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News from NIAS

We welcome two new SUPRA Students!

Safaet Ahmed, MA Student, University of Helsinki

The Nepalese Ethnic Entrepreneurship: Does minority background and connectivity matter?
My name is Safaet Ahmed, and I'm studying Master degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki. Currently, I’m writing my master thesis on the Nepalese Ethnic Entrepreneurship. The objective of the research is to the understand the ways in which ethnicity dominate the Nepalese entrepreneurship and explore the reason behind why such trend is occurring in the context of Finland . It also offers a comprehensive investigation into why migrants from specific regions of Nepal decided to come to Finland.

Victoria Peemot, PhD, University of Helsinki

Human-Animal Relationships in the Transboundary Region of the Republic of Tyva and Western Mongolia
My name is Victoria Peemot. I am a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki and I study human-horse relationships in my homeland, The Republic of Tyva. My research questions are focused on the social engagement of herders with horses, the emergence of their bonds and lifelong connection, and knowledge transfer in the herding communities. I conduct field research in the transboundary region of The Republic of Tyva, Mongolia and The Republic of Altai.


Bonn Juego New Guest Researcher at NIAS

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 to Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bonn Juego has been Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland since 2014 with research, teaching and publication record in the fields of global political economy and development studies, and in the geographical areas of Southeast Asia and the Global South.

As NIAS Guest Researcher, Bonn is initiating a Nordic-wide consortium project on “The Political Economy of Contemporary Nordic-Asia Development Relations.” The project aims to generate a new empirical and theoretical understanding of the so-called “private turn” in recent foreign policy of Nordic donor governments focused on economic diplomacy and private sector development. Its findings will have significant implications for both developed and developing countries in terms of democratization processes and feasible development strategies.

Bonn regards NIAS as an important part of his academic nurturing, starting off as a recipient of the SUPRA Nordic Scholarships for MA and PhD in 2005 and 2007, respectively. He earned his PhD in Development and International Relations from Aalborg University, Denmark (2013); MA in Regional Integration from the Asia-Europe Institute, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur (2005); and BA in Political Science from the University of the Philippines (2000).

In addition to his academic appointments, Bonn has professional stint working at the government, a grant-providing foundation, in civil society organizations, in development consulting, and a business school.

Here is a link to Bonn’s university profile, which includes a list of his current research projects, media coverage, speaking engagements, papers and publications.


We welcome two new SUPRA's at NIAS:

Shenghua Xie, PhD, University of Turku

Topic: Health and Urban Integration of Migrant Workers in China 


Anders Lundholm, MA, University of Aarhus

I am studying my master's degree in Chinese Studies w. an elective in Business Administration at Aarhus University. 

The focus of my master's thesis is Danish commercial diplomacy in China. My thesis is a qualitative case study of the roles of local Chinese commercial advisors at the Trade Council of Denmark from a stakeholder perspective.

Call for Papers, Asia in Focus, Issue 4

We are seeking full papers (approx. 3500 words) for the next issue of Asia in Focus. The papers which may take an academic article or academic essay format, should pertain to contemporary issues in modern Asia and be rooted in the social sciences or humanities.

We are also accepting book reviews of no more than 1000 words. Choose a title of your own choice that fits with the focus of the journal, or choose from the NIAS Press titles here:

The deadline for submissions is 1 February 2017 and accepted papers will be published in May 2017.

See the attached documents for more information and visit for more detailed instructions about submission

Please contact us by replying to this email or by writing to

Asia in Focus Special Issue: Gender and Family in a Globalising India


We are pleased to announce the release of the first Special Issue of Asia in Focus, Gender and Family in a Globalising India. The Special Issue is based on a seminar on the same topic held in Oslo in early 2016 at the initiative of the Norwegian Network for Asian Studies. As per the introduction written by the editorial team, Kenneth Bo Nielsen, Karina Standal, Anne Waldrop and Harold Wilhite:

“Rich in context and representing the great variety that makes up India, the articles of this special issue reveal that the effect of globalization on gender empowerment, equality, and family organisation varies considerably geographically, and across the urban/rural divide”

Click here to read the e-journal or visit the website to download the entire journal or individual articles.



We welcome our two new SUPRA Students

Lindsay Arthur Tamm, MA, University of Akureyri 

The Role of Law for Asian States in the Future Legal Order of the Arctic 

Rooted in international law, Polar Law describes the legal regimes applicable to the Arctic and the Antarctic. Lindsay's research combines her BA degree in East Asian studies with the future legal order of the Arctic—a very timely issue considering the recent observer status to the Arctic Council granted to five Asian countries. Her research covers the role of law for Asian States both within and outside of the Arctic Council by looking at overlapping legal regimes including the implementation of the IMO Polar Code, the new legally binding Scientific Cooperation Agreement under the auspices of the Arctic Council, the future fisheries negotiation in the Central Arctic Ocean, and even the wider implications for the Arctic of the newly ratified Paris Agreement. In her research, each of these legal frameworks will be considered not as a whole, but through the lens of Asian State's participation in the future legal order of the Arctic.

Maren Aase, PhD, University of Oslo

Opportunities Lost and Found: The Everyday Politics of Disaster in Bangladesh 

Maren Aase is a Ph.D. student working at the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo, where she also coordinates SUM’s interdisciplinary Research School. In her study entitled ‘Opportunities Lost and Found: The Everyday Politics of Disaster in Bangladesh’ Aase studies the longer term aftermath of cyclone Sidr. Sidr ravaged the southern coast of Bangladesh 15 November 2007. Focussing on local relationships between disaster response and risk, the study sheds new light onto prevailing accounts of ‘the case of Sidr’ as an example of successful disaster preparedness.


We are currently welcoming two new SUPRA's at NIAS:

Perrine Gouiffès, MA, University of Turku 

Casualized Youth: imposed identities and self-agency in a state of crisis in South Korea

"I am currently studying at the Center for East Asian Studies at Turku University, Finland. My thesis project relates to temporary workers in South Korea following the deregularization of the post-1997 labour market. I aim to realize an ethnographic study of service-industry youth workers."


Hanna Ye, MA, Lund University

Cash for childcare and Gender Equality in South Korea: Challenging Women’s Childcare Labour and Childcare Choice

"I am currently working on my master thesis project in Sociology at Lund University. My master thesis project looking at the challenges for married women’s childcare labour and childcare choice, is to investigate cash for childcare and its implication for gender equality in South Korea."

Emilie Wellfelt New Guest Researcher at NIAS

Saturday, October 1, 2016 to Saturday, December 31, 2016

Emilie Wellfelt, historian/anthropologist, will be a guest researcher at NIAS in October-December 2016. Her research will be into the topic ‘Birds of Paradise: The role of trade skins to the introduction of Islam in the Spice Islands’.

I have a special interest in material culture and the ideas objects invoke. Mainly I have worked on Indonesian textiles as they are important objects in ritual and economic exchanges, and textile studies have the benefit of opening doors to women’s worlds. I speak Indonesian and have over the last two decades spent a lot of time in this fascinating and multifaceted country.
  In the last few years I have worked on two projects. The first was my PhD research, for which I recently defended my thesis entitled Historyscapes in Alor. This work moves in the borderlands between history and anthropology exploring oral traditions and indigenous knowledge systems among different ethno-linguistic groups on the island of Alor, in southeastern Indonesia. Apart from the empiric contribution I have developed a methodology to handle history that is oral, place- and object-oriented, as opposed to – or rather complementary to – western chronological history based on written archives. I did my PhD at Linnaeus University where I am still associated with Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies.
  The second project entitled ‘Roos & Ruins: A project to document the Ujir language of the Aru Islands’ funded by Volkswagen Stiftung is an interdisciplinary enterprise concerned with documenting the language, culture and history of Ujir, a community in the Aru Islands, the far eastern fringe of Indonesia, between New Guinea and Australia. Historically, Ujir is interesting as it is the easternmost reach of an early spread of Islam into Island Southeast Asia.     
  The research I am doing at NIAS brings together different strands of my interests, while being a rather specific study. I am investigating the potential role of the Bird of Paradise to the introduction of Islam in the Spice Islands (Maluku) in the 15th-16th centuries.
Please feel free to contact me in person or by email:

Emilija Zabiliute New Guest Researcher at NIAS

Emilija Zabiliute is a South Asia and medical anthropology scholar based in Copenhagen. She has recently defended her PhD dissertation entitled ‘Living with Others: Subjectivity, Relatedness and Health among Urban Poor in Delhi” at the University of Copenhagen, Centre for Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies.

India’s health indicators show significant disparities across the social class as poor suffer from variety of health disorders and lack of access to care. Emilija’s study takes this matter as a vantage point to explore everyday lives and health-seeking practices among urban poor in an informal settlement at the margins of Delhi.
Based on a long-term fieldwork among urban poor, formal and informal medical practitioners and at a governmental health clinic dedicated for the poor, the study provides ethnography of everyday lives of the poor and their complex healthcare ecologies in an informal settlement. By taking everyday life as a vantage point to study illness and healthcare encounters, the study explores the effects of kin and neighbourly relatedness in women’s health choices and illness experiences.

Apart from her PhD thesis, Emilija’s most recent publication is “Wandering in a Mall: Aspirations and Family among Urban Poor Men in Delhi” in the journal Contemporary South Asian Studies. At NIAS, Emilija will be working on developing her thesis chapters into academic publications.

Welcome to our two new SUPRA Students!

Mette Gabler, PhD, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Creating Slogans for Social Change. An Inquiry into Advertising, Gendered Imagery and the Politics of Change in Urban India

The PhD project focusses on the ideas and understanding of change through the perspectives of individuals engaging in the production of advertising with social or commercial objectives. Thereby, this project is based on the conviction of media's influential power and is set among debates concerning the dynamics between media and social change while contributing with the rarely discussed perspectives of producers and considering change beyond identifications and descriptions.

Konrad Moss, MA, University of Oslo

Maintaining cultural identity in Pondicherry 

Konrad is currently working on his MA thesis which is based on field work in the South Indian city, Pondicherry. His focus lies on personal identity and definition of group identity within "Franco-Pondicherrien" and "Tamil-Pondicherrien" communities.