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News from NIAS

Shanghai Forum 2016

Once again NIAS director Geir Helgesen, together with Chairman of the Board Lars Bo Kaspersen, and Chunrong Liu Executive Vice Director of the Fudan center are on their way to the Shanghai Forum, taking place on May 27 to 29. The Nordic region is moreover strongly represented by Dagfinn Høybråten of Nordic Coucil of Ministers (NCM).

NIAS is also joining a meeting between NCM and Trilateral Cooperation Committee (TCS) in Seoul, Korea, a cooperation organ between Japan, Korea and China. It is hoped that this second meeting between the two regional organizations will result in some form of formal agreement regarding region to region cooperation.

NIAS Administration

NIAS Project Coordinator/Centre Administrator Katrine Herold is back from maternity leave, welcome.
Natalie Wheeler, coming from a coordinator position at the Nordic Center Fudan, made up for the loss a whole year, before following in Katrine’s footsteps. “We” have produced two Nordic babies! Congratulation to the mothers. After Natalie two student assistants shared the job as NIAS’ outward face and voice, Camilla and Xenia, also thanks a lot to them. They will remain with us as student assistants.

We welcome two new SUPRA Students at NIAS!

The next two weeks we have the pleasure of welcoming Lasse and Karoline at NIAS.

Lasse Lehtonen

I'm a PhD candidate from the University of Helsinki and currently working on my thesis on the Japanese composer group Shinkō sakkyokuka renmei (active from 1930 to 1940). My research includes both cultural viewpoints as well as musical analysis and aims at shedding more light on a topic and musical world that is extremely interesting and versatile but rather rarely studied in the West.



Karoline Opåsen

I am currently working on my master's thesis in social anthropology at the University of Bergen and Christian Michelsen Institute. My thesis base on five months of fieldwork on the outskirts of Delhi, India, and is an ethnographic study of what may happen when a non-governmental organization intervenes in a complex, local reality to create change building on the concepts and ideology of waged work and “women empowerment.”


Seminar: Your smartphone kills workers in China

Friday, June 17, 2016 - 12:15 to 14:15

Your smartphone and many of your household items are produced in China. We all know this and we know that it is a consequence of globalisation - of companies from the global North, including Denmark, moving their production to China. We've come to know China as ‘the factory of the world’. But few are aware of the staggering numbers of workers employed in this factory – more than 270 million people! That is half the population EU. We know even less about their working conditions, their life aspirations, sorrows and joys. Nevertheless, we carry around and use on a daily basis the products that they produce.

This seminar – which mixes state-of–the–art research and insights from China's factory floors with readings of workers’ songs and poems – is concerned with the lives of workers in China and discusses how consumers in Denmark may relate to the life of people who produce our smartphones.

The seminar is free and open to the public. For logistical purposes, however, registration is required.

Register for 'Your smartphone kills workers in China' (deadline: June 15).

Questions? Martin Bech ( / +45 5130 2557).

See programme, abstracts of the presentations and short bios of the speakers/presenters in the attached document below:

We welcome two new SUPRA Students at NIAS!

Liisa Turunen, MA, University of Helsinki

Working title: "Japaneseness in the Variety TV Show Wafu Sohonke." 

Project description: In brief, the aim of my thesis is to find out what kind of image of Japaneseness does the variety TV show Wafu Sohonke create and with what means. Wafu Sohonke is a television series that focuses on different aspects of Japanese culture, and in my research I examine things such as national identity and nationalism.


Xi Yang, MA, University of Oslo

Project description: Xi Yang's master thesis aims to use the case of the car ownership restriction policy implementation variations in Chinese cities to illustrate the existence of a highly heterogenous implementation of the national policies at the subnational level in an authoritarian political system.

Based on intensive fieldwork in five research sites in urban China, a conceptual framework has been developed to analyse how the motivations, behaviours and mechanisms of local bureaucrats has been affected by political risk and interests generated by the Chinese political system. The research finds that policy implementation in autocracies at the local level can also be more dependent on the local leadership than the central leadership. Further, although the autonomy of the local states still exists, the degree of the local autonomy has been greatly reduced as more political pressures has been imposed upon local bureaucrats through party disciplines. In this light, the findings presents a complementary insights for the workings of the authoritarian environmentalism at the local level in China.

Welcome to our new SUPRA student!

Valentina Dotto from Lund University is staying at NIAS for two weeks for the NIAS SUPRA Nordic Scholarship. Welcome!

Papayoanu’s theory: Economic interdependence and the balance of power argues that, different patterns and levels of economic interdependence in the great power system generate societal based economic constraint and incentives. These help status quo powers hoping to mobilise economic resources and political support to oppose perceived threats. This mobilisation process influences strongly the preferences of status quo powers, other states’ beliefs about those preferences, and the interpretation of signals in balance of power politics. He applies his theory to a series of case studies. In particular, in chapter 6 of his book: Power ties Economic interdependence and War he uses his theory to analyse  the post WW II international configuration  where he focus on: Economic Interdependence and Containment: American Strategy, NATO, and the Long Peace. Though the use of the qualitative method: process tracing, I would like to apply his theory and test it on the Asian theatre during the same period of time to answer the question of whether his theory can also be applied to the Asian context.

NIAS closed 22 April 2016

Please note that NIAS is closed Friday 22 April 2016 as this is a Danish holiday. 

Welcome to the two new SUPRA Students at NIAS

Anna Salmivaara from the University of Helsinki is working on her  PhD:

My research analyses how the changes in the nature of work and in labour rights regulation – associated with neoliberal globalization - affect workers’ possibilities of resistance in the Global South. Through a case study that focuses on Cambodian women working in the garment industry, I analyse labour movement’s strategies, the role of trade unions and the relevance of private regulation – particularly corporate social responsibility – in these strategies.







Malgorzata Sidz from the University of Turku is working on her MA:

I am working on my MA thesis on the reproduction of mothering in South Korea and Japan. I am analyzing the theories of mothering and especially focusing on the Nancy Chodorow's psychoanalytical theory of generational reproduction. I am conducting semi-structured interviews with mothers - I have done the part of my research in Seoul and this autumn I will do the second part in Tokyo.

Daniel Bell: The China Model

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - 19:00 to 21:00

Booklaunch with Daniel Bell organized by The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies.

Daniel A. Bell is Chair Professor of the Schwarzman Scholar Program at Tsinghua University in Beijing and director of the Berggruen Institute of Philosophy and Culture. He was born in Montreal, educated at McGill and Oxford, has taught in Singapore and Hong Kong, and has held research fellowships at Princeton’s University Center for Human Values and Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.



Venue: Tranquebar Rejseboghandel Borgergade 14, 1300 København

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We welcome two new SUPRA Students at NIAS!

Shingo Masunaga, University of Turku, PhD

Topic: “Emerging Nationalism in Japan and Its Influences to Security Situation of the Asia-Pacific Region.”


Lucrezia Morellato, Lund University, MA 

Topic: “Violence in Japanese Children’s Books.”