You are here

News from NIAS

Women in Contemporary China: Facing the Challenges of Agency

The seminar Women in Contemporary China: Facing the Challenges of Agency organized by Tiina H. Airaksinen, the Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki and funded by Joel Toivola Foundation was held at the University of Helsinki 4-5 December.
The seminar was held by the Women in Contemporary China project, which also includes the book More Than Half the Sky? The New Roles of Women in the Chinese Society which will be published in Finnish. The book analyses Chinese female agency and especially its change in the Chinese socio-political and cultural context. NIAS researchers Min Dongchao and Cecilia Milwertz were invited as keynote speakers to the seminar. For more information on the project contact project coordinator Erkki Viitasaari

GENDER DYNAMICS IN THE 21st CENTURY: Gender, Class, Culture in a Globalizing World

NIAS researchers Min Dongchao and Cecilia Milwertz attended the symposium GENDER DYNAMICS IN THE 21st CENTURY: Gender, Class, Culture in a Globalizing World at the Nordic Centre, Fudan University in Shanghai on the 23th of October 2013. The theme of the symposium reflected that gender studies are becoming more complex while aiming at including intersecting themes, such as ethnicities, class, age, sexuality. The symposium's ambition was to bring scholars from Denmark and China together to exchange knowledge and research interests on the intersecting fields of gender, class and culture studies. Five sessions with a total of 13 speakers were held during the one day symposium. And themes such as legal and social activism, welfare and environment, globalization, new ways of doing middle-class as well as family structures, gender roles and identities, were presented, compared and discussed from Eastern and Western perspectives. The symposium will be followed up by the establishment  of educational and faculty exchange programs between the University of Copenhagen, Peking University, and Fudan University. Moreover, a  research network will be set up  and a selection of papers from the symposium will be published in a coming volume of the gender research journal Kvinder, Køn & Forskning (Women, Gender & Research). The plan is to publish the volume in  2014 in English and possibly also in Chinese. The symposium was co-organized by Hilda Rømer Christensen for  the Co-ordination for Gender Research and the Center for Legal Culture, the University of Copenhagen.  The symposium was made possible through funding and support from the Nordic Centre, Fudan University, the Sino-Danish Center, Beijing and the Department of Sociology, the University of Copenhagen.

In Focus: Vietnam and Thailand

Two new articles on the In Focus blog:

Developing Vietnam with Whom: Restoration 2.0 for the Resurgence of Modern Vietnam

by Mia Ji Sørensen, MA Student in International Studies and Social Science, Aarhus University and Affiliated Workplace Student ant NIAS

"Wouldn’t you define Vietnam as a middle-income country?” I was asked this rhetorical question last week. Despite its emerging economy status, with a growth rate of approximately 7 per cent during the past two decades, it is still one of the poorest of the ‘Next 11 Countries,’ and even though Vietnam has been in vibrant development, it is now faced with stagnant economic growth. "

Read more


The dice that always land on Red

by Anya Palm, Freelance journalist focusing on Southeast Asia and NIAS Associate.

"About a week ago, Thailand’s capital Bangkok, saw the largest demonstrations since the political turmoil that gripped the country in 2010. Back then, supporters of Thailand’s exiled former Premier, Thaksin Shinawatra, took the streets. That didn’t end well – when the smoke cleared after the demonstrations, 92 people had lost their lives and over 1000 people were badly wounded. So in these past few weeks, fear of repetition of the black days in spring 2010 has had the city on needles. "

Read more

Current SUPRA students at NIAS

Hasan Muhammad Baniamin, Bergen University
Topic: Reducing Corruption through E-Governance: Rhetoric or Reality? An Empirical Inquiry

Chanjuan Geng, PhD, Leiden University
Topic: Chinese NGOs: State’s Control Mechanism and NGOs’ Autonomy Strategies


NIAS Researchers at Asia Insights Course in Greenland

NIAS researcher Aki Tonami and Director Geir Helgesen are going to Nuuk, Greenland 11-12 December to be part of a bigger team giving presentations at the Asia Insights course on how to cooperate with Asian partners. Vice Director of the Fudan- European Centre for China Studies based at NIAS, Liu Chunrong will also be joining them.

Read more about the course in the attachment (in Danish)

Special issue of Norwegian Journal of Geography on Gendered Mobilities in Asia

The mobilities group of the Gendering Asia Network has published a special issue of Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography (Volume 67,  Issue 4, 2013) on the theme of Gendered Mobilities in Asia. See

The Gendering Asia Network is supported by NordForsk.

Ford Foundation grant to NIAS scholars

Min Dongchao (NIAS), Cecilia Milwertz (NIAS) and Qi Wang (University of Southern Denmark) have received a US$ 25.000 grant from the Ford Foundation Beijing for the book Reversing the Travelling – transnational feminism from China to the world, which they are editing. The grant is one of ten grants issued on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the UN Women’s Conference being held in Beijing in 1995.

The analytical concept of ‘gender’ travelled to academia in the PRC in connection with the convening of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Over the past twenty years gender studies academics in the PRC have developed sophisticated gender analysis to study social, cultural, economic and political issues with a feminist view to addressing and transforming unequal and unjust power relations. However, as many PRC academics publish solely in Chinese, much of this work is not available to a non-Chinese reading audience. This means that the gender studies knowledge that is being produced within the PRC is generally unknown outside of China.

The aim of this book is to reverse the travelling of transnational feminist knowledge by making recent, feminist, innovative and challenging PRC social science gender studies available to university students, teachers and researchers who do not read Chinese, but have an interest in gender issues and feminist studies in the PRC, or more broadly in the travelling and applications of feminist theory.  

Book review: Dialogue with North Korea? Preconditions for Talking Human Rights with a Hermit Kingdom

LSE has published a review written by Andrew McCracken of "Dialogue with North Korea? Preconditions for Talking Human Rights with a Hermit Kingdom" by Geir Helgesen (NIAS Director) and Hatla Thella, published by NIAS Press

Provocative and often persuasive, Dialogue with North Korea makes an intriguing case for the West adopting a conciliatory approach towards the world’s most repugnant regime. Approaching the dilemma of negotiating with Pyongyang from an unusual angle, the book is to be recommended to students of East Asia or readers seeking a different perspective on the seemingly interminable Korean crisis. Writes Andrew McCracken.

To read the full review, please click here

Current SUPRA students at NIAS

Ida Marie Lyså, PhD, NTNU
Topic: Cultural Formation in Chinese Kindergartens

Maria Sharapan, Jyväskylä University
Topic: Tibetan refugees in Nepal: Identity Negotiation

Current SUPRA students at NIAS

Liisa Kauppila, Turku University
Topic Future Ways of Learning Mathematics in Finland China and Shanghai

Mizanur Rahman, Bergen University
Topic: Accountability of Non-governmental organizations: A case of Bangladesh