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News from NIAS


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.

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