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New SUPRA's at NIAS | Nordic Institute of Asian Studies

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Nadine Plachta, PhD student, University of Bern.

Himalayan Borderland Communities: Identity, Belonging, and Place Among the Tsumpa

Nadine Plachta is a PhD student enrolled in the Global Studies Doctoral Program at the Graduate School of Humanities of the University of Bern in Switzerland. In her dissertation, she explores how the Tsumpa, a community of roughly 3000 in Nepal’s northern Gorkha District, strategically make us of identity and indigeneity for asserting group distinctiveness and recognition within the Nepalese state. The dissertation focuses on the lived experiences and historical narratives of members of the Tsum community that initially had formed in a state adverse place but have gradually been incorporated into the domains of Nepal through the nation-building processes of an expanding state power. By analyzing the interconnections of identity, belonging, and place from a bottom-up perspective, this dissertation delves into the practices in which the state is imposed, invoked, or ignored at its borderlands. It thus also reconsiders the notion of borderlands that are often thought of as provincial regions at the margins of states as centers on the periphery.

Loui Halse, Ma student, Lund University.

Racial stereotypes in Japan seen through popular cultural media.

I am a master student from the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies at Lund University expected to finish my Masters thesis and graduate in June of 2018. My academic background consist of a bachelor degree from Copenhagen University where I studied one semester abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, which is where I started taking an interest in contemporary East Asian societies. Since then I have lived briefly in Asia on two other occasions; first in Taipei, Taiwan doing an internship at the Danish Trade Office and later in Tokyo, Japan collecting data for my thesis with the help of Prof. Toru Shinoda at Waseda University. In my thesis, I am using media semiotics to analyze contemporary Japanese cinema with the intention of finding out what they can tell us about how Japanese people perceive foreigners of Western origins. My interest in this topic comes from my own experience in East Asia where I sometimes have felt that I received preferential treatment due to my Caucasian appearance and by using recent movies I will try to document if such a positive bias do exist.