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News from NIAS

Welcome to our two new SUPRA Students!

Noémi Zsófia Gombás, MA Student, University of Turku

Constructing the Female Desire: Leading Narratives and the „Fangirl Gaze” in Arashi Fanfiction
Noémi is currently working on her master thesis assessing the parasocial relationships between Japanese idol groups and their fans. Her current research interests include transcultural consumption, production of masculinity, and affective economics.
Nicolai Asbo Ahrenkiel, MA Student, Aarhus University
Food risk and Policy - Coping with Fukushima and food safety in post-3/11 Japan
The most pressing threat concerning food risks and safety in Japan today is the meltdown of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and the following radiation leakage into the environment, which contaminated a considerable part of one of Japan’s prime areas of agricultural production in the Tohoku region. Thus, food safety has become a major concern for many in Japan. My thesis seeks to examine how the government’s management of food risks concerning the radiation contamination of Tohoku produce has changed and/or developed in post-Fukushima Japan. Thus providing a further understanding of the interplay between consumers and the Japanese government in the food safety arena and the multiples of food risks in contemporary Japan.


An Occupation of Loss

An Occupation of Loss – a major performance/installation project and collaboration between NIAS Senior researcher Ida Nicolaisen & the artist Taryn Simon has opened in grand hall at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.

The project  brings 30 professional mourners to Manhattan from all parts of the globe to take part in  the multidisciplinary artwork, An Occupation of Loss

"It has been a wonderful journey and to finally meet the many performers has been most touching. It has been very complicated [...] especially those who come from remote parts of the world. But now they are all here in New York from as far as Ecuador, Venezuela, Cambodia, Bhutan, Borneo, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan, Albania, Greece, Colombia, Romania, Tamil Nadu,  Russia and Ghana and Burkina Faso. We have had a very special and wonderful week rehearsing. They are all great personalities, warm and fun  and of course fantastic performers. I wish you could share the experience with me but take a look at the review. I am so grateful to be part of this and make these new friends" says Ida.

Read the front page New York Times review here.

Read more about the exhibition here.

New Workplace Students at NIAS

We are happy to welcome two new workplace student to NIAS.

Sidsel Marie Nygaard
Sidsel is writing her master thesis in political science from Aarhus University with the work title "Tiger Cub Economies Struggling to Grow Up - case study of Malaysia", which investigates the political economy of the new Asian Tiger economies.


Jonathan Lehmann
Jonathan is an anthropology student at the University of Copenhagen. he is currently working on his master thesis entitled "(Yet another) Paradise Lost?", which investigates the changing livelihood strategies of local seaweed farmers in the small island of Nusa Lembongan, located in the Balinese Sea. Through a long-term ethnographic fieldwork, he has seen how the lives and economic strategies of three different families have changed drastically in order to follow the flows and consequences of the emerging tourist industry.


We welcome two new SUPRA Students!

Lene Jensen, MA Student, University of Aarhus

Why Japan isn't happier - an analysis of the salaryman and his lack of happiness

Japan as a country doesn’t do well on the OECD Happiness report. Studies show that the women of Japan are relatively happy but their counterparts are not. My paper seeks to explain that the salaryman’s lack of happiness is not necessarily work-based. The pressure of being the perfect husband is taking its toll on them.


Cecilie Figenschou Bakke, Director of the China Programme at the NCHR Faculty of Law, University of Oslo, and currently developing a Dr. Philos project at the UiO.

Dialogue, diplomacy and transnational politics of human rights

Since the early 1990’s China has worked strategically to improve its international standing related to human rights and has ratified human rights conventions, opened up for bilateral dialogues and allowed a large number of international actors to conduct human rights cooperation projects inside the country. Still, human rights violations in China are widespread and raise serious concern internationally. This study aims to enhance our understanding of how international norms and the work of transnational networks have contributed to change inside China; of discourse, priorities, policies and legal development. It will contribute to compliance theory and constructivist models of norm socialisation. Findings will have implications for the larger question of what are the most effective tools to get authoritarian states such as China to comply with international human rights norms.

6th Sino-Nordic Women and Gender Studies Conference

Sunday, August 27, 2017 to Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Conference call - call for Abstracts!

6th Sino-Nordic Women and Gender Studies Conference

- gender and generation in times of change


This conference focuses on gender and generations in times of social and economic change, in particular economic crises, migration and environmental challenges. In China and the Nordic countries processes of industrialization, urbanization, deregulation, migration and globalization have had profound effects on gender and generational relations that display both differences and similarities. They relate to gender and generational aspects of family life, family-work relations, ageing societies, the situation of the younger generations, popularization of higher education, the expanding middle class and emerging precariat, the environment and sustainable development, and the increasing inequalities between different groups and classes. All this has far-reaching impacts on the conditions for gender equality work and academic research practices.

Venue: University of Oslo, Norway
Time: August 27-30th 2017

Registration: please use the registration form at
Deadline: 15th December 2016

Keynote speakers

  • Michael Kimmel, Professor of Masculinity Studies and Sociology at Stony Brook, New York, USA
  • Yan Yunxiang, Professor of Anthropology and Chinese Studies at UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
  • Pun Ngai, Professor of Social Sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China
  • Pei Yuxin, Assoc. Professor of Social Work at Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China
  • Lene Myong, Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Stavanger, Norway
  • Helene Aarseth, Assoc. Professor of Gender Studies and Sociology at the University of Oslo, Norway

Read the full call for abstracts here


We once again start the academic year by welcoming two new SUPRA scholarship receivers at NIAS!

Bjørn Grønning, PhD, Center for Asian Security Studies at Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies
Topic: Japan’s Security Policy Response to China’s Rise

Saara Heinonen, MA, University of Helsinki
Topic: Multicultural Coexistence : Identity Forming of Foreign Residents in Contemporary Japan

2nd CFP - 9th Nordic NIAS Council Conference and PhD Course

Monday, November 7, 2016 to Friday, November 11, 2016

Nordic Asian Studies in the 21st Century – Stocktaking for the Future
Conference Asia House, Copenhagen 7-9 November 2016
PhD Course NIAS, Copenhagen, 10-11 November 2016

At the beginning of the 21st Century, relations with Asia have become crucial not only for the private, but also for the public sector. Economic, political and cultural relations between the West and the East are growing, and the need in our part of the West – the Nordic region – for solid knowledge about Asia, is also growing.

The present situation presents new opportunities for Asian studies within the Humanities and Social Sciences and, not least, a need for closer cooperation between the two. Unfortunately however, while our knowledge has become more useful and relevant to the wider society, many of us experience general budget cuts and difficulties in maintaining, not to speak of developing, our academic activities.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Pingtjin Thum, Visiting Fellow at Green Templeton College, University of Oxford; Research Associate at the Centre for Global History, University of Oxford; and coordinator of Project Southeast Asia
  • Tansen Sen, Professor of History, City University New York (CUNY) and NYU Shanghai Campus.
  • James Wertsch, Professor, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Henning Kristoffersen, Public Affairs Director Asia, DNV·GL, Shanghai
  • Jong-kun Choi, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and International Studies, Yonsei University, Seoul
  • Kerstin Sahlin, Professor University of Uppsala, Secretary General of Humanities and Social Sciences Swedish Research Council, Stockholm
  • Ummu Salma Bava, Professor of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  • Arnar Steinn Þorsteinsson, Asia Team Supervisor - Sales and Marketing, Iceland Travel
  • Sebastian Bersick, Professor, Head of Department, International Political Economy of East Asia, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

The aim of the conference is twofold:

  1. To gather colleagues from the Asian studies environments in all five Nordic countries to identify current tendencies and future prospect for Asian studies within the Humanities and the Social Sciences, as well as to identify Asia-relevant tendencies in academia outside these fields for future cooperation.
  1. To invite people from the public and private sectors who engage with Asian partners. Through their presentations and in a dialogue with them, locate areas of common interest.

Conference website:

Extended Deadline for submitting abstract (maximum 300 words): 3 Oct 2016

Fudan Center newsletter no.4 out now

Read the latest Newsletter "Rediscovering China" from the Fudan-European Centre for China Studies to get updated on all the interesting things that have taken place the last busy year.

"The year 2015 has witnessed exciting growth of Fudan centre and its new engagement with our
partners in both Nordic and other parts of Europe.
As a China study promotion institution, Fudan centre has been preoccupied with relational, crossdisciplinary
and comparative approach to build up the understanding about China’s rise and
transformation. This orientation not only echoes the “Nordic-ness” that defines the identity of Nias,
but is also congruent with the international trend of China studies that we have been observing."

Read more in the newsletter!

Buyer’s Paradise - NIAS research project as theatre performance

A NIAS research project on relations between workers in China and consumers in Denmark has inspired creation of the theatre performance Buyer’s Paradise, which will be shown at the Passage Festival in Denmark 4-6 August.  

Buyer’s Paradise is an artistic exploration of relations between global phenomena and individual and collective lives played put through the example of the production and consumption of smartphones. The performance is concerned with the paradox between, on the one hand, acknowledging how the current global system of production and consumption creates inequality and threatens the possibility of a sustainable future on the planet and, on the other hand the perpetuation of this system. The performance invites the Danish consumer audience to explore this paradox through their encounter with mobile phones produced by factory workers in China.

The play is co-produced by the Culture Association of the New Dane Jimbut (Denmark) and STEREO Akt (Hungary). It is sponsored by the S.C.Van Foundation and the Danish National Art Foundation.

Guest researcher Ramy Bulan back at NIAS

Thursday, July 7, 2016 to Monday, August 1, 2016

Ramy Bulan, Associate Professor of law, Faculty of law University of Malaya, and Director of University of Malaya Centre for Malaysian Indigenous Studies is back at NIAS for the summer. She will continue her work on a book on Indigenous Legal Traditions and Native Customary Rights: Content and Proof of Kelabit Customary Land Rights which will be published by Lexis-Nexis.