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Annual Conference of the Association of Borderlands Studies @ Reno, Nevada April 13-16, 2016

Annual Conference of the Association of Borderlands Studies @ Reno,

Nevada April 13-16, 2016

The UBRJ team at Hokkaido University and KUBS team at Kyushu University attended the annual conference of the Association of Borderlands Studies in Reno, Nevada on April 13-16, 2016.

In this year's conference, there was a particular emphasis on gender and border, as Kathleen Staudt (University of Texas at El Paso) organized two back to back panels titled, "Gendering Border Studies I" and "Gendering Border Studies II".

In the panel titled "Gendering Border Studies I", three speakers took the stage including Kathleen, Naomi Chi (Hokkaido University) and Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera (University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley). Kathleen kicked off with her presentation titled, "Biopolitics in These Neoliberal Times," in which she pointed out how gender, as a social construct, has been explored and examined in the social sciences and humanities, however, very little in border studies. She emphasized the importance of "gendering" border studies, as the key themes of biopolitics, such as gendering and migration journey, gendered violence on the borderlands and gendered encounters with border politics are very much the "realities" that place at the border. This was followed by Naomi Chi's presentation titled, "Growing Pains?: Foreign Brides in Japan and Korea" which explored the sometimes dangerous migration journey of Asian brides to Japan and Korea, more specifically, from developing countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Mongolia and rural parts of China to marry rich men in the two respective countries. The last speaker, Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera presented her work titled, "Migration and Trafficking along Mexico's Southern Border: The Unintended Consequences of Mexico's Southern Border Plan and the Re-victimization of Vulnerable Groups" in which she explored the women's agency in the trafficking activities in Mexico's southern border.

The second part, "Gendering Border Studies II", brought together three speakers including Kimberly Collins (California State University at San Bernardino), Patricia Barraza De Anda (Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez) and Irasema Coronado (University of Texas at El Paso). The panel kicked off with Patricia presenting her work titled, "The Role of Municipal Authorities of Women in Mexico: The Creation of the Juarez Municipal Institute of Women in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico," looking at the roles of female authorities in Juarez and how that is bringing about reforms in the area. Next speaker, Kimberly, presented her work titled, "Globalization of Economies and Terror: A Feminist Response to Creating More Viable Border Security Institutions" in which she explored the need to give feminism a voice again in response to the backlash against women's rights and reproductive freedom and to include the impacts of globalization on people. Last but not least, Irasema presented her work titled, "Family Politics at the Border: Security Policies that Separate Refugee and Aylum-seeking Parents" where she examined the impact on children of families deported from the U.S. She showed that the policies on deportation is just recycling of old policies which has severe negative impacts on the children. She emphasized that policies need to change in order to conduct practice for the best interest of the children because the impacts can be detrimental and irreversible.

It is the hope of all the speakers of the two panels that this new endevour of trying to incorporate the gender factor into border studies will become a new trend in the annual conference. Special thanks goes to Kathleen for organizing the two panels.

(Written by: Naomi Chi)

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Call for papers: "Cross-border Migrations from the East to the East, the West and Russia: Past and Present" (November 21-23, 2016, Moscow)

Call for papers: "Cross-border Migrations from the East to the East, the West and Russia: Past and Present" (November 21-23, 2016, Moscow)

   Professor Sergey Panarin (Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS) send UBRJ the call for papers of the international conference "Cross-border Migrations from the East to the East, the West and Russia: Past and Present," which will be held in Moscow on November 21-23, 2016. The deadline of the paper proposal submission will be on May 31, 2016. The call for papers in English can be downloaded from here. You can also download the Russian version of the document from here. Those who are interested in this conference, please contact via E-mail: conference-ivran[at] ([at] should be changed to "@").


CAFS Spring Workshop - A Fresh Look at Borders March 17, 2016 @ Fukuoka

CAFS Spring Workshop - A Fresh Look at Borders March 17, 2016 @ Fukuoka

   On March 17th, 2016, old and new friends of the border studies community in Japan (from Hokkaido to Kyushu!) met in Fukuoka for the Kyushu University Center for Asia-Pacific Future Studies Spring Workshop titled, "A Fresh Look at Borders." The workshop consisted of two panels which focused particularly on Asian borders.

   The first session looked at migration and borders in an international airport. The first speaker, Naomi Chi from Hokkaido University, looked at migration policies and ethnic minorities in East Asia, particularly Japan and Korea, and analyzed the transition of migration and the politics of inclusion and exclusion that exist in the two respective countries. The second speaker, Nobuhiro Aizawa of Kyushu University, presented his work "Political Borders in an International Airport" where he examined the control of borders through the political contestation of constructing and managing an international airport vis-à-vis the case of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International airport, the hub airport of mainland Southeast Asia and conversely how this politics shaped the national power structure.

   In the second session, Fuminori Kawakubo from Chuo Gakuin University presented his work on "Border Walls and the Global War on Terror" and how the continuous fencing and building of walls in the name of war against terror has negative and irreversible effects on border security. Last but not least, CAFS very own Ted Boyle presented his work "Fencing the Indian Northeast" where he explored his observations from his recent field work in Northeast India. While there is a strong Indian national discourse on "fencing" the northeastern part of India, the local people enjoy some freedom of movement, various "informal" markets and trade.

(written by Naomi CHI)



"Border Studies Down Under" March 7, 2016 at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

"Border Studies Down Under" March 7, 2016 at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

   On March 7th, 2016, border studies scholars gathered in Wellington, New Zealand, for the "Border Studies Down Under: Workshop on Borders and Non-State/Sub-State Actors" which was hosted by Alexander Bukh at the Victoria University of Wellington. The workshop opened with few words from our lovely host, followed by Akihiro Iwashita's opening remarks read by fellow colleague, Naomi Chi, as he was unable to attend the workshop as he had to attend to a family emergency. In his remarks, Akihiro Iwashita mentioned that this workshop is part of the initiative to further promote border studies within the Asia-Pacific region but also the founding of the Japan Chapter of Border Studies which is in the midst of creating a linkage with the Association of Borderlands Studies.
   In the first panel titled "Territorial Disputes and Civil Society," speakers dealt with the theme of territorial disputes within East Asia. The first presentation was given by Achin Hsiau, from Taiwan's Academica Sinica, on "Defending Diaoyutai Islands: Territorial Dispute, National Trauma, and Generation in Taiwan"; the second presentation by Alexander Bukh entitled "Korean National Identity, Civic Activism and Dokdo/Takeshima Territorial Dispute"; third presentation by Ted Boyle from Kyushu University entitled "Bounding Japan: Scaled Borders, Homogenized Territory and Towards a Theory." Their presentations emphasized the importance of examining the interactions between state policy and civil society in territorial issues, and whether there has been a conceptual change in the manner in which both state and the people understand the notion of "national territory."
   The second panel examined "Migration, Human Security and Borders," and kicked off by Naomi Chi who examined "Human Security in Northeast Asia," emphasizing that human or non-traditional security could potentially displace traditional security for Asian states, and thus potentially lead to an era of increased cooperation rather than competition between them. In "Practicing Democracy Across Borders: the electoral participation of New Zealand's Australian diaspora," Kate McMillan of the Victoria University of Wellington sought to analyze the voting patterns of the large trans-Tasman diaspora, potentially a voting bloc forming about 15% of the electorate. The last speaker, Kimberly Collins of California State University, talked about "Regional Integration, Policy Networks and Democracy in the California-Baja California Border Region," emphasizing the varied scales of border governance, the culturally constructed notion of good governance which is applied to such regions, and a potential typology of governance applicable to the region. Her primary claim that resonated across all three papers was the need for 21st century institutions, ones capable of not only responding flexibly to local border issues but able to incorporate human security whilst remaining democratically accountable.
   The final panel entitled "European Borders and Non-State Actors," invited three speakers including Martin van der Velde of Radboud University who presented his work "The Perception of the Dutch-German border as a barrier by citizens and institutions" which focused on the EU's Interreg programme, which seeks to develop and increase cohesion within the cross-border region as a whole, and its effect on the perceptions of locals regarding the border. The paper by Jussi Laine of the University of Eastern Finland, "Building a Transnational Space for Action: What Role for Civil Society?", focused on the Russo-Finnish border, appeared at time to have an utopian view of the notion of Cross-Border Cooperation, in which it seemed possible to separate it from the wider social context within which it occurs. The third speaker, Serghei Golunov of Kyushu University presented his work "Balancing on the Border between Legality and Illegality: Informal Trade in the Russia-EU and the Russia Japan Borderlands," which examined patterns of shuttle trade of four commodities across these borders in the years since the end of the Cold War. The fourth paper in the panel, by Saleem Ali of the University of Queensland, looked at "Science Diplomacy across the Bering Straits: Experiential Learning as an Opportunity for Thawing US-Russian Relations. Based on the speaker's involvement in various forms of experiential learning, it sought to emphasize the potential contribution of such projects to both the education of students and the border areas themselves.

(written by Naomi CHI)
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Current issue of Eurasia Border Review (EBR) is now published

Current issue of Eurasia Border Review (EBR) is now published

  The latest issue of the peer-reviewed journal of UBRJ, Eurasia Border Review (Vol. 6, No. 1), is now published. The current issue contains three articles about the Russia's selective territorial revisionism by Mikhail Alexeev, the Greenland's autonomy by Minori Takahashi and the medical tourism on Mexico's nothern border by Tomás Cuevas Contreas. Assel Bitabarova contributed a research note about the Tajikistan-China border settlement. Two "perspectives" were also published by Marec Menkiszak and Zhao Huasheng about the actual border-related matters in Ukraine and the Far East. The issu also contains the record of the roundtable discussion "Reshaping Border Studies in Asia and Pacific," organized at the Center for Asia- Pacific Future Studies 1st Symposium (Kyushu University) on March 7-8, 2015. You can download all the papers from the special site of the journal.


Panel 2: Gender and Migration @ Redesigning Asia PacficFuture Studies at Kyushu University (Feb. 21, 2016)

Panel 2: Gender and Migration @ Redesigning Asia PacficFuture Studies at Kyushu University (Feb. 21, 2016)

The second panel at the "Redesigning the Asia Pacific Studies at Kyushu University" was on Gender and Migration, and Prof. Kim Yeun Hee from Daegu University in Korea and Prof. Seo Akwi from the Fukuoka's Women's University presented their works "North Korean Migrants in Perpetual Motion" and "Migrant Women and Transnational Feminist Movement in East Asia", respectively.

Prof. Kim's work examined the re-refuge of North Korean defectors to other third countries due to the discrimination that they face in South Korea and the difficulty in integrating in South Korean societies, and explored the possibility of looking at North Korean defectors as global migrants.

Prof. Seo examined the trend of feminization of migration in East Asia and the population and movement of women migrants in Japan and Korea. She also pointed out that empowerment of these women and the emerging of an transnational feminist solidarity.

The discussant of the panel, Prof. Naomi Chi, introduced the concept of "othering" which is any action by which an individual or group becomes mentally classified in somebody's mind as "not one of us". She pointed out that the grouping of people into certain stereotyped classes, who then are treated differently based on the classes they have been sorted them into, is a deeply rooted aspect of human nature.

She also illustrated that the politics of inclusion and exclusion can be seen in the treatment of North Korean defectors as well as women migrants in East Asia. The reason for this is because in both Korean and Japan, there is still a very strong notion of nationalism and being a homogenous society. Accepting difference or diversity seems still quite the challenge. However, she emphasized the point that the countries in East Asia have the lowest birth rates and rapidly becoming an aged society. Faced with this challenge, there is no choice BUT to accept migrants to the respective countries.

She concluded her comments by stating that instead of considering them as the "other" we must see them as a member of our community that will take on the social risks together. State intervention is necessary in so far as that to counter the various risks we face in today's world. This is what we can call a welfare state, where people, regardless of their race, gender, class, or ethnicity, can have agency, and as Amartya Sens states, focusing on the moral significance of individuals' capability of achieving the kind of lives they have reason to value.

(Written by: Naomi Chi)

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(Left to Right): Prof. Yeun Hee Kim, Prof. Akwi Seo, Prof. Naomi Chi, Prof. Reiko Ogawa


International Symposium:Redesigning the Asian Pacific Future Studies at Kyushu University February 21, 2016 @ Fukuoka

International Symposium:Redesigning the Asian Pacific Future Studies at Kyushu University February 21, 2016 @ Fukuoka

On Sunday, February 21, 2016, about 20 scholars from seven countries spent the day in Fukuoka trying to imagine the future of the Asia Pacific, and barring that, at least the shape of the future of Asia Pacific studies. The Center for Pacific Future Studies (CAFS) at Kyushu University was the principle organizer, in cooperation with several faculties at Kyudai, as well as the Slavic-Eurasian Research Center at Hokkaido University.

Karen Eggleston of Stanford University and the National Bureau of Economic Research gave the keynote speech. Dr. Eggleston heads the Asia Health Policy Program at Stanford's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and spoke on the "Economic Challenges from the "New" Demographic Transition: East Asia in Comparative Perspective." This talk was keyed to a slide show of up-to-date demographic data from China, Japan and Korea, as well as other selected countries. The New Demographic Transition involves the gains in life expectancy in high income countries, where the elderly are simply living longer, more active lives. Individually, this is great, but for society, this is "graying" and with grave economic implications. Most striking is that Japan, South Korea and China are the world's countries where this phenomenon has hit hardest. Eggleston presented from several recent research reports that offer possible solutions to the challenges of the graying society, including increased investment in human capital, the lengthening of the work career, and the offering of flexible and/or reduced hours to convince working women to have more children.

After that, borders took the stage, first with a historical overview of border studies by Professor Takagi Akihiko (Kyushu U.) followed by a panel on "Rebordering Northeast Asia," chaired by Iwashita Akihiro (CAFS/SRC) that included presentations on: 1) difficult Sino-Japanese relations in, around and about the East China Sea that trace the limits of bilateral relations under present stormy conditions (Masuo Chisako, Kyushu U.); 2) China's construction of a "Near Abroad" under the rubric of "One Belt, One Road" with a deep comparison of the "Belt" part, five countries in Central Asia, with the "Road" part, ten countries in Southeast Asia; (Christopher Len, Energy Studies Institute, National University of Singapore); and 3) An analysis of the Dokdo/Takeshima and Senkaku/Diaoyu through the lens of "ontological security," a method for understanding how the ratification of the Law of the Sea in East Asia in the 1990s together with various other conjunctural turning points in power relations made previously dormant issues about the possession of various "features" in the ocean go viral. Comments were delivered by David Wolff (Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido U.) and Yoo mi Kim (Seoul National U.).

Additional panels dealt with "Migration and Gender" and "Space, Territoriality and International Relations." Every paper dealt with borders or boundaries with theoretical and case studies of migration and integration across international borders, as well as through communal boundaries of gender or sociopolitical systems.

(Written by: David Wolff)

International Symposium:Redesigning the Asian Pacific Future Studies at Kyushu University February 21, 2016 @ Fukuoka  IMG_6842.JPG


Applications for Border Studies Summer School Now Open!!


Applications for Border Studies Summer School Now Open!!

The Slavic Eurasian Research Center and the Graduate School of Public Policy at Hokkaido University are delighted to announce that the summer school on border studies will be hosted in Sapporo from July 25-28, 2016. The Slavic Eurasian Research Center has hosted the summer school on border studies in the past from 2010 to 2014 as part of the Global COE project "Reshaping Japan's Border Studies." This year's summer school will be hosted as part of the Hokkaido Summer Institute, which is a program that brings together distinguished scholars and our faculty members to provide an educational experience to students from across Japan and around the world. It will allow participants to expand their knowledge of subjects previously open only to students of the university. The deadline for application is at 17:00 on February 28.

The two courses on border studies that will be available are as follows:

Invitation to Border Studies I: Theory and Practice (Period: July 25-26, 2016)

[Course Schedule]

1. Introduction to the course: Overview, ice breaker

2. Theoretical Framework on Border Studies

3. Border and Migration I: Case study of Europe

4. Border and Migration II: Case study of East Asia

5. Border and Environment I: Case study of the Arctic

6. Border and Environment II: Case study of Central Asia

7. Border and International relations I: North Korean issues

8. Border and International relations II: Territorial issues

Invitation to Border Studies II: Practice and Application (Period: July 27-28, 2016)

[Course Schedule]

1. Introduction to the course: Overview, ice breaker

2. Border and tourism: Case study of East Asia

3. Border and tourism: Case study of Europe

4. Border and Culture: Representation through art

5. Border and Culture: Foodscapes

6. Border and gender

7. Border and diversity

8. Wrap up session: Student presentations

The post-school excursion in Sapporo & Shiraoi is planned on July 29.

The above courses will be taught by the following instructors:

Akihiro Iwashita (Slavic Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido Univ.)

Shinichiro Tabata (Slavic Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido University)

Tetsuro Chida (Slavic Eurasian Research Center, Hokkaido Univ.)

Naomi Chi (Graduate School of Public Policy, Hokkaido Univ.)

Alexander Diener (University of Kansas)

David Shim (University of Groningen)

Paul Fryer (University of Eastern Finland),

Joni Virkkunen (University of Eastern Finland)

These above two courses are introductory courses on border studies, covering the theoretical frameworks and specific issues pertaining to borders in Eurasia. This is your invitation to border studies, everyone is most welcome!

For more information please visit the following website:

For directions on application procedure please visit the following:

For all other inquiries including student grants for the summer school please contact Dr. Naomi Chi @ n_chi*

(Please change* to @)


Kick-off Symposium "Rediscovery of Northeast Asia" at MINPAKU

Kick-off Symposium "Rediscovery of Northeast Asia" at MINPAKU

     On January 23-24, 2016, National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU), Japan, hosted a kick-off symposium "Rediscovery of Northeast Asia" at the National Museum of Ethnology (MINPAKU) in Osaka, Japan. NIHU is an inter-university research cooperation for human cultures subsidized by the Ministry of Education Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and this kick-off symposium is part of the area studies program for Northeast Asia promoted by NIHU. This new program involves five research centers in Japan, including the Slavic Eurasian Research Center at Hokkaido University, Center for Northeast Asia Studies at Tohoku University, Center for Far East Area Studies at Toyama University, Institute for Northeast Asian Research at the University of Shimane and the National Museum of Ethnology at NIHU. These five research centers compose the basis of the network to promote this new project on the area studies of Northeast Asia.

     The kick-off symposium started off with a session organized by Prof. Akihiro Iwashita, and invited Yong Chool Ha (University of Washington, US), Sergey Sevastyanov (Far Eastern Federal University, Russia), Cheng Yang (East China Normal University, China), Mitsuhiro Mimura (Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia, Japan) and David Wolff (Hokkaido University) to present on the theme, "Why Northeast Asian States have not seen the Emergence of Cross-border Cooperation: Reflections from the 1980s to Today."

     In the session, the panelists were asked to talk about the achievements and challenges that Northeast Asia has faced in terms of history, economy, security, geopolitics, domestic politics, culture and nationalism, in the regions of their expertise. Though there have been some successes in Northeast Asia, however, the general agreement was that there is little regional integration in Northeast Asia, especially in terms of security. With the rise in new friction points in the East China Sea as well as the South China Sea, many are pessimistic in chances of any further regional integration in Northeast Asia. While there is much work left to do, priority must be given to security mechanisms and confidence building in the area, and we need to create more opportunities for parties involved to promote mutual interest and to sense mutual danger in Northeast Asia, such as environmental issue, pandemics, gender issues, among others.

(written by Naomi Chi)

20160123NIHU_North-East Asia.pngSession 1 (left to right: Akihiro IWASHITA, Yong Chool HA, Sergey SEVASTYANOV, Cheng YANG, Mitsuhiro MIMURA, David WOLFF)


Tentative Founding of the Japan Chapter of Border Studies

Tentative Founding of the Japan Chapter of Border Studies

   The prepatory meeting of the Japan Chapter of Border Studies took place on Nov. 23, 2015 at the Center of Asia-Pacific Future Studies (CAFS) at Kyushu University and the Chapter was founded by the 16 full members of the Chapter.
   The Chapter will seek to become officially affiliated with the Association for Borderland Studies (ABS) on the occasion of ABS's next annual meeting, to be in Reno, U.S.A. on April 13, 2016.

   The Chapter Assembly decided on the chairperson and three officers which are as follows:

   Chairperson - Naomi Chi (Hokkaido Univ.)

   Three Officers - Fuminori Kawakubo (Chuo Gakuin Univ.), Yasunori Hanamatsu (Kyushu Univ.), Ted Boyle (Kyushu Univ.)

   The secretariat will be located at the Center for Asia-Pacific studies at Kyushu University and a website for the Japan Chapter will be set up early next year. The Japan Chapter will play an active role in fostering border studies in Japan and the rest of Asia and hopes to serve as the center to bridge networks and build a cooperative border studies community in Asia as well as the rest of the world.


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