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News from NIAS

Caroline Bennett New Guest Researcher at NIAS

Caroline writes:

Currently a lecturer in cultural anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, I am currently on research leave at NIAS until June.  While I'm here I'll be working on the preparation of my book manuscript - an anthropological examination of mass graves from the Khmer Rouge regime in contemporary Cambodia - as well as working on pulling together the final strands of a volume on new ethnographic research challenges in Asia that I am co-editing with Nayantara Sheoran Appleton, a colleague in New Zealand.

As a social and forensic anthropologist, my research focusses on politics and violence, with specific attention to genocide, human rights abuses, and the politics of death and the dead. I consider relations to human remains after mass death and disaster, with a particular focus right now on exploring the use of political violence and mass death in projects of nation and state building in contemporary Cambodia. My research intersects the practical and theoretical approaches to mass grave investigation and the recovery and identification of human remains. I hold a BSc in Anthropology (University College London), MSc in Forensic Anthropology (Bradford University), MA in Visual Anthropology (University of Kent), and a PhD in Social Anthropology (University of Kent).


Jiyu Zhang, PhD, Department of Film and Literary Studies at Leiden University, the Netherlands. 

Sinoscope: Reimagining Chinese Cinema in the Global Age

Jiyu's fields of interest include film and media studies, comparative and world literature, modern and contemporary China. His research project attends to the ways in which language, culture, and geography map onto identity politics in Chinese-speaking communities.  He studies the representation of ethnic minorities in contemporary Chinese cinema. Premised on specific historical conditions, he contend that the construction of minority communities renders a site of ambivalence that invites both convergence and divergence to China's nationalist project. On the one hand, modern China was erected on an ideal of egalitarian multinational state in the face of Western influence, a pursuit to integrate Han and non-Han peoples into a holistic regime. On the other hand, the rise of Han ethnocentrism has been compromising the unity of the Chinese nation at the cost of ethnic diversity and equality. While during Mao’s era ethnic minority films served to cultivate a collective identification, narrative patterns of this untenable genre have disintegrated in aspects of language, aesthetics, and structure since the post-Mao era.


Wahiduzzaman Siddique, MA, University of Tampere

"I am Wahid and I am from Bangladesh. I am studying Master’s programme in Peace Mediation and Conflict Research at Tampere University, Finland. I did my bachelor International Relations at University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. At this moment I am doing my master’s thesis on “Impact of Rohingya Refugee on Local Host Community”. Beside studies, I have engaged myself in different voluntary works with Save the Children, Finnish Refugee Council and Finnish Red Cross. After graduation, I aspire to pursue a career in one of the humanitarian aid organizations."


Trine Flaaøien, MA, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

"I am a master student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technoloy in Trondheim. I am studying sceince and technology studies. In my master thesis, I am writing about China's increase use of dockless sharing bicycles. The purpose of the study is to enhance the understanding of dockless bike-sharing in China, focusing on issues such as teh reason for the popularity of the bike, the understanding of the users, and teh impact on the city and residents' daily life."


Milla Mariella Susanna Heikkinen, MA, Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Finland

Future Attitudes Towards Japanese Families: The Stigmas that Impede Family Ideals 

"I am a second year East Asian Studies master’s degree student at the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Finland. I graduated in May 2017 with a BA in Global Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Lincoln, NE, USA, where I have spent the majority of my school years after moving from Vantaa, Finland at the age of eight. Last summer I completed an internship at the Lincoln Asian Community and Cultural Center as the Grant Writing and Resource Development intern, where I learned valuable skills in working for a non-profit organization.

I am currently finishing my studies at CEAS by writing my MA thesis and planning to graduate in May. My MA thesis topic revolves around Japanese families and the attitudes toward family by the next generation of parents, as well as the impact of prevailing stigmas in society. The goal of my research is to figure out how the prevailing stigmas and society are preventing young adults from wanting to have children in the future and to acknowledge that the current government programs are geared toward today’s parents and not those of tomorrow."


Call for Papers: AsiaInFocus

Friday, April 5, 2019


Call for Papers for Asia in Focus, Issue 8

Asia in Focus is an entirely free open access publication devoted to research on modern Asian societies from the standpoint of the humanities and the social sciences, with Level 1 ranking in Norway. Now in its second year of publication, Asia in Focus has published an extremely wide range of subject areas from political economy and societal change, to international relations, popular culture, literature, education and film.


We operate a triple-blind review process; the identity of the reviewers and authors are not disclosed to either party. We usually publish two issues per year and have a short turnaround time for the entire review and publishing process (6 months).


  • Submissions should be made via (register as an Author)
  • Submissions must follow APA style referencing
  • Authors must refer to for full details on how to submit
  • The deadline for submissions is 5 April 2019

More information.

New workplace student at NIAS

NIAS is happy to welcome Iben Carlsen.

Iben writes:

I am studying Advanced Migration Studies, an interdisciplinary master’s degree at University of Copenhagen and I hold a BA degree in International Development Studies from Roskilde University. As a part of my studies, I have spent one semester in Tamil Nadu in India and done an internship with the Danish Embassy in Myanmar.

Research Area
I am writing my master’s thesis on community-based tourism (CBT) in Myanmar (Burma). 
CBT offers an alternative to mass tourism by focusing on sustainability and empowerment of marginalised communities. Based on fieldwork done in different CBT sites in Myanmar, I research how CBT is understood among external stakeholders working with CBT and how it is practised within the communities. I also look into different meanings of empowerment and to what extent CBT can be used as an empowerment tool in the context Myanmar where the military is still a powerful force.


Hanna Zwolińska, MA, Berlin School of Economics and Law and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu.

A cross-cultural analysis of Polish and Chinese tourist sensory experience and its use for marketing purposes

"I am a Chinese-European Economics and Business student at the Berlin School of Economics and Law and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu. The master thesis will include theoretical background regarding cultural differentiation, tourism marketing, and sensory experience. The hypothesis is that when travelers visit a certain destination (in this case Huanglongxi ancient city near Chengdu) the larger the cultural distance, the deeper and stronger the sensory experience. A survey conducted among three groups visiting the city (Chinese living in Chengdu, Chinese living far from Chengdu, and Poles) aims to measure these experiences and identify the major differences between them. Finally, the results will be used to design adequate marketing strategies targeting each of those groups." 



Dakyeong Lee, MA, University of Oslo

Implementing "healthy cities": a qualitative study of policymakers' experience with fostering intersectoral collaboration to promote healthy cities in the SDG era

"I am a second-year student studying master’s in International Community Health at the University of Oslo. I received my B.A degree of Political Science at Dongguk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. As a student who studied political science, I have a strong passion for working in the fields of health equality, global health governance, climate change, environmental health and gender equality. Currently, I am working on my master’s project which focuses on World Health Organization’s ‘Healthy Cities Project’ and the United Nation’s new global governance, ‘Sustainable Development Goals’. My current master thesis was carried out in Seoul, which is one of the biggest megacities in the world. Main aim of this research is to investigate perceptions and experience of policymakers in Seoul metropolitan area toward healthy cities and Sustainable Development Goals. This research also explored how local policymakers in Seoul have implemented the healthy cities concept to the local level to foster intersectoral collaboration to reduce health inequalities."

Workplace student at NIAS

Ninna Frandsen Thorup will be a workplace student at NIAS until summer 2019

“I am a master student at the department of anthropology at University of Copenhagen. Last year I spend a semester in Taiwan to do fieldwork for my thesis. My master thesis concerns how leftist students in Taiwan pursue national independence. In particular I analyse how the students perform a particular national identity and how this identity relates to gender relations and generational circumstances. I look into how the students express their frustrations about living in a nation they hope one day to be independent under the name Taiwan and also how this frustration motivates them to engage with political issues. Further I am interested in how changes in the political landscape in Taiwan shape the students’ engagement with politics, and during my fieldwork I followed the local elections held in Taiwan."

New Guest Researcher at NIAS

Nguyen Thanh Tam has just arrived at NIAS, she will be here for the next 3 months.

Tam is a legal adviser on international trade and business law at the Law Office Huynh Nam, Hanoi, Viet Nam. She is Associate Professor and former Dean of the Faculty of International Trade and Business Law at Hanoi Law University in Viet Nam.

During Tam’s stay as a guest researcher at NIAS, she is working on the political, economic and legal issues for Nordic businesses operating in “globalizing” Viet Nam. The purpose of the research is to support Nordic businesses to understand better the advantages and challenges of the business environment in Viet Nam - an emerging market, which is smaller than other Asian markets, but not less attractive in the context of new trends of global and ASEAN’s FDI.

The outputs of the research will be an article published in an academic journal and a presentation / talk about the business environment in “globalizing” Viet Nam.

New workplace student at NIAS

Ívar Vincent Smárason is a new workplace student at NIAS, he will be at NIAS until this Summer.

Ívar writes:
"I am writing my master’s thesis on the topic of China‘s Arctic policy. I specifically want to focus on how the Nordic countries have reacted to and conceptualised China’s involvement in the Arctic, especially in terms of investment and infrastructure projects. The Arctic is a bold new frontier for China with lots of possibilities but there are equally as many obstacles. Recently, there has been some public backlash to China’s engagement within the Nordic countries. This begs the question whether China’s involvement in the Arctic vis-à-vis the Nordic countries has permanently harmed their “Arctic identity” in any way, and whether that might impact China’s future Arctic aspirations?

I am a master’s student at Lund University in Sweden where I study Asian studies, focusing on China. I hold a BA degree in political science from the University of Iceland.”