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Erling Agøy, Ph.D. candidate, University of Oslo.

Historical Climate Change in the Jiāngnán Region in the Late Míng and Early Qīng periods (1600-1700): Perceptions, Effects and Adaptation.

I am currently doing a Ph.D. researching on the human side of historical climate change, with a focus on the Jiāngnán region of Eastern China in the 17th century. This includes  the effect on climate change on society, how climate change was perceived by local societies and which measures were taken to counter it. I will approach this topic through the use of contemporary historical sources, and especially local gazetteers. My Ph.D. is a part of the research project Airborne at the University of Oslo. 

My background is in Chinese and East Asian studies at the University of Oslo, including exchange programs in China and Taiwan and a traineeship at the Norwegian Embassy in Beijing. My MA thesis focused on Chinese perceptions of foreigners in a historical perspective. I am confident that that my stay at NIAS, including consultations with researchers here and use of available resources, will be most beneficial to my Ph.D. project. ​


Cyrus Gearhart Sie, MA Student, University of Tampere

Perceptions of Peace and Renewed Conflict on the Korean Peninsula: Views from the Toronto-based community of North Korean defectors on Kim Jong-un’s Diplomacy

With wide-ranged interests spanning diverse subjects and experiences to match, Cyrus landed on a topic that threads all these aspects and ties them together. Taking his interests in international relations, security, and the movement and distribution of people and societies that he realized through his BA at the University of British Columbia, adding in his initial exposure to North Korean defectors at the One Young World Summit in Bangkok as well as his experience working first-hand as a service-provider to asylum-seekers and refugees in Malta, and combining them with his present MA Peace, Mediation and Conflict Resolution programme and additional credit in East Asian topics, Cyrus endeavours to make his contribution to the literature on North Korea. With the Hermit Kingdom being front and centre of the international news cycle but with little information available on it, interactions with the country is a lesson in trial and error. His thesis hopes to pull back some of the veil of mystery by interviewing members of the Toronto-based community of defectors from the regime and gathering their invaluable insight on the prospects of peace and renewed conflict with the regime of Kim Jong-un, using recent diplomatic events as data points.