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News from NIAS


Dao Ngoc Thuy Duong, MA student, University of Turku 

The Impacts of South China Sea Conflicts Between China and Vietnam on Bilateral Economic Cooperation and on the Vietnamese Government’s Attitude toward One Belt One Road Initiative

My MA thesis focusses on researching how the  economic cooperation between China and Vietnam has been affected by their conflict on the South China Sea since their normalization in 1991. I want to analyze how the Vietnamese government has been reacting to the extensively-discussed One Belt One Road initiated by China in the context of the disputes on South China seas. I will also look at the possible scenarios in the future of two countries relationship if  South China Sea disputes can not be settled or even deteriorated.


Yu Pak Man, MA Student, University of Tromsø

Media Representation of Reinterpretation of Japanese Constitution Article 9

I am currently working on my master's dissertation on media representation of the reinterpretation of the Japanese Constitution Article 9. I intend to do a qualitative media analysis and study the relations between media representation on the issue and various issues, for example, public opinion, government discourses and regional peace. Media is a powerful tool and also an influential factor contributing to the reinterpretation, which in turn has a huge impact on East Asian peace. I am still in the process of refining my research design and I am sure the excellent scholarly atmosphere at NIAS will help shed light on my project.


Inter-Korean and Kim-Trump Summits and the Future of the Korean Divide

Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 15:00 to 16:30

Inter-Korean and Kim-Trump Summits and the Future of the Korean Divide
Guest lecture by  Professor Key-Young Son, Korea University

U.S. President Donald Trump hailed his recent summit with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un as a “very important event in world history,” claiming Kim has given his “unwavering” commitment to dismantle its “very substantial” nuclear arsenal. How does this summit, along with the April summit between the two Koreas, affect the 70-year division on the Korean Peninsula? We often approach the Korean divide as a historical event which started with Korea’s liberation from Japan in 1945 and lasted during the past 70 years. Simplistic and static, this vision aims to explain the entirety of the question of the Korean divide mainly from the perspectives of superpower politics. In contrast, this talk introduces more nuanced and sophisticated perspectives to illustrate the various forces which had affected the Korean divide and rapprochement. In this way, this lecture seeks to provide a yardstick in looking at a multitude of problems arising from the Korean divide, including nuclear and missile crises.

Key-young Son
is Humanities Kore Professor at the Asiatic Research Institute, Korea University. He is editor-in-chief of the East Asian Community Review, a peer-reviewed journal published by Palgrave. He was former diplomacy writer and political editor at the Korea Times. He served as lecturer at the School of East Asian Studies, the University of Sheffield in Britain and visiting associate professor at the School of Law, Tohoku University, in Sendai, Japan. His most recent publications is Order Wars and Floating  Balance: How the Rising Powers Are Reshaping Our Worldview in the Twenty-First Century (Routledge, 2018)

Time: Thursday 13 September 2018, 15:00-16:30
Venue: NIAS, NIAS meeting room (18.1.08), Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 Cph K

Call for Editors for ASIA IN FOCUS Journal

Apply to become a member of the Editorial Committee

As a member of the Editorial Committee, you will keep abreast with the most recent work being done in your own regional, methodological and/or thematic field of enquiry, and also play a significant role in shaping the work being done in related fields.

Members of the Editorial Committee must:

  • have solid expertise on one or more region/country of Asia
  • be affiliated to a Nordic institute of higher education
  • be usually resident in the Nordic region
  • have completed a doctoral degree

Once you join the team, you will:

  • be identified as a member of the Editorial Committee on all Asia in Focus platforms
  • be expected to attend two editorial meetings per issue, via Skype or face-to-face.
  • be expected to review between 1 and 3 papers per issue
  • participate actively in the evolution of the journal on a practical and strategic level

Include in your application your full CV and a short cover note detailing
- biographical information
- your interest in the position you are applying for
- a description of your research interests (country/regional focus; theoretical and methodological interests and expertise)

We are particularly interested in recruiting editors with research interests in literature, the arts, popular culture and ITC.

Email your application to Nicol Savinetti by 30 September 2018:

For more information, please click here


Anil Paralkar, PhD, Heidelberg University

Spicing up Life – Food, Purity and (Pre-)Colonial Hegemonies in the Indian-European Cultural Exchange, 15th to 17th Century

I am a PhD student at Heidelberg University in the field of early modern history. I received my MA from Munich University in 2013, after which I started my project at the Cluster ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context’ in Heidelberg. My research focuses on the encounter between Europe and South Asia in regard of food and foodways during the 15th to 17th centuries. While foodways as symbols of distinction between cultures have been emphasized during this encounter, they also influenced the construction of culinary and physical alterities between social group categories like ‘race’, ‘religion’ or ‘ethnicity’. I investigate the concepts of purity attributed to foodways in the cultural exchange between the two parts of the world to show, how culinary alterities added to an understanding of different corporalities and how this created concepts of physical as well as mental superiorities. My broader research interests lie in food history, postcolonial and transcultural theory and global history.


Aino Haavisto, MA student, University of Helsinki

Optimizing the Learning Order of Japanese Characters Algorithmically

My MA thesis focuses the learning of the Japanese writing system and especially the kanji, morphografic script consisting of more than 2000 characters. There are many proposed learning orders for the kanji, but sorting the characters to an easy-to-learn order by computational algorithm has hardly been investigated. With computational approach it is possible to sort characters hierarchically (components before compounds) and at the same time prioritize frequent characters to learn them as soon as possible. I am studying both Japan studies in the Faculty of Arts and computer science in the Faculty of Science, so it was natural to find a topic where I could combine both of my study fields.


Ny artikel om Danmark-Kina forholdet af Andreas Forsby

"Vi bør overveje, om ikke der skal være grænser for den danske Kina-begejstring" ny artikel af Andreas Forsby.

Kinas voksende magt og indflydelse på den internationale scene ændrer gradvis rammebetingelserne for dansk udenrigspolitik i disse år. Det handler ikke blot om, at Beijing synes rede til at spille en mere fremtrædende stormagtsrolle, men også om at Kina fremstår som en afgørende strømpil for de autoritære regimers fremmarch på et tidspunkt, hvor den liberale verdensorden i forvejen eroderes indefra. Spørgsmålet er så, hvordan Danmark bør forholde sig til de ændrede vilkår?

I denne debatartikel i Politiken ser Andreas Bøje Forsby, NIAS, nærmere på forholdet mellem Danmark og Kina og giver sit bud på, hvilke udfordringer der tegner sig for dansk udenrigspolitik i lyset af Kinas hastige internationale opstigning.”

Læs hele artiklen her

I en anden debatartikel i Politiken fra marts 2018 sætter Andreas Bøje Forsby mere specifikt fokus på, hvordan det dansk-kinesiske forhold og ikke mindst den såkaldt kritiske dialog om menneskerettigheder har udviklet sig de senere år.

Læs artiklen her.

NIAS søger en PROSA studerende med fokus på digitale platforme og IT

På NIAS bruger vi flere digitale platforme, f eks er vores bibliotek, NIAS LINC, 100% digitalt. Dette betyder, at vi har et stærkt fokus på vores online platforme, og derfor søger vi nu en PROSA studerende, til at vedligeholde og at styrke disse platforme.

  • Være med til at ensrette NIAS Web-miljø, herunder deltage i processen omkring: 
  • Vedligeholdelse og opdatering af vore forskellige websites 
  • Gennemgangen af de gamle systemer og deres bæredygtighed  
  • Finde tidsvarende og bæredygtige løsninger 
  • Nedlægning og/eller migrering af gamle systemer

Læs hele stillingsopslaget her

Yderligere oplysninger: 
om stillingen kan fås ved henvendelse til bibliotekar Inga-Lill Blomkvist, mailto:
Ansøgningsfrist er den 15 september 2018. Tiltrædelse hurtigst muligt.


Minhwa Jo, PhD Student, University of Eastern Finland.

English education in South Korea in the era of globalization: Attitude of mothers, non-native English teachers, and policy makers.

The study attempts to shed light on the attitudes towards English education among mothers who invest large amounts of money in their children’s English education, as well as the attitudes of non-native English speaking teachers (hereafter NNS) and of policy makers. Focusing specifically on analyzing English as a commodity in South Korea, I investigate English private after-school education particularly at the elementary school level. I hope to highlight the through processes that triggered the move towards globalization and incorporating foreign languages to serve domestic needs. My research hopes to improve the quality of English language education without being financially burdensome for learners. This study could also alter how social discourses are idealized, represented, and reproduced. 

Shahidul Islam, PhD Student, University of Lapland.

The Role of ICT for Women’s development in rural Bangladesh-a case study on ‘Infolady’ model.

The purpose of this project is to investigate the role of Information and communication technology (ICT) for

women’s development in rural Bangladesh by understanding their current educational position in the society.
In this qualitative research, I will mainly focus on ‘Infolady’ model which has founded by a ‘non-government
organization (NGO) called ‘’ in 2004 for implementing research and action programs in the areas, where
information and knowledge can contribute to poverty alleviation, economic growth and peace. The innovative
Infolady idea is giving services for thousands of rural populations, especially for women who do have limited
access or no access to information services due to various social and religious obstacle. These women are also
trapped in a cycle of poverty, health problems and natural disasters. Through the various digital kids (e.g.
netbook, smart phone, digital camera etc.) on their doorstep, the Infolady has brought the opportunity to those
rural underprivileged villagers to improve their chances in life.

Forskere kortlægger fiskekvoternes mange uheldige konsekvenser

22 forskere fra hele verden har kortlagt de negative følger af det udbredte system med at give fiskekvoter til individuelle fiskere. De foreslår at etablere en international fiskeri-database, som kan hjælpe politikere, embedsmænd, fiskere til bedre fiskeriforvaltning over hele verden.

Postdoc-forsker Lau Øfjord Blaxekjær fra Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) Københavns Universitets og professor Jesper Raakjær fra Aalborg Universitets Institut for Planlægning har analyseret konsekvenserne af den meget udbredte brug af IOK’er i dansk og færøsk fiskeriforvaltning.

Læs mere her

Getting policy right: why fisheries management is plagued by the panacea mindset
Fisheries management has often been characterized by regulatory policies that result in panaceas--broad based policy solutions that are expected to address several problems, which result in unintended consequences. An international research team shows how one size fits all policies like individual transferable quotas may be doomed from the onset, as these policies perpetuate "the panacea mindset." The team calls for a more customized policy approach in a new piece that will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Asia in Focus Issue 6 is out now!

We are pleased to share with you Issue 6 of Asia in Focus!

Read online or download a pdf of the entire journal or the individual manuscripts at

We recently made an exciting change by opening the journal up to submissions from scholars across Europe. We look forward to receiving increasing numbers for Issue 7! In the current issue we publish authors of different nationalities studying and researching in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany.  

Issue 6 starts with a look at historical events from the 19th century in Japan, with John Hennessey doing a reevaluation of William Wheeler’s Work for the Kaitakushi, the Japanese government agency responsible for the settlement of the northern island of Hokkaido, through a postcolonial lens. In the second chapter, Deirdre Sneep takes us into the 20th century with an analysis of the history of the smartphone. She sheds light on the dominant techno-orientalist narrative which almost entirely overlooks the historical achievements and contribution of technologies originating in Japan. We then make a shift to look at contemporary social and institutional change. Firstly, Nhung Lu Rots’ examines how domestic and global food anxieties impact sustainable pangasius production in an analysis of the aftermath of the 2016 marine disaster in Vietnam. Secondly, we return to Japan for Christer Kold Lindholm’s analysis of economic inequality in Japan between the 1880s and the early 2000s reveals how policies designed to promote growth, which neglect redistribution, constitute a weak and disjointed approach to development in which growth may even lead to deeper socio-economic inequalities. The issue closes with Karin Hongsaton Zackari’s critical review of Tyrell Haberkorn’s In Plain Sight: Impunity and Human Rights in Thailand.

Enjoy the read and we hope you a enjoy a wonderful summer!

All the best

Asia in Focus Editorial Committee


Asia In Focus will take a  holiday until 15 August.
Remember  the submission deadline for the Call for papers for Issue 7 is 17 August 2018.
You are always welcome to contact us with questions and comments at


New Worksplace Student at NIaS

Thomas Østergaard Rasmussen is a student at China Studies at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen.

Thomas says:
I'm currently writing my master thesis on the Qing Embassy in the US from 1880-1902. The focus will be on praxis of foreign policy and international diplomacy during the transition from Qing imperial praxises to western oriented ones. I've chosen NIAS because of the great scholarly atmosphere and the great expertise on China that is housed at this institute.

Thomas will be at NIAS until Christmas.