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News from NIAS

We Welcome Two New SUPRA Students at NIAS!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Olga Medvedeva, University of Bergen, is working on her PhD;

'Internationalisation of China in transnational perspective: prosopographical study on Norwegian employees of China’s Customs Service, 1890-1927.’

The ambition of my study is to show how the life stories of 279 representatives of a small nation like Norway can broaden the view on the customs history and reveal the complexity of the foreign presence in China during the late 19th – early 20th centuries.



Gaoming Zheng is a doctoral candidate at the Higher Education Group (HEG), School of Management, University of Tampere, Finland.

Currently she is working on her doctoral research on quality assurance of doctoral education collaboration between Europe and China. She is also involved in ‘EU-China Doctoral Education Project’, funded by European Union, and ‘Quality assurance of Finnish-Chinese Educational Collaboration Project’, funded by the CIMO (The Centre for International Mobility of Finland).


Annual Meeting of the European Alliance for Asian Studies

Last week, The European Alliance for Asian Studies (EA) held its annual meeting at the Institut d’Asia Orientale, University of Lyon. The Alliance is growing and being consolidated. Of the items discussed we agreed on finalizing an Alliance website, which has been designed and developed over the past year, with the aim of establishing an electronic meeting-space and information channel for Asian studies in Europe, more on this later. New at the meeting was a half day with short paper presentations, which gave us an impressive sample of current European scholarship on Asia.

Shanghai Forum 2016

Once again NIAS director Geir Helgesen, together with Chairman of the Board Lars Bo Kaspersen, and Chunrong Liu Executive Vice Director of the Fudan center are on their way to the Shanghai Forum, taking place on May 27 to 29. The Nordic region is moreover strongly represented by Dagfinn Høybråten of Nordic Coucil of Ministers (NCM).

NIAS is also joining a meeting between NCM and Trilateral Cooperation Committee (TCS) in Seoul, Korea, a cooperation organ between Japan, Korea and China. It is hoped that this second meeting between the two regional organizations will result in some form of formal agreement regarding region to region cooperation.

NIAS Administration

NIAS Project Coordinator/Centre Administrator Katrine Herold is back from maternity leave, welcome.
Natalie Wheeler, coming from a coordinator position at the Nordic Center Fudan, made up for the loss a whole year, before following in Katrine’s footsteps. “We” have produced two Nordic babies! Congratulation to the mothers. After Natalie two student assistants shared the job as NIAS’ outward face and voice, Camilla and Xenia, also thanks a lot to them. They will remain with us as student assistants.

We welcome two new SUPRA Students at NIAS!

The next two weeks we have the pleasure of welcoming Lasse and Karoline at NIAS.

Lasse Lehtonen

I'm a PhD candidate from the University of Helsinki and currently working on my thesis on the Japanese composer group Shinkō sakkyokuka renmei (active from 1930 to 1940). My research includes both cultural viewpoints as well as musical analysis and aims at shedding more light on a topic and musical world that is extremely interesting and versatile but rather rarely studied in the West.



Karoline Opåsen

I am currently working on my master's thesis in social anthropology at the University of Bergen and Christian Michelsen Institute. My thesis base on five months of fieldwork on the outskirts of Delhi, India, and is an ethnographic study of what may happen when a non-governmental organization intervenes in a complex, local reality to create change building on the concepts and ideology of waged work and “women empowerment.”


Seminar: Your smartphone kills workers in China

Friday, June 17, 2016 - 12:15 to 14:15

Your smartphone and many of your household items are produced in China. We all know this and we know that it is a consequence of globalisation - of companies from the global North, including Denmark, moving their production to China. We've come to know China as ‘the factory of the world’. But few are aware of the staggering numbers of workers employed in this factory – more than 270 million people! That is half the population EU. We know even less about their working conditions, their life aspirations, sorrows and joys. Nevertheless, we carry around and use on a daily basis the products that they produce.

This seminar – which mixes state-of–the–art research and insights from China's factory floors with readings of workers’ songs and poems – is concerned with the lives of workers in China and discusses how consumers in Denmark may relate to the life of people who produce our smartphones.

The seminar is free and open to the public. For logistical purposes, however, registration is required.

Register for 'Your smartphone kills workers in China' (deadline: June 15).

Questions? Martin Bech ( / +45 5130 2557).

See programme, abstracts of the presentations and short bios of the speakers/presenters in the attached document below:

We welcome two new SUPRA Students at NIAS!

Liisa Turunen, MA, University of Helsinki

Working title: "Japaneseness in the Variety TV Show Wafu Sohonke." 

Project description: In brief, the aim of my thesis is to find out what kind of image of Japaneseness does the variety TV show Wafu Sohonke create and with what means. Wafu Sohonke is a television series that focuses on different aspects of Japanese culture, and in my research I examine things such as national identity and nationalism.


Xi Yang, MA, University of Oslo

Project description: Xi Yang's master thesis aims to use the case of the car ownership restriction policy implementation variations in Chinese cities to illustrate the existence of a highly heterogenous implementation of the national policies at the subnational level in an authoritarian political system.

Based on intensive fieldwork in five research sites in urban China, a conceptual framework has been developed to analyse how the motivations, behaviours and mechanisms of local bureaucrats has been affected by political risk and interests generated by the Chinese political system. The research finds that policy implementation in autocracies at the local level can also be more dependent on the local leadership than the central leadership. Further, although the autonomy of the local states still exists, the degree of the local autonomy has been greatly reduced as more political pressures has been imposed upon local bureaucrats through party disciplines. In this light, the findings presents a complementary insights for the workings of the authoritarian environmentalism at the local level in China.

Welcome to our new SUPRA student!

Valentina Dotto from Lund University is staying at NIAS for two weeks for the NIAS SUPRA Nordic Scholarship. Welcome!

Papayoanu’s theory: Economic interdependence and the balance of power argues that, different patterns and levels of economic interdependence in the great power system generate societal based economic constraint and incentives. These help status quo powers hoping to mobilise economic resources and political support to oppose perceived threats. This mobilisation process influences strongly the preferences of status quo powers, other states’ beliefs about those preferences, and the interpretation of signals in balance of power politics. He applies his theory to a series of case studies. In particular, in chapter 6 of his book: Power ties Economic interdependence and War he uses his theory to analyse  the post WW II international configuration  where he focus on: Economic Interdependence and Containment: American Strategy, NATO, and the Long Peace. Though the use of the qualitative method: process tracing, I would like to apply his theory and test it on the Asian theatre during the same period of time to answer the question of whether his theory can also be applied to the Asian context.

NIAS closed 22 April 2016

Please note that NIAS is closed Friday 22 April 2016 as this is a Danish holiday. 

Welcome to the two new SUPRA Students at NIAS

Anna Salmivaara from the University of Helsinki is working on her  PhD:

My research analyses how the changes in the nature of work and in labour rights regulation – associated with neoliberal globalization - affect workers’ possibilities of resistance in the Global South. Through a case study that focuses on Cambodian women working in the garment industry, I analyse labour movement’s strategies, the role of trade unions and the relevance of private regulation – particularly corporate social responsibility – in these strategies.







Malgorzata Sidz from the University of Turku is working on her MA:

I am working on my MA thesis on the reproduction of mothering in South Korea and Japan. I am analyzing the theories of mothering and especially focusing on the Nancy Chodorow's psychoanalytical theory of generational reproduction. I am conducting semi-structured interviews with mothers - I have done the part of my research in Seoul and this autumn I will do the second part in Tokyo.