terms of basic health parameters. Put differently, there are areas in the country in which health inequalities between social groups and economic classes are comparatively less acute than what obtains elsewhere. There is a lot India can learn about health from within India. This also implicitly suggests the critical importance of committed social and policy action in improving the reach of healthcare as well as reducing social disparities in health. Above all, the rather unenthusiastic public discussion and action regarding key health issues appears to be a symptom of the country's democratic deficit.
Venue: NIAS, Leifsgade 33, 3rd floor Organizers: ADI, NIAS, ToRS, Centre of Global South Asian Studies

Sino-Danish Renewable Energy Development Programme

NIAS LINC’s chief librarian Anja Møller Rasmussen has been asked to continue the consultancy work for the Sino-Danish Renewable Energy Development Programme, a Danida funded project aiming at creating a national centre for the development of renewable energy in China. The consultancy work include advice on setting up a Renewable Energy Information and Analysis Center with the aim of collection and disseminating Chinese and international information and data through a RE Portal. The project includes working with Social Media as a research dissemination tool and the use of Linked data systems. The contract is for a six month period.

The Third Nordic Conference on South Asian Studies for Young Scholars

The third Nordic Conference on South Asian Studies for Young Scholars was held 16–18 August 2011 at Falsterbo. The conference was organised by SASNET in collaboration NIAS. The conference became a great success, gathering graduate students and postdocs, along with other junior scholars affiliated with universities in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, who are focusing on South Asia in their work.

New Post-doc Introductory Stipends

 From October to December five new post docs have joined us at the institute. For the next two months they have gotten the opportunity to work on applications trying to fund their different post-doc proposals.

The five Stipends are:

Karl Jakob Krognes, Japonologist, Tors, University of Copenhagen
 Project title: Household-based registration and cultural similarity in Northeast Asia – Japan, Taiwan, and (South) Korea

Susanne Bregnbæk, Anthropologist, University of Copenhagen
 Project titl e: Jesus in Beijing: Mapping Young Chinese Christian’s Religious Lives

Angie Bexley, Anthropologist, The Australian National University
 Project title: Mapping Migrant Landscapes: East Timorese in Europe

Taru Salmenkari, University of Helsinki
 Project title: Vertical and horizontal civil society relations in East Asia – The role of NGOs in constituting civil society

Henri Myrrtinen, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
 Project title: Legacies of Colonialism, Occupation, Tradition and Popular Culture – Examining Hybrid Masculine Identities in Timor-Leste Gangs

New Guest Researcher at NIAS

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The next couple of months Dr habil. Peter J. Bräunlein, an anthropologist and religionist with a specialization on Southeast Asia from Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology in Göttingen, will be staying at NIAS. Peter will be working on a project on 'Ghosts, spirits and moral orders in modern Southeast Asia', with regional focus on Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand.

Starting with April 2011 a new Southeast Asian research network has been established in Germany - DORISEA - The Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia. It is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research and includes Southeast-Asianist from Berlin, Hamburg, Muenster, Heidelberg and Goettingen. Around 10 research projects are focusing on 'The Dynamics of Religion'  on mainland and insular Southeast Asia. Accordingly, the research project on 'Spirits in and of modernity' is part of the DORISEA network.





New SUPRA Scholarship application deadline 14 June 2011

If you are working on a MA or PhD thesis during Autumn 2011 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.

NEW Deadline for application: 14 June 2011

For more information, please contact Erik Svanström, SUPRA student Assistant