A bi-monthly update on Asia-related events in the Nordic Region
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Thailand Update: Protests Revisited

A two-day conference on Monday, March 15, 2021 and Tuesday, March 16, 2021 

Since the emergence of mass student-led rallies in mid-July 2019, political protest has once again become a major focus of interest in Thailand. This year’s Thailand Update (the sixth so far) links discussions of previous rounds of protest – notably the 6 October 1976 events, the subject of a major new 2020 book by Thongchai Winichakul – to ask searching questions about these recent demonstrations.

Speakers: Duncan McCargo, Thongchai Winichakul, Tyrell Haberkorn, Prajak Konkirati, Aim Sinpeng, Saowanee Alexander, and Kanokrat Lertchoosakul 

Read more here.

Time and date: 14:00-16:15 (CET), Monday March 15, 2021 and14:00-16:30 (CET), Tuesday March 16, 2021
Please register here
Organizers: This event is co-sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the New York Southeast Asia Network and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies.

Ananth Krishnan: India's China Challenge

This event is part of University of Copenhagen's Asian Futures seminar series convened by Ravinder Kaur and Jørgen Delman.

Ananth Krishnan: India's China Challenge - A Journey through China’s Rise and What It Means for India

Join ADI and ToRS for a talk by Ananth Krishnan and a discussion of his book from 2020 in which he attempts to unpack India’s four-fold China challenge:

  • the political challenge of dealing with a one-party state that is looking to increasingly shape global institutions
  • the military challenge of managing an unresolved border
  • the economic challenge of both learning from China’s remarkable and unique growth story and building a closer relationship
  • the conceptual challenge of changing how we think about and engage with our most important neighbour.

More information can be found here.

Time and date:  12:00 - 13:15 (CET), Tuesday 16 March 2021
Please register here.
ADI - Asian Dynamics Initiative and ToRS - Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies

The role of communitas among prisoners in Myanmar and beyond

Asian Studies Research Seminar introducing the research by Liv S. Gaborit on experiences of imprisonment in Myanmar.

The research presentation draws on long term ethnographic fieldwork in Myanmar – inside as well as outside prisons. Through the case of prisoners hearing voices while meditating or in solitary confinement the importance of social relations when understood through theories on liminality, social resilience or critical phenomenology will be discussed. The discussion will show how the experiences of prisoners in Myanmar challenges western theoretical concepts and ontological perspectives. 
Read more here.

Time and date: 13:00 - 14:00 (CET), Tuesday 16 March 2021
Please register here.
Organized by: 
University of Lund - Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies


An Elephant in the Room?
Sowa Rigpa as an Asian Medical Industry

Seminar with guest speaker Stephan Kloos, Acting Director, Institute for Social Anthropology Austrian Academy of Sciences. The seminar is hosted by the research group Medical Anthropology and Medical History. 

Despite a strong body of anthropological scholarship on the professionalization, modernization, and globalization of Tibetan and other Asian medicines, the larger direction and outcome of these transformations – Asian medical industries – has long remained the proverbial elephant in the room. If spoken about at all, commercialization and industrialization are usually portrayed – by anthropologists and the practitioners they quote – as the latest in a line of “threats” to Tibetan medicine, and as its problematic “Other”.

Time and date: 12:15 - 13:30 (CET), Tuesday 16 March 2021
Read more and register here.
Organized by: 
University of Bergen – Medical Anthropology and Medical History (UiB) 

How will China respond to the African debt crisis?

Aslak Orre (CMI) and Arve Ofstad (former Ambassador) in conversation with Lovise Aalen (CMI).

China has emerged as a major provider of loans to many African countries – and now rivals the World Bank as a lender to the continent.  Many African countries are now in a debt crisis – accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

How does China respond to this crisis?  Are the Chinese banks cancelling or renegotiating the loans? And is China now becoming more reluctant in providing loans to Africa?  Does China cooperate with other lenders in providing debt relief? How does the Chinese response compare to the response from the traditional lenders?

The seminar will discuss this based on examples from especially Angola, Mozambique and Zambia.

Time and date: 08:00 - 10:00 (CET), Wednesday 17 March 2021
Read more and register here.
Organized by: 
Bergen Global – University of Bergen and Chr. Michelsen Institute

Building State Capacity “Responsiveness, Repression, and China’s Shrinking Civic Spaces”

Guest lecture by Christian Göbel, University of Vienna

 A new lecture in the “Current affairs in China” series this spring semester: Responsiveness, Repression and China’s Shrinking Civic Spaces.

Repression has increased under Xi Jinping, but so has online participation. Christian Göbel, Chair of China Studies at the University of Vienna, resolves this apparent paradox by showing how the regime uses public participation to monitor local officials, while at the same time cracking down on activities that had been tolerated previously. Citizens are faced with the choice of expressing their grievances through state-sanctioned channels, or risk punishment if they engage in unsanctioned participation. As a result, the gray zone in which citizens engage with the state through protest, satire and intellectual reflection is disappearing.

Time and date: 12:00 - 13:30 (CET), Wednesday 17 March 2021
Please register here.
Organized by:
Department of Foreign Language, University of Bergen

Accountability of Corporate Actors “The Chinese Firm: From Social Responsibility to Social Credit”

Digital guest lecture by by Constantin Holzer, Cork University College

 A new lecture in the “Current affairs in China” series this spring semester: Responsiveness, Repression and China’s Shrinking Civic Spaces.

Due to China’s state sector’s strengthening under the current leadership and the rise of the digital economy, state-business relationships in China have experienced profound changes over the past years, particularly in regulating their behavior. The leadership’s new framework of ‘Corporate Social Credit System’ (SCS) has considerably reduced companies’ strategic autonomy’ while providing new opportunities and legal security in other areas.

Constantin Holzer, a postdoc at the Department of Asian Studies at Cork University College, will explain the paradigmatic and regulatory shift from ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ to SCS and its broader ramifications on state-business relationships and entrepreneurs in China.

Time and date: 12:00 - 13:30 (CET), Wednesday 24 March 2021
Please register here.

Organized by: Department of Foreign Language, University of Bergen

India's Pandemic: Social Murder and Authoritarian Politicsin a Lockdown Nation

A year after the Modi regime imposed one of the strictest lockdown policies in the world on the Indian nation, it's time to take stock of the economic and political dimensions of the pandemic's trajectory. In the wake of the imposition of the national lockdown, India has witnessed unprecedented forms of social suffering and political repression. In this talk, I will suggest that if we want to understand this scenario, it is necessary to think through how the trajectory and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic were shaped by two preexisting crises in India’s economy and polity - on the one hand, a crisis of subsistence and social reproduction, and, on the other hand, a crisis of secular constitutional democracy.

Dates: 14:00 - 15:15 (CET), Wednesday 24 March 2021
Please register here.
Organized by:
University of Oslo


Application Deadline: Postgraduate Research Workshop

Postgraduate Research Workshop: Your research in context

Postgraduate students researching Southeast Asia at an Australian or Nordic research institution are invited to attend this online workshop, which aims to create awareness and encourage students to think about the context of their research.

Read more and apply here.

Time and place:
3-6 May 2021, Online

Deadline: Friday, 9 April 2021
Organized by Co-hosted by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and the Nordic Institute for Asian Studies


New episodes in the #NordicAsiaPodcast

Looking for a listening experience full of researchers' insights on Asia? Try the Nordic Asia Podcast, co-hosted by NIAS, CEAS, ASIANETTVERKET and Forum for Asian Studies. Since the last NIAS Update, we've released the following episodes:

Give it a listen on your favorite podcast streaming platform or find it here.
Find even more events and calls on!
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