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Call for papers, Asia in Focus Issue 5


Asia in Focus is a peer-reviewed journal published online twice a year by NIAS – Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. Asia in Focus was initiated by NIAS to provide Master students and Ph.D. students affiliated to a Nordic institution a widely accessible and transnational forum to publish their findings. The focal point of the journal is the modern Asian societies viewed from the standpoints of social science and humanities. The geographical focus is the Asian countries from Central Asia to Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand. We aim at a high academic level in a concise, focused and readable form, and publish both academic essays and academic articles.
We are seeking full papers (approx. 3500 words) for the next issue of Asia in Focus. The papers which may take an academic article or academic essay format, should pertain to contemporary issues in modern Asia and be rooted in the social sciences or humanities.
We are also accepting book reviews of no more than 1000 words. Choose a title of your own choice that fits with the focus of the journal, or choose from the NIAS Press titles here:
The deadline for submissions is 21 August 2017 and accepted papers will be published winter 2017.
See the attached documents for more information and visit for more detailed instructions about submission
Please contact us by  writing to [email protected].

Issue 4 of Asia in Focus is out!

The latest issue of Asia in Focus, Issue 4, is now out and freely available at
In this issue you can read about the influence of Adat culture on the peace process in North Maluku, Indonesia, and the development of Tourism in Southeast Asia as well as well as two book reviews.
In the opening article the Editorial Committee reflect on the experiences of working with Asia in Focus and the challenges and inspiration they find with the papers that are submitted. Here is a little taster:
We, the Editorial Committee, have been giving some thought as to the meaning of Asia in Focus. From the side of our contributors, we have considered: What are the opportunities presented for early-career researchers? How can publishing with us benefit them? From the editorial side, we have pondered: Why are we editors here? What are our concerns about the submissions we receive? What are the highlights during the review process? What further advice can we give to our contributors and readers? Instead of keeping the answers to these questions to ourselves, we would like to share, as we view the responses as useful knowledge that may further assist early-career researchers in their academic careers as well as inform a wider public of the situation scholars are in. 
Enjoy the read!


Grace I-An Gao, PhD student at Helsinki University: Indigenous Peoples and Long-term Care: Reflecting Taiwan and Finland

Grace I-An Gao’s doctoral project examines how long-term care systems accommodate Indigenous Peoples. By critically reflecting on the cases of two groups of Indigenous Peoples, namely Tayal in Taiwan and Sámi in Finland, she aims to scrutinize how the long-term care systems respond to their social, cultural and political claims. Methodologically, she utilizes critical policy analysis for the policies and critical ethnography as well as situated analysis for her field work data.


Ulrika Löfblad, MA student at Lund University

My MA-thesis in Library- and Information Studies (ALM) at Lund University, Sweden, explores the meanings behind rural reading rooms (tushushi or nongwushi) in Yunnan Province, PRC. Reading rooms could be described as a major development project carried out by the state in an attempt to modernise rural regions; providing educational- and informational spaces is a key aspect of policy on the new countryside, and the creation of what is referred to as “ a new type peasant” (xinxing nongmin) (Zhongfa 2006, Doc. 1).
The thesis is based on extensive fieldwork in the Baoshan region in Western Yunnan, and follows an ethnographic approach. 


Christopher Weidacher Hsiung, PhD Student, Oslo University

Mitigating great power competition - China's reassurance strategy toward Russia in the post-cold war period 

The main research question of this thesis is: how has China responded to its growing capabilities in regards to Russia in the post-cold war period? Since the end of the cold war, China's rise and Russia's relative decline caused growing concerns in Russia over China's increased capabilities and future intentions. The thesis builds on literature that holds that asymmetric power relations in great power relations can exacerbate security dilemma dynamics and that such developments often lead to great power conflict. 

The main argument of the thesis is that China's post-cold war Russia policy, however, was characterized by an overall reassurance strategy. This was conditioned on Chinese leaders' awareness of Russian concerns over China's rise which led to strategy of reassurance to mitigate the potential for bilateral security dilemma dynamics with Russia (something referred to as security dilemma sensibility). Specifically, China's reassurance strategy consisted of three main elements: restraint, commitment and inclusiveness. The thesis shows how these elements where evident in China's polices towards Russia in regards to border and military issues, and on economic and diplomatic issues, thus constituting an overall strategy of reassurance toward Russia.


Sher E Khoda, PhD Student, University of Jyväskylä

Proposed research Title: Delivering Microfinance in Bangladesh: The capacity building of third sector organizations and poverty reduction

I am a third year PhD student at the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. My research is primarily focusing on the rising debate of microfinance operation towards poverty reduction. This research is following qualitative case study method to collect empirical data using in-depth interview of microcredit clients and the credit officials.


Lea Lybecker, MA student, Lund University

Lea Lybecker is a master’s student at Lund University (Department of Human Geography). She has spent the last 10 months in Myanmar working for the Asia Foundation on a research project on subnational conflict, aid and development, while simultaneously doing fieldwork for her master’s thesis. The thesis examines a single development intervention; an ADB financed road improvement project through contested areas in Kayin state, and explores ways in which this project might interact with local and national conflict dynamics. 

Emilija Zabiliute to receive The Ester Boserup Thesis Prize

Friday, June 9, 2017 - 14:00 to 16:30

We are happy to announce that The Ester Boserup Thesis Prize will be awarded to Emilija Zabiliūtė for her PhD dissertation Living with Others: Subjectivity, Relatedness and Health among Urban Poor in Delhi.

The assessment committee praised the thesis saying ’it excels in presenting a rich ethnography and in the sensitivity and empathy with which the everyday lives of the poor are analysed and portrayed. The study draws on a long-term fieldwork among urban poor, informal biomedical practitioners, and at a governmental health clinic, run under a developmental programme in the poor urban area. This innovative inquiry underscores how healing, care and developmental interventions are interlinked with everyday relations in the families and community. The study rethinks precarity among poor embedded in political economies, and shows how vulnerabilities among the poor are relational. By considering the diversity of medical care available to the poor, the study also shows how their access to health is less a question of lack, and more of quality, coherence and navigation of complex healthcare ecologies.

In connection with the ceremony Emilija Zabiliūtė will give a public lecture on 9 June 2017 at 14.00 in Festauditoriet, Bülowsvej 17, 1870 Frederiksberg C.
Timothy MitchellColumbia University, New York, receiving the The Ester Boserup Prize 2017 will also give a lecture entitled "Economentality: How Capitalism Captured the Future".

The Ester Boserup Thesis Prize is awarded by the Copenhagen Centre for Development Research (CCDR).
To read more click here


Bryndís Ólafsdóttir, PhD student, University of Iceland

Network relations and internationalization of smaller Nordic firms exporting to the Japanese market
I am a second-year Ph.D. student at the School of Business, University of Iceland. My research interests are internationalization and entry-mode research, network relations and the role of trade intermediaries, specifically in relation to Icelandic, Danish and Swedish small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) exporting to the Japanese market. This is a qualitative research with in-depth interviews with managers and trade agents. The theoretical basis of the research is predominately from the Uppsala Internationalization process model.

Saki Kudo, MA student, University of Tampere

The Influence of Firms on Female Lifecycle decisions
The labor force participation of women has increased in many industrial countries. Female lifestyle choices appear to be more flexible than they were earlier. Yet certain cross-national differences remain. My Master’s thesis addressed how the decisions of firms regarding family leave influence the decision-making process of women. A game theoretic model and a laboratory experiment allowed me to explain the effective policy to support female lifecycle decisions.

Michael Mærsk-Møller Hansson workplace student at NIAS

I am a Master's student in Anthropology from the University of Copenhagen.
I am 
currently writing my Master's thesis with the tentative title 'Staying pleasurably, staying well - staying Kachin'. In this thesis I explore popular notions of how well-being and the good life is conceptualized among young Kachin from the northernmost state of Myanmar, Kachin State. I argue that dominant conceptions of well-being among these youth revolve around collectivist notions of Kachin ethno-nationalism. Thus, the principles of the Kachin nationalist movement and the somewhat utopian idea of an autonomous Kachin nation led by Kachin people influence both how people perceive and pursue a better future. I write the thesis based on three months of ethnographic fieldwork in the end of 2016 in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar.

Michael will be at NIAS until August.

SUPRA Nordic Scholarship for MA and PhD students Fall 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

SUPRA Nordic Scholarship for MA and PhD students Fall 2017

If you are working on a MA or PhD thesis during Fall 2017 and need some inspiration, literature or simply just time to write on your thesis, then NIAS has something to offer: the Nordic Scholarship!

The Nordic Scholarship covers inexpensive travel to Copenhagen, two weeks board and accommodation plus a working place at NIAS! A perfect chance to concentrate on your thesis, have inspirational talks with our researchers or collect material in Northern Europe's most comprehensive Asian studies library.

More information about SUPRA students' experiences at NIAS and practical information as well as application form.

NB: SUPRA scholarships are primarily for students from NNC member institutions.

Deadline for application: 1 June 2017

For more information, please contact [email protected]

Gendered Globalization - Sino-Nordic Policies and Research

Gender equality matters in China and the Nordic countries. In a Policy Brief on Sino-Nordic policy solutions to gendered globalization written for the Stockholm-based Institute for Security and Development Policy, Cai Yiping, Executive Committee member of Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) and Dr Cecilia Milwertz, senior researcher at NIAS, point to opportunities for China and the Nordic countries to address gender inequalities internationally. They also suggest that joint Sino-Nordic research is needed in order to more fully understand newly emerging gender issues in interconnected global processes.