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Nicklas Junker, MA student, Stockholm University

I am a master student in Asian Studies (and in linguistics  – Swedish being my specialized field) at Stockholm University. I have a B.A. in Chinese and a B.A. in linguistics. My current project is on place and identity in Hong Kong literature written in Chinese. How do Chinese writers identify and depict themselves in a metropolis that have changed from being a British colony into a Chinese Special administrative region? How is place and identity being put forward in Hong Kong literature, and (how) has it changed during the last decades considering the handover?



Thien Nguyen, MA student, University of Tampere

I am a student of the master program in Research and Innovation in Higher Education (MARIHE) under the management and funding of Erasmus Mundus Program. Currently I am writing my thesis on “Exploring Organizational Culture of Vietnamese Higher Education Institutions and Its Impact on Faculty Turnover”. My desire to explore this topic derives from the fact that there have been a few studies investigating turnover of faculty in Vietnamese institutions in spite of the increase of this phenomenon. In addition, the study also hopes to find trends and tendencies of the organizational culture of public universities in Vietnam. Also, it is expected that the findings of this study will enrich the existing literature on turnover and organizational culture. Comparing to research studies on the topic of faculty turnover, this thesis looks at the matter from the perspective of organizational culture which may be influenced by the academic culture of the country as well. 



Henna Juusola, PhD candidate, University of Tampere

Quality beyond the borders: Perspectives on Quality of Higher Education in the Context of Finnish Education Export

I am currently doing a PhD research that is focusing on the factors that explain the quality of higher education in the context of Finnish education export (transnational education) phenomenon. My research is combining the national higher education policy, institutional quality assurance practicalities and concrete education export implementation that is a master degree programme in teacher education in Indonesia (Aceh region). The programme was organized between the years 2016-2017 in a collaboration with Indonesian Sukma foundation and the Faculty of Education, University of Tampere. In my research, quality of education is as a political and relative concept, and from that perspective my study also challenge the concept of quality of education that is often taken for granted and stress the multiple, sometimes conflicting socio-cultural frames (conventions) where the value creation is based on.  


Luran Min, MA Student, Stockholm University

The Chinese Communist Party’s Public Opinion Warfare against Taiwan:A Discourse Analysis of the Depiction of the Cross-Strait Issue on Mainstream Media of China (P.R.C)

I am currently doing a MA thesis project on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) public opinion/media warfare against Taiwan. The project might allow to explain to what extent and how the public opinion warfare works  from the perspective of political communication. My background is East Asian studies at Stockholm University. My undergraduate program included a exchange program at Chinese Culture University  in Taiwan, a summer school of Japanese language and culture at Meiji University in Tokyo, and two media traineeships at China Central Television and China Review News Agency in Beijing. My MA thesis focuses on Chinese political communication and its effect on East Asia. I am confident that that my stay at NIAS, including consultations and communication with researchers here and use of available resources, will be most beneficial to my MA thesis project. ​



Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies inaugurated

On 16 may the Taiwan Resource Center for Chinese Studies (TRCCS) was officially inaugurated at the TORS Center of Knowledge at the Southern Campus of the University of Copenhagen. TRCCS is the result of a cooperation agreement between the National Central Library of Taiwan (NCL) on the one hand and Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies (ToRS) together with NIAS Library on the other hand. The agreement was jointly signed by Mme Tseng, General Director of the National Central Library, Lars Højer, Deputy Head of Department of TORS and Geir Helgesen, Director of NIAS.

The agreement includes a TRCCS book collection, a gift from NCL, with titles from Taiwan which will be physically located at ToRS Center of Knowledge but available for Nordic users via interlibrary loan, a number of e-resources which will be available to member institutions of the Nordic NIAS Council (NNC) via the Asiaportal, as well as  exchange of information regarding new publications on Taiwan and Chinese studies,  and assistance for  academic or professional events outside Taiwan. The book collection at ToRS will be updated annually with new titles.  The establishment of the first TRCCS represents a major strengthening on the information side for studies on Taiwan and Chinese studies, especially classic studies, in the Nordic countries.

Mme Tseng also brought two precious facsimile book gifts for the TRCCS and ToRS library in recognition of the importance of the cooperation,  “Dongpo’s Poetry” (21 volumes,) and Diamond Sutra (1 volume). There are only 350 sets of "Dongpo' poetry" in all on the market. Below is a picture of the Diamond Sutra from the inauguration ceremony.

The National Central Library as the National Library of Taiwan are also responsible for the public library sector in Taiwan and in connection with the inauguration of the TRCCS,  the delegation from NCL also visited the Royal Danish Library, the Culture Yard (Kulturværftet) in Helsingør and Copenhagen Public Library.

Image:General Director Mme Tseng shows the Diamond Sutra together with Lars Højer, Deputy Head of ToRS.

Martin Lavicka new guest researcher at NIAS

Martin Lavicka studied Chinese and Japanese philology at Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic, and International Relations at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. He is a lecturer at the Department of Asian Studies at Palacký University Olomouc, where he teaches modern Chinese history and Chinese politics. His Ph.D. research focuses on sociolegal aspects of China's ethnic policies.

Martin is also affiliated as a visiting scholar to the project led by Professor Ildikó Bellér-Hann from the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies titled Between Homogenization and Fragmentation: Textual Practices as Strategies of Integration and Identity Maintenance among the Uyghurs of Xinjiang, China (20th‒21st centuries).

We are happy to welcome Martin to NIAS, he will stay with us for the next 6  months.


Erling Agøy, Ph.D. candidate, University of Oslo.

Historical Climate Change in the Jiāngnán Region in the Late Míng and Early Qīng periods (1600-1700): Perceptions, Effects and Adaptation.

I am currently doing a Ph.D. researching on the human side of historical climate change, with a focus on the Jiāngnán region of Eastern China in the 17th century. This includes  the effect on climate change on society, how climate change was perceived by local societies and which measures were taken to counter it. I will approach this topic through the use of contemporary historical sources, and especially local gazetteers. My Ph.D. is a part of the research project Airborne at the University of Oslo. 

My background is in Chinese and East Asian studies at the University of Oslo, including exchange programs in China and Taiwan and a traineeship at the Norwegian Embassy in Beijing. My MA thesis focused on Chinese perceptions of foreigners in a historical perspective. I am confident that that my stay at NIAS, including consultations with researchers here and use of available resources, will be most beneficial to my Ph.D. project. ​


Cyrus Gearhart Sie, MA Student, University of Tampere

Perceptions of Peace and Renewed Conflict on the Korean Peninsula: Views from the Toronto-based community of North Korean defectors on Kim Jong-un’s Diplomacy

With wide-ranged interests spanning diverse subjects and experiences to match, Cyrus landed on a topic that threads all these aspects and ties them together. Taking his interests in international relations, security, and the movement and distribution of people and societies that he realized through his BA at the University of British Columbia, adding in his initial exposure to North Korean defectors at the One Young World Summit in Bangkok as well as his experience working first-hand as a service-provider to asylum-seekers and refugees in Malta, and combining them with his present MA Peace, Mediation and Conflict Resolution programme and additional credit in East Asian topics, Cyrus endeavours to make his contribution to the literature on North Korea. With the Hermit Kingdom being front and centre of the international news cycle but with little information available on it, interactions with the country is a lesson in trial and error. His thesis hopes to pull back some of the veil of mystery by interviewing members of the Toronto-based community of defectors from the regime and gathering their invaluable insight on the prospects of peace and renewed conflict with the regime of Kim Jong-un, using recent diplomatic events as data points.



Kaisa Tolvanen, MA Student, University of Tampere.

Tibetan Buddhism in Finland from 1970’s to 1980’s.

My name is Kaisa and I come from the University of Tampere, Finland. As a history MA student I am examine how Tibetan Buddhism come to Finland in 1970's. I ask what kind of mentality in society as well as individuals' lives allowed Buddhism to spread to Finland. My main sources are the interviews I have made but I am also looking at new papers and television programs from that time as well as people's own personal archives, such as photographs and diaries.    

I applied SURPA scholarship because Denmark plays a role in a scene - first Tibetan lamas come to Finland through Denmark.  Here in Copenhagen I have set a task to myself to get to know better one of these lamas, called Tarab Tulku.
I am also a mother of three children, so this opportunity to come here and have a peaceful time to write means a lot to me.

Yue song, MA Student, University of Oslo.

The Challenges and Potentials for the Revival of Cycling in China

I am currently doing my master in the Centre for development and environment at University of Oslo. I got my bachelor degree in Resources Environment and Management of urban and rural planning and minor in finance at Sun Yet-sen University, Guangzhou China. I am interested in sustainable city development and planning, especially sustainable transport system. I am greatly impressed by the recently bikeshare wave in China. Although bike sharing is not a new concept globally, what differs in China is its “dockless” operating system and the fierce market share competition among different companies. In my thesis, I want to explore: does contemporary popularity of sharebikes bring a possibility of the revival cycling in China? The potentials and challenges towards a more sustainable travelling practice.





Shubhomoy Haque, MA student, University of Gothenburg.

Human Rights or Hegemony? H&M’s Fair Living Wage Initiative and Workers’ Wage Concerns in Bangladesh Ready-made Garment Industry.

Shubhomoy Haque is attending the ‘Erasmus Mundus Human Rights Policy and Practice MA’ at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He also studied at the University of Roehampton in United Kingdom and at University of Deusto in Spain in the same programme. Previously, he worked at the ‘Programme, Policy and Campaigns’ unit of ActionAid in Bangladesh. Working within the civil society for the last five years, he has been involved in research and policy advocacy on labour rights and industrial governance issues in the garments and clothing industry in Bangladesh. ‘Business and human rights’ is the key area of his academic and professional interest. His research interest includes the issues of social movements, transnational advocacy networks and transnational labour solidarity, among others. His Master’s thesis is a qualitative research project which attempts to examine the relevance of H&M’s Fair Living Wage initiative to the worker’s wage concerns in the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh, drawing on Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony.


Loan Pham, MA student, University of Gothenburg.

Land grabs for development projects and human rights’ implications on Vietnamese peasants.

I am currently studying for a Master’s degree in Human Rights Policy and Practice at the University of Gothenburg, University of Deusto and University of Roehampton in Sweden, Spain and the UK (Erasmus Mundus). My main fields of interest are workers and peasants’ rights.

My dissertation looks at the problem of a domestic land grabbing case in Vietnam: the expropriation of agricultural land from farmers for development purposes without sufficient compensation, which appears to serve the benefit of private investors and at the expense of rural communities. Land in Vietnam has become a de factor commodity to sell and buy in the market. However, it is still owned and managed under the state perception of collective ownership, which belongs to the whole people. This has created growing struggles and social unrests in Vietnam society. By looking through the human rights perspective, the thesis shall reveal impacts of agricultural land appropriation on the human rights enjoyment of Vietnamese peasants. Due to the lack of a specific international human rights of peasants in the current discourse, this thesis also discusses on what human right would be appropriate to protect farmers in the context of Vietnam.


SUPRA Nordic Scholarship for MA and PhD students Fall 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018

If you are working on a MA or PhD thesis during Fall 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 June 2018

For more information, please contact



Yejee Choi, MA Student, University of Turku

Social Suffering and Memory Movement on South Korea’s Sewol Ferry Disaster

I am a master’s degree student at the Centre for East Asian Studies, University of Turku in Finland. I am interested in the Asian anthropology, which is deeply influenced by my lifetime spent in China, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. Particularly, my interest is on the understanding of social memories, movements, and suffering in contemporary South Korea. I did my Bachelor’s at Waseda University and produced a thesis on the analysis of Sewol Ferry Disaster occurred in 2014. My master’s thesis also deals with the same topic, but through a different framework. It is based on my ethnographic fieldwork at the Gwanghwamun Yellow Ribbon Workshop, which is established by personal funds of South Korean citizens to remember about the disaster. I aim to explain how this space and citizenry movement can tell about collective experiences on and responses to post-disaster suffering. Also, the impact of the disaster on everyday life and subjectivity will be examined via participant observation at the workshop. I hope my research provides an alternative perspective on making sense of the disaster – through social and personal arenas of experience.


Diogo Da Silva, MA Student, Lund University

Strategic Narratives in the Diaoyu/Senkaku Dispute

I am currently in the final semester of my Masters at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies in Lund University. My bachelor degree was Chinese-Portuguese Translation, and as such I spent two years studying in Portugal, two years studying in China (one year in Macau, one year in Beijing). After graduating, I spent three years working in China as a Portuguese teacher in the Hainan Foreign Language College of Professional Education, and during that period I took the chance to visit most of East and Southeast Asia. I then began my Masters in Asian Studies in Lund University, and I spent roughly equal time focusing on China and Japan. I chose the Japanese Studies course for my second semester (plus one month doing field research in Tokyo's Waseda University), and I spent my third semester in an exchange program in China's Xiamen University.  In my thesis, I am making use of the concept of "strategic narratives" (which in the context of International Relations can be shortly described as the kind of narratives state and non-state actors form and project to advance a specific goal or a series of general goals) and analyzing their application in Sino-Japanese relations, specifically in the time period between August and October of 2012, when the Senkaku/Diaoyu territorial dispute between China and Japan escalated with the Japanese government's decision to officially nationalize the islands. For that purpose, I am doing a qualitative content analysis of the articles that four major Chinese and Japanese newspapers wrote in 2012 in regards to that dispute, hoping that the results will contribute to a better understanding of the nature of strategic narratives (particularly the way they are deployed in times of international conflict) as well as Sino-Japanese relations.



Nadine Plachta, PhD student, University of Bern.

Himalayan Borderland Communities: Identity, Belonging, and Place Among the Tsumpa

Nadine Plachta is a PhD student enrolled in the Global Studies Doctoral Program at the Graduate School of Humanities of the University of Bern in Switzerland. In her dissertation, she explores how the Tsumpa, a community of roughly 3000 in Nepal’s northern Gorkha District, strategically make us of identity and indigeneity for asserting group distinctiveness and recognition within the Nepalese state. The dissertation focuses on the lived experiences and historical narratives of members of the Tsum community that initially had formed in a state adverse place but have gradually been incorporated into the domains of Nepal through the nation-building processes of an expanding state power. By analyzing the interconnections of identity, belonging, and place from a bottom-up perspective, this dissertation delves into the practices in which the state is imposed, invoked, or ignored at its borderlands. It thus also reconsiders the notion of borderlands that are often thought of as provincial regions at the margins of states as centers on the periphery.

Loui Halse, Ma student, Lund University.

Racial stereotypes in Japan seen through popular cultural media.

I am a master student from the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies at Lund University expected to finish my Masters thesis and graduate in June of 2018. My academic background consist of a bachelor degree from Copenhagen University where I studied one semester abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, which is where I started taking an interest in contemporary East Asian societies. Since then I have lived briefly in Asia on two other occasions; first in Taipei, Taiwan doing an internship at the Danish Trade Office and later in Tokyo, Japan collecting data for my thesis with the help of Prof. Toru Shinoda at Waseda University. In my thesis, I am using media semiotics to analyze contemporary Japanese cinema with the intention of finding out what they can tell us about how Japanese people perceive foreigners of Western origins. My interest in this topic comes from my own experience in East Asia where I sometimes have felt that I received preferential treatment due to my Caucasian appearance and by using recent movies I will try to document if such a positive bias do exist.